In this post, I want to introduce a theory of leadership that I use quite extensively in my training. It is based on Daniel Goleman’s Six Leadership styles.

As part of his work researching Emotional Intelligence and its role in leadership, Daniel Goleman identified six distinct leadership styles that we, as managers, use at any given point. Those six styles are:

  • Coercive
  • Pacesetting
  • Authoritative
  • Affiliative
  • Coaching
  • Democratic

Six Leadership Styles

As managers, we all exhibit a number of leadership styles. The styles we exhibit change depending the situation but we often have a dominant style – the style we use most often.

A manager who exhibits the COERCIVE style (also known as Commanding or Directive) will tell people what to do, when to do it and consequences of failure. They demand immediate compliance. People who use this style predominately are driven to control and driven to achieve.

These managers are like the Sergeant-Major, feared rather than respected.

A PACESETTING manager tends to be a high-achiever, they will lead by example and will often undertake personal heroics to get the job done. He or she will often gets involved and get their hands dirty. Their behaviour is driven by their own very high standards for themselves and their high expectations of those around them.

This seems to be a very common style. People seem to think that they need to be the hero as a manager or seem to think that they are the only ones who care.

The AUTHORITATIVE style is also known as Visionary. Managers using the style help develop a vision then mobilises people to achieve it. They are very good at explaining the challenges ahead and explaining people’s responsibilities clearly.

Great leaders show this style frequently, they generate great loyalty in their teams

The AFFILIATIVE manager emphasises people over tasks. They are the type of manager who develops close bonds with members of staff and encourages a feeling of harmony in the workplace.

These are the managers who know the names of everyone’s kids and always goes on team socials. They build very strong bonds.

As the name suggests, the COACHING style is focused on developing people’s capability with the team. Coaching managers will have more of an eye on the long-term development of their team than meeting short terms gaols.

Coaching leaders work hard to develop their team and are great with inexperienced teams.

Finally, a DEMOCRATIC manager will create consensus through involving people and prioritises getting people to participate. They will engages others in the decision-making process and is associated with people who have great communication skills and a team building ethos.

A Democratic Leader will be the one asking everyone for their opinions and checks that a consensus is exists before a decision is made.

Plusses and Minusses

Each of these styles has positives and negatives, especially if they are used in isolation. What is important to note is that the more successful leaders intuitively know which style to apply for each situation whereas ineffectual managers tend to be one-trick ponies.

Have a read down the list and ask yourself which sort of manager are you. If you mostly use Coercive or Pacesetting styles, be aware. Although they can be useful in short bursts, both have a corrosive effect on team cohesion and productivity if they are the dominant style over a long period.

My training helps you understand how you manage and helps you to develop a broader range of styles. Successful managers effortlessly slip between these styles, if that is what you want, contact me for more information on how I can help you develop your leadership styles.