I happened to be on Facebook the other day and saw a comment from a friend talking about the difference between bossy and leadership. I mentioned that there are times that being bossy is appropriate but the trick is to know when. I also mentioned the six leadership styles according to Goleman. The six leadership styles are Commanding, Visionary, Affiliative, Democratic, Pacesetting, and Coaching.
Six Leadership Styles
- Commanding – demands immediate compliance (“Do what I tell you”). To use: in a crisis, to kick start a turnaround, or with problem employee
- Visionary – mobilizes people toward a vision (“Come with me”). To use: when changes require a new vision, or when a clear direction is needed
- Affiliative – creates harmony and builds emotional bonds (“People come first”). To use: to heal rifts in a team or to motivate people during stressful circumstances.
- Democratic – forges consensus through participation (“What do you think?”). To use: to build buy-in or consensus, or to get input from valuable employees.
- Pacesetting – sets high standards for performance (“Do as I do, now”). To use: To get quick results form a highly motivated and competent team.
- Coaching – develops people for the future (“Try this”). To use: to help an employee improve performance or develop long-term strengths.
Goleman, Daniel “Leadership that Gets Results” Harvard Business Review, March-April 2000 p82-83
I think the big problem with a bossy person or the Commanding or Pacesetting leader is met with negative results. A lot of times the “Do what I tell you,” or “Do as I do, now” is followed by “or else” and the or else is never good. This can create fear and resentment in the workplace and make people want to leave their current job. It is often said that people don’t leave their job but they leave their boss. I can totally understand wanting to get away from a person that uses negative styles of leadership most of the time. I think a lot of the television shows and movies that are out today often show the boss as a very one style leader and it’s often the Commanding or Pacesetting style. I think our society has almost come to expect those styles out of a boss. The real trick is to master three or four of these styles and to use them at the appropriate times.
You also don’t want to be a solely Affiliative leader or eventually your workers will take advantage of you and walk all over you.
At Terrapin Adventures we like to bring Goleman’s Leadership styles to light and ask each person which style they find themselves using most often. We then ask them to try and lead through a different style to help show them there is more than one way to lead your team. This is something I think we are helping groups with all the time and if you find yourself in need of some leadership coaching give us a call or fill out an inquiry form.
– Jason Ruby Terrapin Adventures Operations Manager & Team Building Facilitator
Terrapin Adventures is conveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC. Our custom team building programs are designed to improve communication and cohesiveness among your employees.
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