Leadership Styles Categories

The first style (S1) is a high directive–low supportive style, which is also called a directing style. In this approach, the leader focuses communication on goal achievement, and spends a smaller amount of time using supportive behaviors. Using this style, a leader gives instructions about what and how goals are to be achieved by the followers and then supervises them carefully.

The second style (S2) is called a coaching approach and is a high directive–high supportive style. In this approach, the leader focuses communication on both achieving goals and meeting followers’ socioemotional needs. The coaching style requires that leaders involve themselves with followers by giving encouragement and soliciting follower input. However, coaching is an extension of S1 in that it still requires that the leader make the final decision on the what and how of goal accomplishment.

The third style (S3) is a supporting approach that requires that the leader take a high supportive–low directive style. In this approach, the leader does not focus exclusively on goals but uses supportive behaviors that bring out followers’ skills around the goal to be accomplished. The supportive style includes listening, praising others, asking for input, and giving feedback. A leader using this style gives followers control of day-to-day decisions but remains available to facilitate problem solving. An S3 leader is quick to give recognition and social support to followers.

Last, the fourth style (S4) is called the low supportive–low directive style, or a delegating approach. In this approach, the leader offers less goal input and social support, facilitating followers’ confidence and motivation in reference to the goal. The delegative leader lessens involvement in planning, control of details, and goal clarification. After the group agrees on what to do, this style lets followers take responsibility for getting the job done the way they see fit. A leader using S4 gives control to followers and refrains from intervening with unnecessary social support.

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