The art of leadership is complex and diverse. In 2002, Daniel Goleman in his book “Primal Leadership – Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence” speaks of six leadership styles – authoritarian, coercive, democratic, empathic, intrusive, and motivational – and thus laid a foundation for understanding different approaches to leadership. But is that all of them?
A successful leadership style is shaped not only by individual attitudes and personal preferences, but by a complex adaptation to the unique personalities, strengths and weaknesses of team members, the goals set, and the current situation of the organization.
In the Spotlight: 8 Modern Leadership Styles
This article looks at eight very different modern leadership styles that have proven themselves successful in today’s business environment. What characterizes them? What soft skills are needed to master them? And in what situations are they most suitable?
1. Authoritarian Style
- Goal: Clarity in times of uncertainty
- Advantages: Promotes motivation, group togetherness, and a strong personal bond between team members and the leader
- Soft Skills: Initiative, self-control, the will to succeed with “whatever the cost” thinking
- Most suitable during a crisis or period of disruption, but should be used cautiously to avoid a decline in motivation or risk burnout
2) Democratic Style
- Goal: Working together to achieve a shared goal
- Advantages: Every contribution counts, thus individual contributions are valued, and collaboration, communication, and community are fostered
- Soft skills: Collaboration, communication skills, and interest in other opinions
- Most suitable in situations that are new to everyone and require effective collaboration, such as the implementation of a new system or workflow
- Goal: Strengthen interpersonal relationships, promote harmony, and team spirit.
- Advantages: Empathy as a tool for collective problem solving, motivation through working towards a common goal, and sense of belonging
- Soft skills: empathy, patience, and conflict management
- Most suitable in situations with high stress potential, where there is pressure on the entire team, as well as on individual members, and collective problem solving is needed, for example when the team is in the “hot phase” of a project
4) Pushy Style
- Goal: Balance pressure and presence to keep the team motivated
- Benefits: Makes achievement of ambitious, challenging goals more possible
- Soft skills: initiative and the will to succeed
- Most suitable for ambitious scenarios, but caution is needed to avoid micromanagement and employee burnout
5) Motivational Style
- Goal: Achieve individual objectives to contribute to overall success
- Benefits: promotes a sense of belonging to the company and motivation of employees
- Soft skills: attentiveness, active listening, and empathy.
- Most effective in situations where you want to invest in long-term employability and where you want to keep employees at the center
6) Visionary Style
- Goal: To crystallize big dreams and pursue collective successes
- Benefits: Inspires and motivates the entire team, helps communicate a clear vision
- Soft skills: self-confidence, empathy, perseverance, and persuasion
- Most applicable in start-ups or companies that want to take a new direction and are still working on their positioning in the market
7) Gentle Style
- Goal: Appreciate individual strengths, encourage talents
- Advantages: Humanity as key to success, sense of connectedness
- Soft skills: active listening, empathy, and encouragement
- Most useful in situations where talent is wasted by entrenched patterns and outdated hierarchies. When companies focus on structures that are characterized by inspiration, motivation, and collective responsibility.
8) Feminine Style
- Goal: Encourage talent through interpersonal relationships
- Advantages: Even in complex and fast-paced ecosystems, interpersonal relationships are built to achieve the common goal
- Soft skills: listening, trust, inclusion, and collaboration
- Most suitable where a diverse set of people are involved in situations characterized by rapid change
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