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10 Styles of Leadership – Part 3

October 31, 2012

In Leadership Styles Parts 1 and 2 we looked at how great leaders differ In their style, and how it’s important to match leaders with the tasks and conditions they are best suited to.  In this final part of the series we look at the strengths and limitations of the four remaining leadership styles.

Do you think Yoda was a Motivating leader or a Coaching leader?

Directing Leader
Once the vision is established and the strategy agreed, it will be the directional leader who takes key decisions with confidence and certainty, guiding the team day to day and keeping them on track.  Directing leaders will instinctively and swiftly make critical organisational decisions such as – who should be on the team? Should we push for growth now or consolidate?  What needs to change?

This approach is sometimes confused by those who take on a directing role and instigate change for the sake of change, in the vague hope that it will work and that they will come out looking good.  A true Directing Leader will call upon their insight, experience, wisdom and intuition to know what decisions to take and when.

Motivating Leader
In times of challenge when the target seems out of reach, motivating leaders have a knack for overcoming skepticism in the team enabling people to exceed their limiting beliefs.  The motivator sets audacious goals, gives incentives and celebrates achievement.  Motivating Leaders will constantly remind those they lead of their next milestone and talk about how they will feel as they achieve their goals.

Motivating Leaders are inspiring and energetic, people of action but often not concerned with detail.  Motivating Leaders therefore work best with a foil who can balance their enthusiasm with measured judgment.

Coaching Leader
The coaching leader loves to see her team learn and develop.  She sets aside time to review how they are each performing, asking powerful questions that promote reflection and lead to new and more effective behaviours.  People feel appreciated by a coaching leader but never complacent, they know what’s expected and that to meet their leader’s expectations they will have to continually raise their game.

Coaching Leaders tend to focus on the person ahead of the organisation and may find it hard to subscribe to organisational strategy if it’s not developed with the delivery team in mind.

Bridge Building Leader
This rare and often overlooked leadership style can be phenomenally powerful in large organisations.  The bridge-builder will identify potential areas of conflict.  He will know how to listen, arbitrate, negotiate, compromise and relate to a large cross section of people.  This leader will be able to steer each sub-set towards a common goal without detracting from their individual missions.

As big picture thinkers they are quickly bored by minutiae and may appear to disengage from issues and tasks that don’t impact their big picture.

Helping people understand their preferred styles of leadership forms a key part of our leadership development programmes, alongside practical exercises that put the theories to the test, helping leaders to see themselves as their teams see them.  Click here for more on team development.

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