There are five types of leadership styles that we often observe during client engagements: 

  1. Visionary
  2. Teaching
  3. Strategic
  4. Caring 
  5. Analytic

In our experience, most leaders have a combination of one to three of these qualities, but most tend to have one dominant type, and the others are in support. For example, someone who is quite analytical might also be skilled in thinking through big concepts. Or someone who is a very caring person who can inspire people through their teaching but may prefer others to deal with fine-grain analytic management. Each of these leadership styles makes a leader unique. However, no one type of leadership style is ‘better’ than another.

Knowing the type of leader you are, and knowing what type each of your team members is, allows you to lead your team more effectively. 

It’s important to understand that no leader has all of these leadership qualities, so you shouldn’t push yourself to become someone you’re not. Each leader should develop their style to maximize their effectiveness and synchronize with their team so that everyone pushes and pulls in the same direction.

Driving toward your team’s experience is key to growing leaders and team members. Each team member is on their journey in their business and personal life. How important this is to understand in today’s turbulent environment. We have all learned this year that a team member’s journey never ends; it just changes as circumstances place new demands on them. A mature leader knows how to navigate their trip using their unique leadership style and helps others on their journey. 

Four Keys to Develop Your Leadership Skills:

  1. See the world as your team members do, not just the way you view it. This changed view can make a substantial impact when you get a hold of it.
  2. Think in multiple dimensions while leading your team. Knowing this maturing process exists tells us that one leadership style doesn’t work for everyone, which means you have to know your team members well and adjust your style to best lead them. 
  3. Create a progression of touchpoints for your team member journeys that add up to a positive experience they receive when interacting with you and their team members. 
  4. Realize every leader’s growth curve is on a continuum that keeps maturing with time. We are not particularly eager to establish levels on a High vs. Low scale.

A mature leader sees the need versus the requirement by looking through the team member’s lens rather than their own. As a result, strategic perspectives and directions are formed based on a real-world understanding of what their team can produce. This type of leadership helps team members better organize and mobilize their efforts and provides meaningful touchpoints that help everyone achieve their goals.

Based on a substantial set of organizational assessments and research we have conducted using our SmartPlan360™ Platform — and our own experience coaching leaders and team members — we have concluded there is no single leadership style that is better than all. What’s far more essential to understand is an organization’s leadership shapes the culture that everyone in the organization will work in. Often, the personal style of the senior leader has the most significant influence on the organization’s culture and ultimate success.