What’s Your Style?

leadership-leadershipMost effective leaders have several leadership or management styles they use, based on the situation. Daniel Goleman, the prolific writer on Emotional Intelligence, has looked closely at the various styles over the years. His research found that leaders use six styles, each springing from different components of emotional intelligence.

Here is a summary of the styles, their origin, when they work best, and their impact on an organization’s climate and thus its performance.

Coercive

The leader’s modus operandi: Demands immediate compliance

The style in a phrase: “Do what I tell you.”

Underlying emotional intelligence competencies: Drive to achieve, initiative, self-control

When the style works best: In a crisis, to kick start a turnaround, or with problem employees

Overall impact on climate: Negative

Authoritative

The leader’s modus operandi: Mobilizes people toward a vision

The style in a phrase: “Come with me.”

Underlying emotional intelligence competencies: Self-confidence, empathy, change catalyst

When the style works best: When changes require a new vision, or when a clear direction is needed.

Overall impact on climate: Most strongly positive

Affiliative

The leader’s modus operandi: Creates harmony and builds emotional bonds

The style in a phrase: “People come first.”

Underlying emotional intelligence competencies: Empathy, building relationships, communication

When the style works best: To heal rifts in a team or to motivate people during stressful circumstances

Overall impact on climate: Positive

Democratic

The leader’s modus operandi: Forges consensus through participation

The style in a phrase: “What do you think?”

Underlying emotional intelligence competencies: Collaboration, team leadership, communication

When the style works best: To build buy-in or consensus, or to get input from valuable employees

Overall impact on climate: Positive

Pacesetting

The leader’s modus operandi: Sets high standards for performance

The style in a phrase: “Do as I do, now.”

Underlying emotional intelligence competencies: Conscientiousness, drive to achieve, initiative

When the style works best: To get quick results from a highly motivated and competent team

Overall impact on climate: Negative

Coaching

The leader’s modus operandi: Develops people for the future

The style in a phrase: “Try this.”

Underlying emotional intelligence competencies: Developing others, empathy, self-awareness

When the style works best: To help an employee improve performance or develop long-term strengths

Overall impact on climate: Positive

What styles do you use?

Michael Shapiro, Dynamic Management Solutions, Inc.

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