One of the simplest systems of categorizing leadership styles comes to us from the late Paul Pohlman of the Poynter Institute:
OFFICIAL: Relies on rules and directives. Authoritative. Use this sparingly as it stifles discussion and creativity. Can be very effective during a crisis when precision and control is paramount.
EXPERT: Operates out of personal skills and experience. Yields respect up to a point. Many news directors need to grow beyond this to encourage the expertise of others.
COACH: Tries to help staff be their best. Shapes relationships with staffers according to their needs.
TEAM BUILDER: Expects group interactions to motivate and discipline individuals. Fosters common purpose and shared values.
Managers will normally borrow from all four categories but tend to be dominant in one. Pohlman emphasized the “coach” style for News Directors.
Jill Geisler of the Poynter Institute is another well-respected trainer for broadcast news managers. She describes additional management types in her poynter.org column.