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How to use your leadership style to better approach challenges
June 14, 2020

By Jewelle Saunders

Challenges can arise in many forms. Whether your organization is facing adversity through factors such as emerging technologies, the economy, environmental disasters, or competition, the one constant is that roadblocks can appear at any time. What makes a strong leader is not how you avoid challenges, but how you overcome them and emerge stronger.

Not every leader will approach these challenges in the same way. Determine which leadership style might fit you best. Based on the style you most identify with, learn how to improve how you approach future challenges, and how you will emerge as a more confident leader with a stronger team.

Leadership style 1: The coach

Is this you? Leaders with a coaching leadership style recognize and understand their team members’ individual goals and aspirations and relate these to their strengths and weaknesses well, providing ample feedback to help their employees grow.

How to use this style to better approach challenges: When you and your team’s goals are challenging to achieve and are outside of your comfort zones, recognize and express that challenges are a necessary part of growth. When providing feedback, assure your team of the goal at the finish line. You can also take this time to become coachable yourself and encourage feedback on your approaches to make any useful adjustments.

Leadership style 2: Visionary leader

Is this you? Visionary leaders want to move their employees toward shared goals with a clear strategy and a defined bigger picture. They want to push their organization in a new direction, and they want to find out how their employees’ individual motivations help to achieve a shared vision.

How to use this style to better approach challenges: Transparency and trust are key to maintaining a strong team as a visionary leader. Communicate your intentions and strategy to your team and help them understand what future challenges you might face. Help them to understand the role that each team member can play in overcoming those challenges as change occurs.

Leadership style 3: Servant leader

Is this you? A servant leader has a people-first mindset and strives to ensure that employees are working in harmony. A servant leader focuses less on tasks and goals, and tends to emphasize emotional needs and building a sense of belonging.

How to use this style to better approach challenges: Make sure that your employees have opportunities to build positive relationships within their team, and focus on providing space for them to maintain a work-life balance. In times of crisis, a good practice would be to reinforce good self-care and coping methods to your team so they can more easily recover in a healthy way. If they have a positive attitude toward work and their fellow employees, they will more confidently approach challenges with a positive attitude and assist in advancing your overall goals for your business.

Leadership style 4: Authoritarian leader

Is this you? Authoritarian leaders generally have a business-first mindset, where success is dependent on their control over key decisions. They often make decisions on their own or with a small team of experts and they motivate their team through enforced rules and policies. In responding to a crisis, authoritarian leaders can take the pressure of decisionmaking off their team.

How to use this style to better approach challenges: When practicing how to better approach upcoming challenges, learn to adjust control, encourage communication, and allow for your team to become more active participants in decisionmaking. This will ensure that the pressure is not strictly on you and that the entire team is more equipped with the skills to approach challenges more confidently.


There are benefits and drawbacks to every style of leadership. Effective and strong leaders should maintain flexibility and should be willing to continue to learn new ways to approach challenges, knowing that it will make for a more resilient and confident team in the long term.

Want more information on how to better respond to adversity? Visit YLAI Strong and learn more about strengthening your foundation and your business. 

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