Japan 2024

Think You Know Your Leadership Style? Spoiler

If you think you know your leadership style? I’ll argue you better not.

No one should have 1 style, 1 way of leading.

I say 6, as do real authorities.

Daniel Goleman, the man who raised Emotional Intelligence (EI) to the forefront, has a framework on emotional styles of leadership which has stood out for its practical insights and application. Goleman’s 6 leadership styles highlight the ways leaders can harness emotions to guide their teams effectively. Let’s delve into the origin, the styles, and examples of prominent figures exemplifying each style.

The Origin of Goleman’s Leadership Styles

Daniel Goleman introduced the concept of emotional intelligence in his 1995 book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.” Building on this foundation, Goleman, along with Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, elaborated on the six leadership styles in their 2002 book “Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence.” These styles stem from a leader’s ability to manage their own emotions and those of others, thereby fostering a conducive and productive work environment.

Goleman’s research, published in the Harvard Business Review, showed that leaders who can switch flexibly between styles are most effective. His studies revealed that a leader’s emotional style significantly influences the organizational climate, which in turn affects performance metrics such as productivity, turnover, and financial results.

1. Visionary Leadership

Visionary leaders articulate a clear, long-term vision and move people toward it. They are charismatic, inspire motivation, and give meaning to the tasks at hand.

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, was known for his visionary leadership. He could foresee market trends and guided Apple to innovate products that revolutionized technology and consumer electronics. Same with Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX who has a clear vision and passionately communicates that.

Visionary leadership is particularly effective in times of change, providing a sense of direction and purpose. Research shows that organizations led by visionary leaders have higher employee engagement and satisfaction.

2. Coaching Leadership

Coaching leaders focus on developing people for the future. They invest time in mentoring and aligning personal and professional goals. They enable and empower others

Oprah Winfrey is renowned for her coaching leadership style. Through her media empire, she has mentored numerous individuals, emphasizing personal growth and development. Also, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft encourages learning and growth. The annual financial performance improvements since his start shows the power of this style on culture and performance.

Coaching leadership has been linked to improved employee performance and satisfaction. Studies indicate that companies with coaching leaders experience increased employee retention and better performance outcomes.

3. Affiliative Leadership

Affiliative leaders prioritize team harmony and emotional bonds. They build strong emotional connections and foster a sense of belonging.

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, is known for his affiliative style. He creates a positive, people-focused culture within his companies, emphasizing employee well-being. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, Check this is still her role too emphasizes building strong emotional bonds, a positive, inclusive work environment, team harmony and ensures that employees feel valued and connected.

Affiliative leadership boosts morale and communication. Organizations with affiliative leaders tend to have higher levels of trust and lower turnover rates.

4. Democratic Leadership

Democratic leaders encourage participation and consensus-building. They value team input and make decisions collectively.

Nelson Mandela exemplified democratic leadership. He led South Africa through a peaceful transition by fostering inclusivity and valuing diverse perspectives. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc. and Google, encourages participation and values input from all levels of the organization leading to its innovative edge and employee satisfaction.

Democratic leadership enhances team collaboration and innovation. Studies show that inclusive decision-making processes lead to higher employee satisfaction and creativity.

5. Pacesetting Leadership

Pacesetting leaders set high standards and exemplify them. They demand excellence and often lead by example.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, is a pacesetting leader. He drives his teams to achieve high performance and constantly pushes the boundaries of innovation. Reed Hastings, Co-CEO of Netflix, exemplifies pacesetting, setting high performance standards and leading by example.

While pacesetting can drive high performance in the short term, it can lead to burnout if not balanced with supportive practices. Effective when quick results are needed however, requires careful implementation to avoid negative impacts.

6. Commanding Leadership

Commanding leaders demand immediate compliance and control situations with a top-down approach. This style is effective in crisis situations.

Winston Churchill, during World War II, used a commanding style to lead Britain through critical times, making decisive actions and providing clear directives. Jeff Bezos, Former CEO of Amazon often exhibited a commanding leadership style by being decisive with top-down decisions that steered the company through rapid growth and significant challenges.

Commanding leadership is effective in crises however, can stifle creativity and morale if overused. Best used sparingly, it ensures quick decision-making when necessary.

Productivity and Effectiveness of Emotional Leadership Styles

By now you probably understand that 1 style alone is not effective.

Different styles are suitable for people with different experience and development needs, for different urgencies and for different situations including organizations goals.

Goleman’s research underscores the importance of adaptability in leadership styles. Leaders who can switch between styles as the situation demands are shown to be more effective. For instance, a study published in the “Journal of Business Research” highlighted that emotional intelligence, a core component of these leadership styles, correlates with better job performance and leadership effectiveness.

Furthermore, a Gallup survey found that leaders who exhibit high emotional intelligence have teams with 25% higher performance and 20% higher sales than those with low EI leaders. This highlights the tangible benefits of adopting Goleman’s leadership styles in fostering a productive and thriving workplace.

EI is crucial as a leader needs to sense the situation and manage their emotional state to choose and effectively practice the appropriate leadership style.

Another Gallup study found that companies with high employee engagement scores, often driven by emotionally intelligent leadership, had 21% higher profitability.
In summary, leaders who exhibit high emotional intelligence—crucial for adapting Goleman’s styles—tend to have higher performance, better employee retention, and improved overall satisfaction.

So What?

As leaders, founders, and professionals, understanding and integrating Goleman’s leadership styles can significantly enhance your leadership effectiveness.

Are you ready to enhance your leadership skills and drive your team to greater success?

Do your leaders need to be more adaptable and agile?

What does your leadership need to motivate and inspire your teams?

My award-winning book, Soft Skills HARD RESULTS, has more tips and tricks for emotional intelligence. Get the 1st chapter free HERE.

1. Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., & McKee, A. (2002). Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence.
2. Harvard Business Review. (2004). What Makes a Leader?
3. Gallup. (2019). State of the Global Workplace Report.
4. Journal of Business Research. (2017). Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Effectiveness.
5. Deloitte. (2016). Global Human Capital Trends.
6. McKinsey & Company. (2015). Organizational Health Index