What Is Your Leadership Style? Here Are 7 Common Kinds

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Michele Weldon10
What is your leadership style? If you are new to leadership or if you are considering shifting, polishing or adding a new leadership style, here are seven effective leadership styles you can adopt.
Knowing of course that there are benefits, detriments and challenges to most every leadership style, shop here for what seems right for you and your team.

1. Forecaster

Not that you are predicting the weather, but you like to be a thought leader, thinking ahead for trends and using your ideas and knowledge to shape your work culture. “Forecasters thrive in environments where people like to be led by leaders with new ideas and intellectual capital or in firms where deep subject matter expertise is highly valued. Forecasters also excel in innovative organizations that benefit from more thoughtful strategic insights into future trends. And they are likely to do well in circumstances where there’s opportunity to create and evolve products and processes,” according to Bonnie W. Gwin, Ryan Pastrovich and Jeff Sanders writing in Chief Executive. 

2. Coach

Whether you have ever been on a sports team, debate team or even in a school play or band, you know that your coach can be highly encouraging, inspiring and push you to perform at peak. This style is all about the employees, the team and the bigger goals. “This is a style preferred by many maturing millennials as it provides them with a "strong sense of higher purpose and the knowledge that the work they do matters. A coaching leadership style helps to create and reinforce a connection with individuals and establishes higher levels of trust,” writes Moira Alexander in Tech Republic.

3. Light Touch

You don’t have to dress up like a clown or have whoopee cushions on chairs in meetings to be a leader who has a great sense of humor. “Teams are made up of individuals who have emotions and personalities — no one person is like the other. Laughter humanizes leaders and flattens the workplace hierarchy, it sets the pace of the environment you build. If your team members aren’t laughing and enjoying themselves at work, something’s wrong in your office,” writes Christian Valiulis, Chief Revenue Officer at APS in Forbes.

4. Inclusive

Managing differences in a workplace takes a leader with the agility to speak to everyone on his or her own terms and to offer appreciation and value of individuality. “The key to aligning agendas and managing difference is cultural competence. Whether the difference is one of race or cultural background or gender or educational status or work style, inclusive leaders consistently exhibit their leadership competencies well and with everyone.” writes Orlando Bishop, thought leader with the Kaleidoscope Group in BizJournals.

5. Transformational

You may have been called in to change an entire culture, whether that is to start afresh or to fix the problems of the leader on his or her way out the door. This is challenging and requires you to be all in, perform at peak and be an example of peak performance. “There are fortunately some exceptional leaders from the political and social services arena that stand out as the epitome of the transformational leadership model. For example, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, who had millions following them even when their leadership did not have the power to offer any tangible benefit to receivers,” writes Dr. Sam Swapn Sinha, CEO of Strategism in Forbes.

6. Listener

Not that you will sit in your office and just listen to your employees all day, but being a good communicator who has a reputation for really listening is an admirable style. Heidi O’Neill, president of Nike's direct-to-consumer business, told CNN. “It is also important to make sure your employees are heard. I'm always looking for ways to ensure everyone is heard. Earlier in my career, I didn't know how much I could improve the workplace by simply inviting everyone to collaborate.”

7. Provider

This does not mean you literally provide food, clothing and shelter, this means you are a valuable and reliable resource for information, direction and guidance. “If you are a Provider, you are likely motivated by two different yet equally strong forces—the desire to lead from the front and to take care of those around you. You tend to believe that your method or manner of doing things will continue to generate results and thus are motivated to impart it to others,” write Bonnie W. Gwin, Ryan Pastrovich and Jeff Sanders in Chief Executive.
Considering these seven approaches, do you have to set one style and forget it? Of course not. Agility, flexibility and transparency are the best additives to any of these styles.
“Instead of seeing yourself as a leader operating with one fixed style, raise your head and look outward to context,” write Michael Parke and Anna Johnston in the London Business School. “Think, what’s the situation, the objective, and importantly, what does your team need from you? Rapidly compute and then apply the requisite leadership action.”
Michele Weldon is an author, journalist and editorial director of Take The Lead. Her most recent book is, Escape Points: A Memoir.