Tuesday, 25 April 2006

Six Styles of Leadership

Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, in Primal Leadership, describe six styles of leading that have different effects on the emotions of the target followers.

These are styles, not types. Any leader can use any style, and a good mix
that is customised to the situation is generally the most effective

The Visionary Leader

The Coaching Leader

The Affiliative Leader

The Democratic Leader

The Pace-setting Leader

The Commanding Leader

The Visionary Leader
The Visionary Leader moves people towards a shared vision, telling them
where to go but not how to get there - thus motivating them to struggle
forwards. They openly share information, hence giving knowledge power to
They can fail when trying to motivate more experienced experts or peers.
This style is best when a new direction is needed.
Overall, it has a very strong impact on the climate.
The Coaching Leader
The Coaching Leader connects wants to organisational goals, holding long
conversations that reach beyond the workplace, helping people find strengths
and weaknesses and tying these to career aspirations and actions. They are
good at delegating challenging assignments, demonstrating faith that demands
justification and which leads to high levels of loyalty.
Done badly, this style looks like micromanaging.
It is best used when individuals need to build long-term capabilities.
It has a highly positive impact on the climate.
The Affiliative Leader
The Affiliative Leader creates people connections and thus harmony within
the organisation. It is a very collaborative style which focuses on
emotional needs over work needs.
When done badly, it avoids emotionally distressing situations such as
negative feedback. Done well, it is often used alongside visionary
It is best used for healing rifts and getting through stressful situations.
It has a positive impact on climate.
The Democratic Leader
The Democratic Leader acts to value inputs and commitment via participation,
listening to both the bad and the good news.
When done badly, it looks like lots of listening but very little effective
It is best used to gain buy-in or when simple inputs are needed ( when you
are uncertain).
It has a positive impact on climate.
The Pace-setting Leader
The Pace-setting Leader builds challenge and exciting goals for people,
expecting excellence and often exemplifying it themselves. They identify
poor performers and demand more of them. If necessary, they will roll up
their sleeves and rescue the situation themselves.
They tend to be low on guidance, expecting people to know what to do. They
get short term results but over the long term this style can lead to
exhaustion and decline.
Done badly, it lacks Emotional Intelligence, especially self-management. A
classic problem happens when the 'star techie' gets promoted.
It is best used for results from a motivated and competent team.
It often has a very negative effect on climate (because it is often poorly
The Commanding Leader
The Commanding Leader soothes fears and gives clear directions by his or her
powerful stance, commanding and expecting full compliance (agreement is not
needed). They need emotional self-control for success and can seem cold and
This approach is best in times of crisis when you need unquestioned rapid
action and with problem employees who do not respond to other methods.