Every leader has his own style of leadership, but generally they can be defined or fall into one of four categories. This is not to say that a leader can not move from style to style, and in general as a leader is developing and in the forming stages of developing the team (Patrol) the leader will use many different styles.
Tonight I watched as my youngest son was at Football practice. On the team there are those that are emotional leaders, they pump up the guys and get them to rally. Then there is the Quarterback, a leader in the huddle and a director at the line of scrimmage. He is a vocal leader and pretty much echos the instructions coming from the coaches on the sideline.
Then there are the quiet leaders of the team. Those guys that are in on every plan, hitting hard and hustling even when they are tired and beaten up. These guys lead by example. You rarely hear a word out of them, but the whole team knows they can count on them.
This is all leadership. The common leadership style are:
Delegating (including joining)
Directing is when the leader tells the led what needs to be done and how to do it. Commonly found in the Forming stage. He does not ask for opinion or input, he just wants to get the task complete. Much like the Quarterback, he directs the Patrol to completion.
Coaching can be found when the group is on its way to Norming. Some direction is still needed and skill levels are not quiet there. The coach explains the process, then lets the team execute.
Supporting leaders have a group that has developed, but not mastered, skills. He steps back and lets the team succeed jumping in when needed. He has confidence in his leadership and in his patrol. He is like the emotional leader on the football team, he pumps up the team when they need it and pats them on the back when everything is going well.
Delegating leadership is found when the patrol is executing skills as a high performance team. The leader can turn over the task to anyone on the team and know that things will be done correctly. One thing that needs to be mentioned in delegating however is that a leader can delegate, but not remove himself from responsibility. The accountability of the Patrol still is on the leader. The Performing stage is when Delegating leadership is usually found and things are going great.
Like I said, team development fluctuates. As new members join the team may revert back to forming for a short time, the leader must make the adjustment in his style to meet the needs of the team.
It has been said before also that the leader must tailor his leadership style to meet the needs of the led. Not everyone is motivated the same, nor do they respond to leaders the same.
Knowing yourself and the leadership styles will help you move you team in the right direction. A team that is operating in the High performance (Performing) mode is fun and limitless.