Coercive Leadership: This “Do what I say” style demands immediate compliance. It is especially useful in turnaround situations, in a crisis, and with problem employees. However, using this style inhibits your organization’s flexibility and can dampen employee motivation.
Authoritative: This style mobilizes people toward a vision. Specifically, it provides an overarching goal, but gives others the freedom to choose their own way of reaching it. This approach is most effective when a business is at sea and needs direction, or during an economic or business downturn. This style is less successful when the leader is working with a team of experts who may have more experience—and may disagree with his approach.
Affiliative: This “people-first” style engenders the creation of emotional bonds and team harmony. It is best used when team coherence is important or in times of low employee morale. But this approach’s focus on praise may permit poor performance among employees to continue unchecked, and employees may lack a sense of overall direction. The downside of this style, however, is that it may result in indecision, and some people may be left feeling confused and leaderless.
Democratic: This style builds consensus through participation. It is most appropriate when organizational flexibility and a sense of individual responsibility is needed. The downside of this style, however, is that it may result in indecision, and some people may be left feeling confused and leaderless.