Module 8 – Leadership Styles

Gain a sound understanding of Daniel Goleman’s six leadership styles, determine your own preferred style, and develop the crucial ability to seamlessly transition between styles to adapt effectively to diverse leadership situations.



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How did you get on yesterday with your thinking about change? The change, your attitude towards change and the attitude of your team members towards change, how change is thought about in the business. Hopefully, you are now sort of starting to get used to reflecting on your thoughts, your feelings about different issues and about your leadership. And that’s an important part of becoming a self-aware leader. We’ll be talking more about emotional intelligence very soon, which is an important part of being a good leader. But to build up to that, I want to talk about leadership styles.

Now, we often hear people say, “Ah yeah, leadership. My style is very autocratic, my style is very inclusive.” Well, yes, there are many different styles. But the one thing we’re trying to put forward here is that not one style is best, and that as a leader, you can actually display and practice different styles of leadership.

Now, one of the classic writers and researchers in leadership and leadership styles is Daniel Goleman. And so, I’m going to present to you a little bit of his work around leadership styles because I think this is particularly useful for us, as leaders, and for those of us the wish to become very flexible, high-performing leaders.

Now you’ll see in the text, you’ll see full explanations of this. His work that describes 6 leadership styles. And I’ll run through those briefly and then allow you to read more about them. There’s the, it starts with the coercive, maybe slightly autocratic, do-what-I-say style of leadership. You’ve seen those sorts of people, haven’t you? And there’s plenty of them around, people who simply rely on their position of authority to be able to get what they want, to get it done. And you can ask yourself, “Is that a particularly effective way of leading?” But nevertheless, it’s a style which you see all too often.

Then there’s the authoritative style. The “come with me.” Now, this is not to be confused with the autocratic style, the coercive style. The authoritative style is confident and positive, and it’s very much a leading from the front. “Come on, follow me, let’s go and achieve this.”

Then there’s the affiliative style. The “people are important, people come first. Let’s look after everybody.” This is a very caring sort of style of leadership. Let’s look after everybody, and if everyone’s looked after, they’ll come along with us.

Then there’s the democratic style, the highly inclusive style. “So, what do you think?” And that is a very open style of leadership.

You’ve then got the pace setter, the pace setting style. The do as I do now. This is the individual who’s very, very bright, who understands everything and tries to hold everybody to the same standard, the same level of which they’re at. This can be a real challenge to try and keep up with them, but it can be great for lifting you up.

And then there’s the coaching style. The style where we ask somebody, “What would you like to do? How would this work better for you? Maybe, perhaps you could just try this, would that be alright?”

So, six different styles of leadership: the coercive style – the “do what I say”, the authoritative style – the “come with me”, the affiliative – “people come first, let’s look after them”, the democratic style – the “so what do you think?”, the pace setting style – “do as I do now, come on, if I can do it, you can too”, and the coaching style – the “what would you like, why not try this?”

So read the text, understand a little bit more about these styles, reflect on what may be your preferred style. And as you go around and about your business in the coming day, think about what styles you see different people using, different leaders using. And just ask yourself, “Is that the most effective leadership style for this situation?”

Best of luck with that one.