Leadership styles

Daniel Goleman’s 6 leadership styles are described below.

Which of these is most like you at the moment? Which would you like to try more of?


Creating team harmony

Focus: creating harmony within the team. Connects people, prioritises emotional needs over work needs, gives a lot of praise.

Strengths: builds happy teams, heals rifts, increases individual and team wellbeing.
Challenges: team may not receive actionable advice or correction, causing confusion / lack of focus. May avoid emotionally distressing situations or negative feedback.

Listening and responding

Focus: engaging others in decision-making. Values expertise of the team, actively seeks both the bad and the good news, respects / yields to views of others.

Strengths: secures buy-in, ensures the right expertise is used (not just the leader’s), values every contribution.
Challenges: can result in more listening / discussing than decisions / action, may raise expectation that every contribution will be influential.

Taking charge

Focus: taking a stance, giving clear directions. Sets priorities and plans, issues instructions, expects compliance. Agreement is not required.

Strengths: achieves progress in a crisis and with ‘problem’ people / teams.
Challenges: can seem cold and distant, prioritises plans over people, may disengage people.

Driving towards the goal

Focus: setting goals and achieving results. Sets a personal example of quality and achievement. Values the team’s autonomy to ‘get on with it’, engaging to check on performance/progress.

Strengths: creates energy, provides relatively little guidance / micromanagement, identifies and addresses poor performance, may be hands-on to rescue a situation.
Challenges: requires highly competent team, may lead to staff exhaustion, legitimacy depends partly on the leader’s own performance.

Pointing to the future

Focus: energising the team to achieve organisational goals. Empathic, connecting with others’ reality. Sharing information and explanations. Uses own expertise.

Strengths: makes sense of complex situations, can set new direction, points team towards a motivating goal.
Challenges: may be more focused on purpose and direction than detailed plans for team. Can be harder to motivate more experienced colleagues.

Developing people

Focus: development of the whole person. Asks in detail about work & personal life. Supports people to work towards personal goals.

Strengths: makes people feel valued, builds loyalty, strengthens develops individuals’ personal effectiveness, improves performance where there are skills gaps.
Challenges: may be received as intrusive / micromanaging, less focus on achieving organisational goals.

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