Six Leadership Styles
George Litwin and Robert Stringer of Harvard Business School studied the behavior of managers and concluded that there are six leadership styles. Today, there is a book by Goleman called Primal Leadership that discusses six leadership styles.
The ideal manager would be able to use all six styles and use them appropriately, as needed. However, in corporations we often find that managers choose one style and inevitably some people are alienated. The best route is to manage each person individually, as difficult as that may seem.
Here are the six basic leadership styles.
1- Coercive: These are the managers that force you to do what they want and tell you where the door is if you don't like it. In corporate America, this style is commonplace. The style is most often used on lower workers that do not have a voice and perhaps do a lot of repetitive tasks. Coercive style is used because of how easy it is to manage without learning about the people. The style only works when employees have little value and can be replaced easily.
2- Authoritative: Authoritative style is about taking control. It means the leader has a clear vision and communicates that vision the the group. The authoritative style makes the manager take any corrective action that is not in harmony with the vision. This style does not necessarily mean a manager is out there barking orders all day long. People can be empowered, but the vision and drive come from the leader.
3- Democratic: The democratic style asks for peoples opinions and tries to make the most people happy. In many companies, the engineers, and such, are treated with the democratic style. What people do is to ask for peoples opinions. What happens, in most cases, is the opinions are not used. The idea of asking for opinions is simply to make the employees feel as though they have some say. Managers spend time trying to create consensus building for key projects. Democratic leadership can work for higher employees that value intelligence and ideas. However, at some point, the authoritative style must also be used. You can't please everyone.
4- Pace Setters: Pace setting might involve keeping track of what everyone does and pitting them against each other. In production environments the pace setter approach is effective at getting the work done fast. The manager will often have quality control issue and that must be managed well for pace setting to work. As far as the people go, there will be a lot of fighting. People will resent those that are not as fast and workers will manipulate others and the environment to help their own statistics improve. The bottom line is that teamwork will not flourish and people will be unhappy.
5- Coaching: The coaching style is good for highly motivated employees. The idea is that you can just talk with people and encourage them to make changes. You don't need to make threats and try manipulation. The coaching strategy is good for some of your best employees. People that are bright and motivated will resent some of the other leadership styles.
6- Affiliative: The affiliative style is about making the employees get along and feel good. The leader should use a lot of praise and help to resolve conflicts. Affiliative leadership is good for organizations that are highly stressful, volatile, and need reassurance. The down side of affiliate leadership is that poor performance is not taken seriously. The great leader can use affiliative leadership when needed and switch to authoritative to get rid of poor performers.