Leadership Styles

In this post, we take you through the six distinctive Goleman leadership styles and why they're important to organizational excellence.

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In this post, we take you through the six distinctive Goleman leadership styles and why they’re important to organizational excellence, and how to tap the potential of each (or help others achieve similarly) to take your team’s performance to the highest level.

What are the Goleman Styles of Leadership? 

Six Goleman leadership styles offer insight into a basic truth. The fact that you are the boss doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the ultimate leader. If managers are competent but possess inadequate interpersonal abilities, they are more likely to seek advice from their peers.

The Goleman style of leadership comes in the form of Daniel Goleman, an author, and psychologist, whose work resulted in the development of the six fundamental models of leadership that are based on various elements of emotional intelligence. They include:

1. Coercive Leadership Style

Sometimes called “directive,” also known as “commanding” leadership, it is recommended to employ coercive management when you need to solve a problem quickly and efficiently. For instance, dealing with a challenging employee or “putting out the fire in the workplace.

2. Authoritative Leadership Style

It is referred to by the name of “visionary” management. Authentic leaders provide their teams with a general direction and a goal to reach. However, they should let their team achieve the goal they feel is appropriate.

3. Affiliative Leadership Style

Affiliate leaders are all about people. They aim to create a positive working atmosphere conducive to teamwork, and they are adamant about expressing their appreciation. The problem is that the team never receives any actionable guidance or suggestions and team members feel overwhelmed and lack leadership.

4. Democratic Leadership Style

In a democratic environment (also referred to as “participative” management), each team member is a valuable voice that management truly would like to listen to. The workplaces of these types are generally more flexible and cooperative, but it comes at costs: longer and more frequent meetings to hear everyone’s opinion and discuss ideas.

5. Pacesetting Leadership Style

If you’re a leader with a pace and a walk in the park, you’re walking the walk and speaking the talk every day. You are aware of how important it is to set an example for your employees and set an extremely high standard for the results they create.

6. Coaching Leadership Style

As the name suggests, the focus of coaching leaders is the personal growth and growth of the team rather than merely reaching sales or work-related objectives. They can work one-on-one with their team members to attain the highest level of excellence. This is a great option for those who are willing to improve.

Is Goleman recommending only One Style of Leadership?

In the words of Daniel Goleman, successful leaders don’t stick to one type of leadership. They are well-versed in various styles and know-how and when to switch between them according to their needs.

For instance, if your business were losing customers each day for weeks, It would be advisable for an executive who could coerce you to intervene and take charge of the situation and then implement rapid-acting solutions.

However, when the fire is gone, you’ll need to continue with an attitude of leadership like authoritative leadership that will keep positive relationships with clients by providing clear goals and direction.

How do the Goleman Styles of Leadership Influence The Company’s Culture?

In examining Goleman’s leadership styles, It is clear what strategies create an environment that is positive for the company and which ones weaken it.

Leaders with an authoritative, coaching and democratic, or affiliative, create positive environments.

These types of leadership are more flexible and open to collaboration. They place the employees first and are adamant about their opinion.

People who take the role of a pacesetter or a coercive leader tend to create a negative corporate culture.

Coercive or pacifist leaders are not without their place, but they tend to be too in-depth or individualistic for the daily workplace.

If you’ve been in a hostile workplace, you’re aware of how bad leadership can affect the company’s culture. Even if you love working there and can get along with your colleagues, a bad leader can force you back into the market for a new job.

On the other hand, having a team of positive leaders can make an otherwise boring work experience enjoyable. Leaders can profoundly influence how the workplace functions and the way it feels.

Positive leadership can increase employee satisfaction.

55% of employees think having confidence in and trusting their management is important to their job satisfaction. However, only 43 percent of US employees are confident in their bosses.

A lot can be accomplished to improve trust between employees and leaders, improve overall satisfaction, and ultimately build a more positive environment.

A good leader can increase employee retention

Leadership styles can have an effect that is domino-like in the workplace. Poor leadership can result in bad experiences for employees, leading to a negative culture in the workplace that can lead to poor retention rates for employees.

What exactly are people seeking in the leader? Based on their research, the most frequent issues a leader faces are inadequate communication (62 percent) as well as being too focused on day-to-day problems (55 percent), and not addressing conflicts (44 percent).

Goleman’s study found that successful leaders can recognize self-awareness, emotional regulation, motivation, and social skills. Be clear, honest, and have a clear goal for your company and team to draw and keep the attention of like-minded employees.

Good Leadership Improves Productivity

When you adopt one of the most positive ways of leading, you can inspire employees and keep them aligned with your business’s goal by showing genuine enthusiasm and a commitment to the mission.

If you can keep open communication and guide your team, you assist them in overcoming obstacles quickly so that they can get back to work with confidence.

Good Leadership Drives Revenue

The toxic company culture often results from toxic leadership styles, costing them millions of dollars per year. Your team’s results and performance will increase when the leaders they work with positively affect their lives.

Employees are also more likely to deliver consistent results if they are genuinely committed to their work and are encouraged to be at their highest potential.

What type of Leader are you? Find out by taking a 5-minute assessment


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