Category Archives: leader

Leadership in the Workplace: 4 Styles that Work

Congratulations! You just got promoted to manager. But now that the celebration is over, what’s next? Being a manager or supervisor comes with a lot of responsibility. Whatever it is that got you the new job, you now have to live up to it. So how are you going to do that? One very important skill you will need is leadership. There are many different leadership styles.  As a new manager, you should know these styles and when it will be appropriate to used each one.  Depending on the situation, you will have to vary and adapt your style to suit. 

Being a successful leader means you are flexible in the way you lead. So, learn these 4 leadership styles and develop yourself to become skilled in each of them. Some work better in certain situations than others. And as a good leader you should strive to find the right balance so that you are not too tough when you could be softer, or too easy when you should be tougher. Leadership Style


Developing Various Leadership Styles

1. Directive

When people say they want more leadership, they usually mean they want more direction. In military terms, this is leading from the front or by example. The directive style is used in work environments where you need to tell employees what to do. This can be appropriate when working with new employees. It can be useful in new, unfamiliar situations.  It is essential for getting people to take the right action in crisis situations. It can also be useful when the job requires very specific outputs that must meet a standard or regulation. Most leaders today would prefer not be thought of as a directive leader. However, this is a skill that all leaders must develop to use at the appropriate time.

So, if the directive leadership style is not your natural style, follow these 6 tips to become more effective at it:

  • Plan carefully and thoroughly. If there is ever a crisis, you will be ready.
  • Dress confidently; make every move count; avoid hesitation. How you present yourself matters.
  • Learn to speak clearly and a little louder than normal. Use more assertive language.
  • Keep your communication short and to the point.
  • Be a good time manager.
  • Stick to your guns. Make up your mind and go with it.

Useful tip: it is easier to start out being tough and soften your approach later than it is to start out being a softy  and then try to toughen up later.

Leadership Style

2. Consultative

This is the leadership style you’ll use when you need to engage your team, hear what they have to say, understand them, and take them with you. To master the consultative style, you need to master team meetings. Use the following approaches:

  • Make time for team gatherings, if necessary, off-site.
  • Don’t have too many meetings with individual team members. This promotes mistrust and suspicion.
  • Involve the team in the planning of meetings.
  • Prepare yourself to hear things you may not like.
  • Practice active listening.
  • Allow everyone the chance to speak. Pay attention to who doesn’t speak readily and find ways to get them involved.

Leadership Style

3. Problem-Solving

The problem-solving leadership style has various names. Some refer to it as the “selling” style. Others call it the negotiating style. The problem-solving style is the right style to use when you have conflict within the team. Here are some techniques to use to make you a better problem-solving leader:

  • Believe that in every conflict with the team, there is a solution in which all parties can get what they want.
  • When the conflict is between you and the team, let your position be known but also listen carefully to theirs.
  • Focus on issues, not personalities
  • Find a common ground
  • Find a creative solution based on principles.

4. Delegating

For those who are not used to the delegating style of leadership, things can at first appear to be a relinquishment of leadership. This is the style where you take a back seat and can appear to be doing nothing. In reality, it is one of the hardest styles to use. This leadership style allows you to give up some control and allow the team to make their own decisions. But using this style you should always remain available in case the team really needs your assistance. Here are some ways to develop your delegating leadership style:

  • Make it safe for the team to try things out. If they make a mistake, there is a lesson in it.
  • Ask your team, “What would you do?” “What do you think?” “What do you feel we should do?”
  • Don’t allow yourself to jump in and rescue them when things go wrong. Be available, but let them sort it out themselves.
  • Praise every success.
  • Find the right distance: not too close that you are seen to be checking them, not too far away that they feel abandoned.
  • Check-in regularly just to ensure things are OK.

Combining leadership styles in a way that brings about results can be helpful to managers and other professionals. The highly successful leader today facilitates, leads by example, encourages, and participates with their team members to achieve TEAM results. When the entire team feels like they are a part of the process, then every team member takes personal pride in achieving the results. Having fun and learning along the way supports employee engagement.

Your ability to move around these four leadership styles, and the shades in-between, will tell others just how good a leader you really are. You won’t always get it right. Sometimes, you’ll try to sell your ideas when what they want is for you to leave them alone. But as you develop various leadership styles, you’ll come to know instinctively just what your best action should be.