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Sticky Notes Blog

November 12, 2018

What Leadership Style is Right for Your Workplace?

Leadership Style

Image courtesy of iStock under Creative Commons 0 License

Workplaces are dynamic environments that constantly shift, challenging managers and employees to adapt. Whether the office is steadily moving toward a goal, or change is coming in the shape of a new company direction, the proper attitude and leadership style is imperative to ensure that the workplace operates smoothly. Here are 5 leadership styles for managers, as well as the circumstances in which they are effective.


The autocratic leader generally holds power over the decisions and direction of the workspace. This leadership style allows for little employee input, instead highlighting the organization’s goals and expecting them to be achieved. The autocrat does not aim to please employees, so is often given a negative association.

However, there are times when this approach is useful. When the company is shifting direction and needs immediate, well-defined action, this style can enforce new goals and ensure they’re achieved. The autocratic approach can also prove effective in the midst of a crisis in which ordered action must be taken immediately, such as during a fire or other danger. Otherwise, this leadership style can be a bit too aggressive, and may breed contempt if used too frequently.


The affiliative leader acts in a way that encourages support and an emotional bond with employees. This style focuses on the social dynamics of the team, working to create a unified and empathetic environment.

The affiliative approach is most effective during times where healing is needed. Company takeover or a series of layoffs can make for a stressful workplace, so this type of leadership may help employees feel cared for amidst all the change. However, this social approach may not be as effective when a firm hand is needed to motivate employees to work harder and execute tasks.        


The coaching leader specializes in aiding individuals to further develop themselves. This leadership style generally involves one-on-one mentorship with an employee to help their knowledge and skill-base evolve, in order to increase both productivity and happiness in the individual.

The coaching approach is effective in a number of situations. When new hires join the company, a manager can act as a mentor, personally helping the new employee learn the ins and outs of their job and the workspace. Patience and consistency is vital here, as a new hire should feel welcome to approach the manager with questions or concerns until they’re comfortable and integrated.

The coaching leader can also be effective in encouraging the progress of established employees. A common reason for burnout and disengagement at work is a lack of self-development. When employees feel like they’re not learning and growing, they may lose enthusiasm. Here is an opportunity for a leader to work with that individual, providing opportunities to learn new skills that may aid them in developing their careers.


The democratic leader actively engages with employees, seeking and welcoming ideas and opinions. This leadership style uses discussion and survey to create a sense of equality and shared influence in the company culture.

The democratic approach is useful when a leader needs to make a decision that will impact employees. Seeking out the opinions of staff members increases trust, helps everyone understand the decision, and emphasizes the value of each team member. By giving employees influence over the direction of the company, this type of leader imparts a sense of responsibility to the individual. This ownership promotes job satisfaction and loyalty, and encourages insight that can aid in future decisions. A democratic leader may be less effective if the team does not have the knowledge base to give an informed opinion.


The transactional leader uses a give-and-take method to motivate employees and reward them for success. This leadership style defines goals and offers rewards if the goals are met, and reprimands if they are not.

The transactional approach is effective when trust is already established between manager and employee, and a short-term task is presented. Limiting the scope of the task and ensuring that trust is already present prevents stress levels from rising so high as to impact efficiency. For a team of motivated employees, this “prove it” method offers a tangible reward at the end of the task, whether it’s a free lunch, an extra day off, or an opportunity to advance their career. The transactional approach may not be effective with team members who don’t work well under stress, especially if the manager-employee relationship is not personable.

Different situations merit different leadership styles, and effective leaders adopt these varied methods depending on the circumstance. Juggling the distinctive approaches can be challenging. Fortunately, EON can ensure that all your office needs are taken care of so that you can give your attention to your employees. Contact us today to learn about our products and services.