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April Is National Financial Literacy Month

4 min read

Learning Your Leadership Style

By Daniel C. Finley on 2/29/24 2:18 PM

Have you ever wondered if great leaders are born or made? Anyone can be a great leader if they understand themselves, know what motivates others to want to follow them, and apply what they learn.

John C. Maxwell said it best, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

Do you know how to get your message across and have others want to follow you?

Let’s look at six leadership styles so you can better understand your style and how to motivate others better.

Leadership Style #1: Commanding Leadership

The Commanding Leadership style, one of the most aggressive of the six leadership styles, expects and demands immediate compliance to their orders. They have a style that accomplishes tasks by ordering and dictating to people. A good example of this style is a drill sergeant!

The Commanding Leader lives by the motto: “Do what I tell you!”

This style works best when team members lack skill or expertise. For example, a rookie needs direction on what to do and how to do it.

Leadership Style #2: Visionary Leadership

The Visionary Leadership style is a leader who has a vision and wants the team to help make it a reality. These leaders clearly understand what direction the company needs to move towards because they have a clearly defined vision and can explain what it will take to make it happen. An example of this style is how Elon Musk leads his company.

The Visionary Leader lives by the motto: “Come with me!” 

This style works best when an organization is adrift because it creates a new vision and direction. Typically, it should be used when a company needs significant change or when team members are willing to follow someone into an unknown future.

Leadership Style #3: Affiliate Leadership

The Affiliate Leadership style focuses on building relationships. They want to create harmony within the team, leading to a more productive workplace. Affiliate leaders provide constructive feedback to team members. An example would be the boss who buys a birthday cake for each team member on their birthday to show that they care.

The Affiliate Leader lives by the motto, “People come first.”

This style best works when a team is in crisis, or a new team is being created. This style allows you to be effective when building team connections, improving communication, increasing morale, and repairing broken trust.

Leadership Style #4: Democratic Leadership

The Democratic Leadership style encourages team members to participate in the decision-making process because it welcomes ideas. This style is helpful in teams where members are highly skilled because encouraging team members leads to increased creativity and new ideas. An example is a branch manager who has never been in production but has an experienced office of advisors whom they trust.

The Democratic Leader lives the motto, “What do you think?”

This style works best when you, as the leader, are unsure about the direction to take because it encourages creativity and innovation. As a result, employees take ownership of their ideas.

 Leadership Style #5: Pacesetting Leadership

 The Pacesetting Leadership style leads by example. In other words, they set the pace. An example is the top producer in the office who becomes the producing branch manager and is still the top producer or the senior advisor on a team who always seems to close prospects.

 The Pacesetting Leader lives by the motto, “Do as I do!”

 This style works best when you need fast results from a motivated team, such as running a cross-selling campaign to set appointments with clients to do a life insurance review!

 Leadership Style #6: Coaching Leadership

 The Coaching Leadership style motivates team members who enjoy being a part of a group. Team members receive clear expectations, which creates skilled, productive individuals who can go on to coach others. An example is the branch manager who has the third-year rookie coaching the brand new rookies on how to handle objections.

The Coaching Leader lives by the motto, “Try this!”

This style works best when the leader identifies the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and then provides guidance so team members can improve and eventually teach others.

Why Learning Your Leadership Style Works

The reason why learning your leadership style works is that some styles work better depending on a specific situation. When you understand what leadership style to use and when you inevitably help others want to follow you.

In Advisor Solutions Podcast Episode #91, Learning Your Leadership Style, you will find a much more detailed description of each style, the pros and cons of each, and when to apply them. And, as a result, it will help you to become a better leader!



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