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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Changing Your Leadership Style

What is the best leadership style for successful managers today?

The answer: It depends.

Whether you’re a leader yourself or you answer to one, it’s unlikely you’ll be limited to one style of leadership. Effective leaders will move seamlessly between management styles as the situation demands, in order to get the most out of their team.

This blog post explores the reasons for changing leadership styles, along with the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. After reading you’ll understand why successful managers don’t limit themselves to one style, and you’ll be ready to take the first steps toward changing yours.

Why leaders are most likely to change their leadership style

Do you feel like things aren’t getting done in your workplace?

Maybe your team have stopped achieving targets, or milestones are being missed?

Though it may be tempting to lay the blame at the feet of your team, an intuitive leader will look inward first. Perhaps their leadership style is not right for the situation. Perhaps it never has been?

By accepting this possibility, a leader opens the door to solutions.

And by showing a willingness to reflect on their leadership style and make the necessary changes, they pave the way for success.

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Advantages and disadvantages of changing your leadership style

The benefits of adaptive leadership should be clear already. No one responds well to a leader whose ways are set in stone, and who is completely resistant to change.

But is it really as simple as just switching from one leadership style to another?

As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages of transitioning between styles. Developing an understanding of these is a vital part of good management, and of successful adaptive leadership.

The advantages of changing your leadership style

First and foremost, the willingness and ability to change allow you to get the most out of your team in every situation. Ploughing ahead with one leadership style regardless of the context is a surefire way to alienate team members and see morale plummet; whereas adapting will bring people into the fold, and help them to succeed.

Adaptive leadership will create a success-led workplace, where team members will grow accustomed to challenges being addressed and resolved, rather than ignored or used as the basis for blame.

As a result of these things, people will respect the leadership: a key factor of a healthy workplace where people feel valued and keyed in to the goals of the organisation. There will be more opportunities for dialogue between you and your team, and a more tangible synergy.

Changing your leadership style will also allow you to scale your involvement so that your management remains effective. The overarching goals stay fairly consistent as team size increases, but the time you have to spend with individual employees will change. By adapting to this reality, you can ensure management still achieves results despite having less time with each team member.

Overall, adaptive leadership fosters healthy and consistent self development, as it relies on you looking inward, reflecting on your shortfalls, and making the refinements required for success.

In short, it’s not just the organisation that benefits from successful leadership: it’s the leader, and the people they manage as well.

The disadvantages of changing your leadership style

It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, though.

Changing your methods takes more work than staying firmly within one style. You need to develop an understanding of emotional intelligence, and be able to nurture your ability to move fluidly between styles.

The trade-off here is ignoring an opportunity for personal development: though it’s hard work, there are undeniable rewards.

Another disadvantage is that stepping outside of your comfort zone is a daunting prospect. Changing leadership style may mean using methods that are completely unfamiliar, and you can feel very exposed.

The trade-off? Forcing an unsuitable leadership style because it feels more comfortable in the short term leaves less space for growth in the long term, both for you, and your subordinates.

Sometimes the situation that leads to the change in style is less than ideal. It’s not unusual for a leader to notice their team slacking or cutting corners before realising that their management style is no longer up to the task. This can be humbling and demotivating, and can even lead to intervention from further up the management chain if somebody else noticed before you did.

As with previous disadvantages, there is a silver lining here. Regardless of the situation that led to it, being prompted to adapt and improve your leadership style is an opportunity to grow.

For a fuller understanding of leadership styles and when to use them check out our complete guide, which has been designed to compare leadership styles for different situations.


Thinking About Changing Your Leadership style?

Here’s how Successfactory can help…

By understanding things like:

  • The effect of leadership style on employee performance.
  • The impact of different leadership styles on motivation.
  • The relationship between leadership style and employee retention

You can successfully change your leadership style to respond to any new situation that may arise in the workplace.

Put simply, changing is a four step process:

First you detect the need to change.

Then you prepare to adapt, by being flexible and receptive to change.

Choosing the right leadership style for the new situation is the next step.

And the final step is to adopt the new style.

Obviously it goes deeper than that, but that’s a zoomed out view of the process. At Successfactory, we’ve built our business around helping leaders to succeed.

Accepting the need to change can be daunting, and making the change can feel disorienting. We can help you focus on the benefits, and to make the transition seamlessly.

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In conclusion…

The most effective leaders have an in-depth understanding of themselves, their teams, and the leadership styles available to them. They have a willingness to move between styles as the situation demands, and the knowledge to make this transition effectively.

By accepting that no leadership style is perfect, and acknowledging that changing doesn’t reflect a shortfall in their abilities, effective leaders are able to pave the way for success in any situation.

At Successfactory, we can help you to join the ranks of the most effective leaders.

Every success,


About the author

Graham Wilson

Graham Wilson

I enjoy and specialise in teaching leadership skills, how to create winning strategies, how to build high performance cultures. Outcomes and results are the most important measures for me!