Friday, December 2, 2011

Creating Resonance Through Leadership Style

If you remember, in the post entitled Effective Leadership and Emotional Intelligence I promised to discuss leadership styles in my next post, but then skipped them in favor of 2012 marketing trends. This is that promised post.

There are, according to Daniel Goleman, six leadership styles and all are effective - when used at the appropriate times; however the overall impact on the situation can be seen as positive, negative, or neutral, depending on the when and where of use. That is key to effective leadership - knowing when to use a particular style in order to create resonance. This means the leader is in tune with other peoples' feelings and can use that knowledge to move them in a positive emotional direction. Truly skillful leaders are able to switch swiftly between leadership styles as the situation demands. Below is a summary of the six styles with their accompanying information from Daniel Goleman's Harvard Business Review Article, "Leadership That Gets Results".

StyleThe Leader's MOStyle PhraseDriveStyle TimingClimate Impact
VisionaryMobilizes people toward a vision“Come with me.”Self-confidence,
empathy, change
When changes require a new vision, or when a clear direction is neededMost strongly positive
AffiliativeCreates harmony and builds emotional bonds"People come first."Empathy, building
relationships, communication
To heal rifts in a
team or to motivate people during stressful circumstances
DemocraticForges consensus through participation"What do you think?"Collaboration,
team leadership,
To build buy-in or consensus, or to get input from valuable
CoachingDevelops people for the future"Try this."Developing
others, empathy,
To help an employee
improve performance or
develop long-term strengths
PacesettingSets high standards for performance"Do as I do, now."Conscientiousness,
drive to achieve,
To get quick results form a highly motivated and competent teamNegative
“Do what I tell you.”Drive to achieve,
initiative, self-control
In a crisis, to kick start a
turnaround, or with problem employees

The more leadership styles you are able to master, the more effective a leader you will be. It's not easy to master multiple styles. Sometimes it means unlearning old habits, especially for "old school" leaders who habitually fall back on Pacesetting and Commanding styles, which negatively affect the work environment. It takes practice and perseverance. Everyone knows it is much more difficult to unlearn an old habit than it is to put a new one in place. But, like Pavlov's dog, the more often you repeat a cause and effect scenario, the more ingrained the response will become and the more likely it is you will have a positive leadership response to a difficult situation.


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