What Kind of Boss Are You?

What Kind of Boss Are You?

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

How do you motivate employees to achieve your entrepreneurial dream? Leaders come in many shapes and sizes. Learn about the different styles of leadership and how you can use them bring out the best in your team!

Authoritative:  Authoritative leaders create a vision for the company and motivate employees to achieve it. This type of leader inspires their team yet provides minimal direction, allowing employees the freedom to innovate. Authoritative leadership is effective at driving employees to contribute to a common goal, but it is not ideal for employees who are inexperienced and need extra direction.

  • Example: Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, was a true visionary. He imagined the future and set out to make an impact on the world. True to the authoritative leadership style, Jobs inspired his team to carry out his vision while also offering them the opportunity to be creative. While Jobs was a leader who rejected and criticized many ideas, he stayed true to his vision and maintained Apple’s high standard of quality in its products. Jobs’ leadership allowed Apple to revolutionize technology and change the way that humans interact with each other and their environment.

Affiliative: Affiliative leaders focus on caring for the needs of individual employees and establishing unity among the team. Affiliative leaders emphasize employee morale and build it through positive affirmations. Business leaders are cautioned to avoid using the affiliative leadership style exclusively, since too much focus on relationships can lower employee productivity.

  • Example: The Dalai Lama is a leader who teaches people about caring for others. He exemplifies the affiliative leadership style by connecting with people all around the world and highlighting the importance of forging strong, loving relationships.

Coaching: Coaching leaders guide the individuals on their team toward personal and professional development. Coaching leaders help team members grow in their strengths and overcome weaknesses. For businesses, this leadership style is effective when aiming to help an inexperienced employee develop their skills.

  • Example: Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid coaches his student, Daniel, toward growth and discovery. My. Miyagi provides Daniel with a problem to overcome, teaching him to balance strength with kindness. 

Coercive: Coercive leaders give direct orders and expect obedience. At the opposite end of the spectrum of affiliative style, coercive leadership is more likely to include harsh criticism than praise. Coercive leadership is only  recommended during a crisis when time is of the essence. If used too frequently, coercive leadership can damage employee morale and decrease motivation.

  • Example: The United States military employs coercive leadership. The goal of this style of leadership is to reach sub ordinance in military recruits. Coercive leadership in this context also works to break down individuality and replace that with a sense of duty to one’s country. 

Democratic: Democratic leaders place a high value on the input of their team members. Democratic leaders value taking a group consensus before making decision. This style of leadership gives employees a sense of involvement and influence in business processes. Democratic leadership is helpful for tapping into the team’s  collective wisdom, but it should be used with caution when team members lack experience and knowledge. 

  • Example: Richard Branson, billionaire and founder of the Virgin Group, embodies the democratic leadership style. Branson advises hiring employees who are strong in your areas of weakness so that you can learn from them and achieve harmony in your team.

Pacesetting: Pacesetting leaders place extremely high expectations on their team members. Pacesetting leaders set the bar high for employee performance, leading by example. This leadership style can increase business efficiency, but can also contribute to employee burnout. Pacesetting leadership is most beneficial when team members are already motivated and skilled.

  • Example: Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com is a pacesetting leader. Although Amazon is often criticized for its near-impossible expectations of employees, yet this productive culture has led it to become the largest Internet-based retailer in the United States. 

So, what kind of boss are you? Since the above leadership styles are effective in different circumstances, choose the styles which you believe will work best for your team and incorporate them as needed.

As Steve Jobs  once said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Believe in yourself and your employees. Inspire yourself and your team to accomplish your goals.


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