Give and Take: Leadership Styles for All Occasions

What kind of leader are you? For most, leadership means using good judgement to get the job done, but your leadership style has a significant impact on your employees. In a practical sense, leadership styles are simply methods for distributing decision-making authority to the individuals on your team. In reality, it’s not just about doing work. These styles can be foundational to your organizational culture and significantly impact employee experience.

Let’s take a look at four of the most common leadership styles.

Directing

Of all the styles, this is the least nuanced and offers employees the minimum amount of autonomy in decision-making. A directing-style leader simply tells people what, when and how to do a task. Quick, clear decision-making is one benefit of this style, but it might not leave much room to take advantage of the workforce’s ability for innovation or creative thinking.

Coaching

As a coaching leader, you give your employees more agency and a healthy dose of support. This method still puts the manager in the position of choosing what tasks need to be accomplished and how they should be done, but it creates buy-in for the staff and recognizes their value in the process. It also offers room for collaboration, but leadership handles the direction and decision-making functions related to the task.

Supporting

Managers embracing this style of leadership create collaborative work environments in which employees get the chance to contribute to the decision-making process. In situations where the involvement of the manager isn’t required until the final approval process, a supporting-style leader can give their staff room to prove their abilities and demonstrate leadership skills of their own. Your staff is allowed to flex their muscles, but the buck stops with the manager in charge.

Delegating

This type of leadership is seen most often with senior executives and leadership teams. It relies heavily on the abilities and maturity of the employees who are usually experienced leaders themselves. A delegating-style leader provides maximum autonomy and responsibility to those beneath them, trusting their leadership styles and decision-making abilities. Because of the near-total freedom given to employees, this leadership style is rarely effective when given to new or even less-experienced staff. It can, however, be a refreshing change for greener employees if the tasks involved aren’t core processes or time-sensitive.

But what if you want to change?

Successful leaders don’t always stick to one particular style. They can take different approaches depending on the needs of the task or the capabilities of their staff.

If you feel like your leadership style could benefit from a bit of growth, finding ways to hand over power in your processes can be a catalyst for change. Try involving your staff in a creative decision or finding a co-lead for your next big project. You might find the next step in your professional evolution right on the edge of your leadership comfort zone.

Want to see where your leadership style can take you in an industry-leading organization? Apply to Paycom today!