Leadership research has looked at any number of variables including leadership style. In other words, what do leaders do with others? What is their behaviour? For instance, should leaders be more autocratic or democratic or perhaps more task-oriented versus people-oriented?
Listed below is a table from Daniel Goleman’s article on “Leadership that Gets Results,” as published in the Harvard Business Review (March-April, 2000). It shows the various leadership styles which can be applied across various situations.
|STYLES||MODUS OPERANDI||MESSAGE||EQ COMPETENCIES||WHEN TO USE||IMPACT ON CLIMATE|
|Coercive||Demands immediate compliance||“Do what I tell you”||Drive to achieve, initiative, self-control||In a crisis, to kick start a turnaround, or with problem employees||Negative|
|Authoritative||Mobilises people toward a vision||“Come with me”||Self-confidence, empathy, change catalyst||When change requires new vision, or clear direction is needed||Most strongly positive|
|Affiliative||Creates harmony and builds emotional bonds||“People come first”||Empathy, building relationships, communication||To heal rifts in a team or to motivate people during stress||Positive|
|Democratic||Forgers consensus through participation||“What do you think?”||Collaboration, team leadership, communication||To get buying, consensus, or valuable input||Positive|
|Pacesetting||Sets high standards for performance||“Do as I do now”||Conscientious, drive to achieve, initiative||To get quick results from a highly motivated and competent team||Negative|
|Coaching||Develops people for the future||“Try this”||Developing others, empathy, self-awareness||To help an employee improve performance or develop long-term strengths||Positive|
So, when do you use one style above another? It all depends….
Irrespective, it is important to be authentic, but Professor Rob Goffee states that as a leader, you do have to “conform” enough in order to connect with others including your followers so that you can indeed, change things. But you can’t afford to conform too much or over-do it or else you’ll lose who you are.
So in a sense, in relation to styles, he asserts that we need to become “an authentic chameleon” which is a balancing act between being authentic and being authentic in the various contexts and situations. Yes, it all depends…