Time's have changed. The continual advancement and ubiquity of technology has greatly reduced the barriers to entry in various business markets. The influx of startups has dramatically increased competition and made it imperative for businesses to overhaul their processes in order to survive and prosper. One aspect that has been identified as a key point for optimisation is management and leadership.

There are a number of leadership styles being employed across different businesses. Each leadership style takes a unique approach to motivating and mobilising their workforce in order to achieve business goals. However,
it is important to note that one leadership style is not inherently better or more successful than another. A combination of elements from different leadership styles may be a better fit for your team/business, rather than strictly following a particular category. The leadership style must be customised for the specific needs, culture and context of each company, in order to effectively draw out the full potential of the company's talent.

Leadership Styles

- Visionary
A visionary leader is characterised by the clarity of their vision for the future direction of the business, and their ability to convey this vision in a way that inspires others to work towards this common cause.
Visions are quite nebulous in nature, so one of their greatest strengths lies in their ability to translate this into tangible and achievable goals, and show employees how they can contribute to the successful attainment of them. The visionary leadership style treats management more like a partnership. This elevates the responsibilities of employees, so they have a greater stake in the success of the business, and are more intrinsically motivated to do the best that they can. The management style of a visionary leader is focused on employee empowerment and forward mobility.
Visionary leadership is best-suited to situations where the business is looking to move in a new direction, launch a new product into the market or to build strong team spirit.

- Affiliative
An affiliative approach to leadership is concerned with the building and nurturing of relationships with workers to achieve harmony within the organisation. The emotional needs of the workers are a high priority. The main focus of this leadership style is to create strong relationships, cohesive teams, and improve company morale. The affiliative leadership style is most-effective during times of stress, internal distrust, or team members have suffered from a trauma and need to heal.
However, with an affiliative style of leadership, the downfalls of workers may go unchallenged/unchecked to avoid tension and preserve the peace. This may not be conducive for growth or progress, so this style of leadership should be used sparingly in situations where healing is the main priority.

- Coaching
The coaching management style is focused on the learning experience, building up the strengths and skill sets of each worker and achieving greater outputs as a result. The main pros of the coaching style are that these managers are excellent at delegating tasks and equipping their team to achieve business goals.
The coaching leadership style invests time into the long-term development of their team and understands that failure in the short-term may be a natural consequence of this learning process.
The coaching style of leadership is most effective when team members are aware of their weaknesses and receptive to improving their skill sets, and instances where company performance needs to be improved.

- Democratic
The democratic leadership style, as the name suggests, involves empowering employees by consulting them when decisions need to be made. This style of management is very participative, as management places value on the input and opinion of their team. This style of leadership focuses on collaboration and coming to a consensus regarding company strategy and problem-solving.
The democratic leadership style is most-effective when the team that is consulted is knowledgable and experienced. The democratic leadership style helps workers feel more engaged, empowered and that their contributions are important to the company. Democratic leadership often leads to the development of more creative solutions, since fresh ideas and insights can be generated from the qualified cohort being consulted. However, in situations where decisions need to be made quickly,  the democratic leadership style may not be the most appropriate as coming to a mutually agreeable decision can be slow.

- Directive
The directive leadership style hearkens back to the more traditional notions surrounding how a team should be managed. Despite the decreased popularity of this style in some industries, its effectiveness is undeniable in certain settings. For example, when jobs deal with life or death, unquestioning obedience from team members is important, as it saves valuable time on decision-making processes. The directive style is brash, unapologetic and very results-driven. Directive leaders run a tight ship and provide team members with minimal autonomy as this could hinder management's instructions from being executed, or negatively affect efficiency.

- Pace-Setting
The pace-setting leadership style, as the name suggests, is when management takes a hands-on approach, by executing tasks themselves and setting the standard for team members to follow. Pace-setting managers are driven, goal-oriented and lead by example.
Under a pace-setting leadership style, results are quickly achieved due to the high benchmark. However, pace-setting can diminish morale for the same reasons. Employees can become overwhelmed by the high expectations surrounding their performance, which can cause employees to burn out or increased staff turnover. The focus of pace-setting is to achieve goals, and if team members aren't able to keep up then replacements are ushered in. Pace-setting is most effective in teams where members are already highly competent, autonomous and driven.

- Compassionate Leadership
A leadership style that is being championed by LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Wiener, is compassionate leadership. Simply put, compassionate leadership is about leading from both the head and the heart. Compassionate leadership involves empathising with employees, understanding their perspective and rationale, and using this insight to play to their strengths, which helps team members move forward and upwards.
Compassionate leaders are self-aware, emotionally intelligent and mindful of the feelings and plight of their team members. However, compassionate leaders are also able to maintain a level of objectivity that allows them to help resolve any potential issues and draw out the best performance from their employees. Compassionate leadership is applicable in most scenarios and situations, as it takes a nuanced approach, that seeks to go further than a surface-level understanding of how its team members tick.

Leadership Styles in Labour Hire
The unique structure of labour hire agencies means that leadership styles can vary depending on the type of employee that is being managed. Within labour hire agencies, there are two main types of workers - the internal staff (e.g. recruiters and account managers) and the labour hire workers that are sent out to clients. The most common combination of leadership styles employed to manage internal team members is pace-setting and coaching. This is because the 'on demand' nature of labour hire requires the continual refinement of skills, and targets to be achieved quickly. Whilst, the labour hire workers that are sent to clients are often managed using directive and pace-setting techniques, as they have been hired to fulfil a specific role or perform a particular task. Also, once the labour hire workers have been placed, they are then exposed to the leadership styles employed by the labour hire agency's client.
Increasingly, elements of affiliative and compassionate leadership styles are being implemented in labour hire agencies, as the development of strong relationships are essential for finding workers and getting them placed promptly.

Are you an employer looking for labour hire workers to lend your business a helping hand? Look no further than Workfast Labour Hire! We can help you connect with quality workers that are best-suited for the role! To get started, call Workfast Labour Hire on 1300 824 403 or click here to send a labour hire staff request form!

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