What are the different communication types in the various leadership styles?

Everything is communication. A leader is identified with his leadership style based on the way he communicates with different stakeholders. In order for an organization’s leadership to be sustainable, there needs to be effective and quality interactions between both leaders and employees. How leaders choose to lead with their team impacts how effective the flow of communication is, and consequently the success of the organization. This is why it is important to unpack the prevalent style of leadership in a workplace.

Different leadership styles vary in different workplaces, and while there is NO single style that works best, leaders have to drive certain styles of leadership to communicate better in a team setting.

The Coercive Leadership Style – this is the least effective in most situations. Flexibility is hit hard. The leader’s extreme top-down communication & decision-making kills new ideas. People feel disrespected and people’s sense of responsibility evaporates: unable to act on their own initiative, they lose their ownership and feel little accountability for their performance. 

Coercive leadership also has a damaging effect on the rewards system. Most high-performing workers are motivated by more than money—they seek the satisfaction of work well done. The coercive style diminishes such pride. And finally, the style undermines one of the leader’s prime tools—motivating people by showing them how their job fits into a grand, shared mission

The Authoritative Style – Of the six leadership styles, the authoritative one is the most effective, driving up every aspect of the climate. The authoritative leader is a visionary; he motivates people by making clear to them how their work contributes to a larger vision for the organization. People who work for such leaders understand that they do matter and why. By framing the individual tasks within the vision, the authoritative leader defines standards that revolve around that vision. When he gives performance feedback—whether positive or negative—the singular criterion is whether or not that performance furthers the vision of the organization. The standards for success are clear to all, as are the rewards. An authoritative leader gives people plenty of leeways to devise their own means. They give people the freedom to innovate, experiment, and take calculated risks. 

The Affiliative Style – In this style people come first. This leadership style revolves around people—its focus is on the value of individuals and their emotions more than tasks and goals. The affiliative leader tries to keep employees happy and to create harmony among them. He manages by building strong emotional bonds and then reaping the benefits of such an approach, namely fierce loyalty. The style also has a markedly positive effect on communication. People who like one another a lot, talk a lot. They share ideas; they share inspiration, this style drives up flexibility; friends trust one another, allowing habitual innovation and risk-taking. Flexibility also rises because affiliative leaders, give people the freedom to do their job in the way they think best. 

The Democratic Style – Leaders spend time on people’s ideas and collaborate, a leader builds trust, respect, and commitment. By communicating in a way and letting workers themselves have a say in decisions that affect their goals and how they do their work, the democratic leader drives up flexibility and responsibility. And by listening to employees’ concerns, the democratic leader learns what to do to keep morale high. Finally, because they have a say in setting their goals and the standards for evaluating success, people operating in a democratic system tend to be very realistic about what can and cannot be accomplished.

The Pacesetting Style The leader sets extremely high-performance standards and exemplifies himself. He is obsessive about doing things better and faster, and he expects the same from everyone around him. He quickly pinpoints poor performers and demands more from them. If they don’t rise to the occasion, he replaces them with people who can. People often feel that the pacesetter doesn’t trust them to work in their own way or to take initiative. Flexibility and responsibility deplete, and work becomes task focused and routinized.

The Coaching Style Coaching leaders help employees identify their unique strengths and weaknesses and tie them to their personal and career aspirations. They encourage employees to establish long-term development goals and help them attain them. They make agreements with their employees about their roles and responsibilities, and development plans, and they give plentiful instruction and feedback. Coaching leaders excel at delegating; they give employees challenging assignments, even if that means the tasks won’t be accomplished quickly. In other words, these leaders are willing to put up with short-term failure if it furthers long-term learning.

While we have analyzed in detail the different Leadership styles and their impact on the overall function/delivery of the organization, it is important to understand that the communication styles in each case will have a direct bearing on the leadership style. For example, the way that a coercive leader communicates is totally different from authoritarian leadership. These communication styles are a result of each leader’s psychological well-being, a lot of which depends on their upbringing, the immediate people around them, their family, social circle, and their habits.

Please share your comments and feedback!