6 Different Leadership Styles


Here is a good and brief summary over at the Wall Street Journal of six different leadership styles, as summarized by Daniel Goleman (author of Emotional Intelligence and Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence).

The six styles are:

1. Visionary
2. Coaching
3. Affiliative
4. Democratic
5. Pacesetting
6. Commanding

According to the article, “The most effective leaders can move among these styles, adopting the one that meets the needs of the moment.” However, some of the styles need to be used very sparingly.

These categories by Goleman reminded me of Tim Elmore's Dorothy's Way presentation from a  Catalyst Labs I attended years ago.

Tim used Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz as a metaphor for the many church leadership styles through the different era's and how leadership style differed through that era.

In the 50's it was a Military style - top-down and demanded loyalty.
In the 60-70's it was the CEO - leading with vision and valued productivity
In the 80's it was the Entrepreneur - desiring to be "cutting-edge" and valuing innovation
In the 90's it was the Coach - deploy the talent of players and valuing teamwork
NOW - is the Dorothy Way...a leadership style called Poet/Gardner

The leadership style of today leads in an age of complexity and doesn't pretend to have all the answers. They are learning, reading and synthesizing information in order to lead (that is the Poet part) and they are most interested in growing people under their care (that is the Gardner part). This style is a leader that asks questions and listens.

Elmore did suggest, just as Goleman, that although a leader will conform to a primary leadership style, there will be times though when the leader will need to move between these many styles depending on the situation and leadership context. 

What is your primary leadership style?