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  • There are many different types of leaders. Some are animated and love to speak, while others are quieter in nature and are more reserved. Leaders also differ based on where they fall on their style of leadership, with some encouraging a more equal power distribution whereas others are clearly defined as the leader. An overarching quality across the leadership styles is that true leaders communicate in a way that brings people together to achieve common goals.

    The art of communication is the language of leadership.

    — James Humes
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    Communication within Different Leadership Styles

    Peoples’ personalities help determine their natural leadership style. Below we look at a number of different leadership styles and examine the nature of communication that they employ. It is important to keep in mind that there is no one ‘right’ leadership style. Leaders mobilize people towards achieving common goals. Different situations require the appropriate type of leadership in order for success to be achieved. As part of this, great leaders recognize that they need to be proficient across a variety of leadership styles.


    Authoritative leaders take complete control and decision making over all tasks. They communicate the instructions for all of the aspects and do not encourage feedback from others. Precise and accurate directions are an important skill for these types of leaders to possess. Since the environment is not collaborative in nature, confusing or incorrect guidelines can lead to decreased levels of efficiency and increased levels of frustration among those trying to follow the leader’s instructions. This leadership style is suited for specific areas, especially where a strict hierarchy of command exists and needs to be respected; the military is one area where this is a key leadership style. However, beyond these strict and narrow areas, authoritative leadership risks achieving reduced results; while messages and instructions are disseminated quickly, the constant one-way communication can put people offside and make them feel dissatisfied, and at an extreme they may become rebellious. We are all people, and we all have feelings that need to be valued. If not carried out well, a constant authoritative leadership style can make people feel that they are taken for granted.


    Individuals who practice a coaching style of leadership focus on helping people grow and develop by improving both their knowledge and skill. These types of leaders are excellent teachers and tend to take on a mentorship role. Their style and support often lead others to acquire increased levels of self-efficacy and self-confidence. This type of leadership delivers benefits in two key ways: firstly it increases the knowledge and skill in the people around the leader, which leads to increased capacity – it helps form an environment of leaders. Secondly, and arguably most importantly, it motivates people and provides them with a strong sense of purpose. Instilling strong motivation and sense of purpose is an incredibly powerful way to achieve great leadership. Leadership is not a one-person show; yes, there is one person at the helm, however, it often takes a team of people to realize results.


    Collaborative leaders value input and feedback from others. They encourage active participation when setting goals and guidelines. The power dynamic in this type of leadership structure is lateral opposed to vertical. While the communication style of these leaders is conversational opposed to demanding. Ultimately, one person needs to make the final decision; however, these leaders value the ideas of others. They posses the vision and humility to understand the tremendous power that can be harnessed when people share ideas and different views are explored. Pride and ego take a back seat for collaborative leaders.


    Inspirational leaders often have warm and engaging personalities. They tend to be charismatic, passionate, and genuine in nature. These types of leaders often inspire people by connecting with their emotions, values and goals. Inspirational leaders mechanism of evoking change and progress is done through their motivating and empowering communication style. Their inspiration often leads to heightened levels of respect from others.


    Individuals who embody this type of leadership style are able to conceptualize innovative ideas and generate an environment that fosters creativity and originality within others. Visionary leaders encourage “out of the box thinking” and expect setbacks to occur during the process of achieving the end goals. They exemplify an energized, sometimes to levels of obsession, and pragmatic persona. These types of leaders often make extraordinary things happen and charter new territory. Visionary leaders are able to communicate their views and ideas to those around them. Additionally, they harness the talents and abilities of others to help take their ideas from an abstract concept and transform them into reality.