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The Pros & Cons of 5 Types of Leadership Styles

What makes the ability to lead the skill among all skills?

First, let’s start with a definition: leadership is the ability to generate a view of the future that others take on as their own. Often times, the word inspiration is mentioned in the same context as leadership. And this is for good reason because in-spire means to “put spirit into” something and the best way to do this is to put spirit into a future vision that everyone gets excited about and takes on as their own.

Businesses and organizations that create cultures of high-performance will create the competitive edge necessary in an ever changing and improving world. And what better way to leave the competition behind than by developing your employees so that they are inspired to do their very best work.

There are five predominant leadership styles available to any orgnaization (see below). They are not all created equal. If you want to learn more about which one is best for your organiation, reach out to us and we can walk you through the best way to create a high-performing and inspired culture.

1) Directive Leadership: A Culture of Consistency


Directive leadership is a top-down leadership structure. The hierarchical chain of command helps to speed up the decision-making process, which can ensure a high level of consistency and work quality. This style of leadership usually requires a strong personality who makes quick, efficient decisions and processes them quickly while making timely adjustments. Leaders can use both rewards and punishments to direct the actions of the employees. The downside of directive leadership is the lack of freedom of thought. Since decisions are controlled from the top-down, employee input is limited or completely absent.

2) Transformational Leadership: A Culture of Inspiration


Transformational leadership focuses on personal growth, feedback, and thoughts sharing. A leader with this mindset will create a work environment that allows everybody to express their thoughts while creating a safe space for everyone to be heard so they can do their very best work. The leader allows concerns to be shared by everyone on the team and they foster a culture where the best ideas and thoughts win independent of who generated the idea. The benefits of this type of work culture are that everybody in the team will be more inclined to express their thoughts and feelings, which helps to keep the overall work culture light and welcoming. The downside of this approach is that the decision-making process may be slower.

3) Servant Leadership: Culture of Inclusion


This is the polar opposite of directive leadership, as the servant leadership style flips the pyramid around and allows the employees to make decisions. This leadership style stems from a more modern school of thought and management philosophy; whereas, the directive leadership style has existed for centuries. Empowering team members to make decisions promotes cooperation and teamwork, and it induces actions that are for the good of the company rather than self-serving. This style of leadership might not sit well with certain stakeholders, as they could feel as if their control over the company isn’t as secure.

4) Participative Leadership: Culture of Innovation


If you want fresh ideas, innovation, and team engagement, the participative leadership may be a good fit. Team members make their thoughts and ideas known, but the leader makes the final decisions. The process repeats for every step of the way. The benefit of this system is that every team member and employee will be involved with every step of the work process, and they have a chance to make a real difference in how the work is done. This will help with the retention rate and the generation of innovative services/products. However, such a structure will require frequent meetings which can take up a lot of time. Participative leadership allows employees to express themselves a lot more, but generally in the context of work related matters.

5) Authoritative Leadership: Culture of Compliance


An authoritative leadership style is one that functions much like the military does. A group of executives is assigned to a job, and they will then dispense their orders down the chain of command. This is not a very common leadership style in the context of modern organizations, but it still sees some use in certain industries. It’s quick and direct, and the employees have little to no input on the work that’s being done. This will make the workers feel distant and thus result in higher turnover.

Keep in Mind...


Each business has its own way of doing things, and thus the best work culture is the one that fits the particular needs, the leadership style and the one that generates the best results for those that the business serves. The best practice is to find a fair balance between different leadership styles and choose one that fits with what you’re trying to achieve.

Phoenix Perform provides executive coaching & team building consulting for enterprises, get in touch today to see how we can help.



Core Idea:

Leadership skills are becoming more and more important, especially in the next few years. This article shows 5 great leadership styles you could develop for becoming a great leader in your workplace.

Key take away:

The best practice is to find a fair good balance between two or more different styles of leadership, that fit well with your business.

About the author(s):

Tom Willis is a Co-Founder and Partner with Phoenix Performance Partners. He had the great honor of serving as CEO for Cornerstone; a consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers; and an engineer with the Intel Corporation. His life is all about helping others uncover their talents so they can reach their unlimited potential and their organization can thrive.

| Linkedin: Tom

Brad Zimmerman is a Co-Founder and Partner with Phoenix Performance Partners. Zimmerman turned to organizational coaching more than 26 years ago following a successful career in sales and operations. Today, he helps businesses, nonprofits and other organizations develop cultures that transform work environments so people grow and the organizations thrive.

| Linkedin: Brad


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