The 6 Leadership Styles

September 4, 2015 | Roger and Susie Engelau

Which one of these 6 leadership styles is your leadership style?

And how effective is it?

  • Coercive—demands immediate compliance. Says, “Do what I tell you.” Gives clear direction, orders, allows little input, able to make tough decisions, monitors activities closely and quick to address problems.
  • Authoritative—mobilizes people toward a vision. Says, “Come with me.” Confident, empathic, articulates where the team is going, encourages people to innovate, experiment and take calculated risks in support of the vision.
  • Affiliative—creates emotional bonds and harmony. Says, “People come first.” Values others; openly shares emotions; promotes collaboration and relationships; builds a team atmosphere.
  • Democratic—builds consensus through participation. Says, “What do you ” Seeks out and listens to others’ thoughts & concerns; open to ideas; consults extensively with others; builds consensus
  • Pacesetting—expects excellence and self-direction. Says, “Do as I do, now.” High expectations of self & others; driven to improve/achieve; intolerant of perceived incompetence; goal focused
  • Coaching—develops people for the future. Says, “Try this.” Delegates challenging assignments; supports and encourages; tolerant of mistakes; helps others set goals and identify development needs

As the business owner, your leadership style is responsible for 30% of your company’s profits.

There are thousands of experts on leadership but by far, the best, most practical information on the subject is the research-based work done by Hay McBer based on Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence work that resulted in 6 leadership styles. It’s qualitative, based on extensive research, and spells out specific behaviors so you can immediately implement them.

Which one of the 6 leadership styles is best?

Some think it’s Authoritative, also known as Visionary.  Others would say it’s the Democratic style. Still others would say Affiliative or Coaching.  The correct answer is that effective leaders use all 6 leadership styles. In fact, Goleman says,

“Leaders who have mastered four or more—especially the Authoritative, Democratic, Affiliative, and Coaching styles—have the very best climate and business performance.”

The Authoritative, Democratic, Affiliative, and Coaching styles have positive effects on the climate in your organization. The Coercive and Pacesetting styles have their specific uses but if used consistently, or as your fall-back style, will have devastating effects on your company’s performance. In fact, any style used alone can have negative effects on performance.

You decide which style to use based on the situation. To master leadership that gets real, true bottomline results, you have to develop the ability to use each of the 6 leadership styles—and also the ability to know when to use each one.  The ability to switch from one style to another is what will make you the best leader. Any style used at the wrong time renders you ineffective… and for your small business, that means dollars and profit lost.

How do you find out which of the 6 leadership styles you use most?

You probably have a dominant style, a style that you use as a fall-back position, probably the one you use when you’re not deliberately thinking ‘which style should I use in this situation?’  The only true way to determine your dominant style is to have your employees complete a comprehensive survey, but here’s a 5-10 min quiz –– that can give you an idea of your dominant style.

Stay tuned next week when I’ll describe each of the 6  leadership styles in more depth, give examples of leaders who exhibit each style, layout the kind of situations in which to use each style, and list ways to develop each style.

We’ll also be discussing the 6 leadership styles at my next quarterly Growth Plan Workshop. Join us for a day of short educational periods, work in small groups, and a nice hot lunch together.

Thur., Sept 24, 2015, 9 – 4 pm
Hilton Garden Inn Indianapolis Airport, 8910 Hatfield Dr., Indianapolis  46231

Register for this quarter’s Growth Plan Business Planning Workshop here.

You’ll walk away with:

  • A clear picture of where you want your business to be in 10-30 years, a 3-5 year plan, a 90-day plan, & monthly goals broken into weekly actions
  • The ability to master the 6 leadership styles so that your business results grow

$247 at the door, $187 in advance, and FREE for business coaching clients.