Cynthia Shannon
Cynthia Shannon asked Daniel Goleman:

How can you identify your own leadership style?

Daniel Goleman Cynthia,

Good question. I explore the six leadership styles in my latest compilation What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters. To best answer your question, I’ll provide a quick overview of each style.

AUTHORITATIVE - Authoritative leaders mobilize people toward a vision. By framing the individual tasks within a grand vision, the authoritative leader defines standards that revolve around that vision. The standards for success are clear to all, as are the rewards.

COACHING - A coaching leader helps employees identify their unique strengths and weaknesses, and ties them to their personal and career aspirations.

AFFILIATIVE - The affiliative leader strives to keep employees happy and to create harmony among them. They offer ample positive feedback, providing a sense of recognition and reward for work well done.

DEMOCRATIC - Spending time to achieve people’s buy-in allows a democratic leader to build trust, respect, and commitment. And because they have a say in setting their goals, people operating in a democratic system tend to be very realistic about what can and cannot be accomplished.

PACESETTING - Pacesetting leaders expect excellence and self-direction. This is a style that should be used sparingly; many employees feel overwhelmed by the pacesetter’s demands for excellence, and their morale drops. Work becomes too task-focused.

COERCIVE - Coercive leaders demand blind obedience, which can be damaging. Most high performing workers seek the satisfaction of work well done, and the coercive style erodes such pride.

Research has shown that the more styles a leader exhibits, the better. Leaders who have mastered four or more – especially the authoritative, democratic, affiliative, and coaching styles – garner the very best results. And the most effective leaders switch flexibly among the leadership styles as needed.

Which style resembles your approach to leadership?


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