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A leader guides and motivates people in order to encourage them to work towards a common goal of achieving the objectives of the group or the organization. Some people have a natural flair for taking the lead while others develop leadership qualities over a period of time, and adopt a suitable style of leadership that suits the needs of the team. A good leader should be able to assess the requirements of the team members and adopt a style that befits the team. In the book, 'Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence', authored by Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, the authors have illustrated the different styles of leadership. In the content to follow, we have elucidated the six styles of leadership. Take a look!

Democratic

This form of leadership draws its strength from the team members allowing them to voice their views and opinions. In other words, a democratic leader participates in a team-building exercise and seeks the active participation of team members. A democratic leader hopes for mutual consensus on how to archive the given targets by allowing team members to come forth with innovative ideas. This approach is particularly useful when the course of action is unclear.

Pacesetting

A pacesetting leader is one who sets the pace or the rate of achieving the predetermined goals. The goals of the organization, on the whole, dictate the policies and the targets that have to be accomplished by all the team members under the supervision of the leader. A pacesetting leader often disregards the potential of the employees while allocating targets. In other words, personal and professional aspirations and growth may be sacrificed at the altar of beliefs and convictions of the team leader.

Coaching

This style of leadership involves a bit of hand-holding. The leader aims to provide the necessary support and reassurance to the team members in order to help them develop their strengths and align their goals with the goals of the organization. In other words, the leader adopts a focused approach and coaches the team members, thus, minimizing the risk of possible deviations from the predetermined goals.

Visionary

A visionary leader is the one who envisions the future, revels in the possibilities of what could be, and inspires people to perceive things the way they ought to be. He/she has the capacity to foresee the future and hopes to accomplish a distant dream. In other words, these leaders chart their own path and undertake calculated risks with the hope to make today's dream a reality of tomorrow.

Affiliative

This style of leadership focuses on renewing a sense of kinship and building trust among various factions whose cooperation is desirable for promoting the goals of the organization. An affiliative leader tends to adopt an empathetic approach. However, in an effort to appease people and help them realize their true potential, there is a danger of the goals of the organization getting sidetracked.

Commanding

The futility of this style of leadership has been realized over time and has resulted in abating its popularity. The commanding style is akin to dictatorship where there is no room for expression or willful action. A commanding leader is effective in war-like situations where time plays a crucial role. Communicating decisions and waiting for the appropriate response is a luxury that cannot be afforded out here.

Depending on the situation, one has to choose between the different leadership styles and settle on the most effective option. Pacesetting is a must when people are in doubt regarding the suitable course of action. Democratic leadership is appropriate when team members have attained a high level of consciousness and can contribute constructively towards the attainment of goals. Coaching is feasible when the organization is at the mature growth stage and leaders can afford to contribute towards the overall development of the employees. An environment where people have conflicting views requires the mediation of an affiliative leader. A visionary leader hopes to achieve a target that is at best a distant dream, an inconceivable reality for others, and hence is an asset to any organization.