What is Your Leadership Style


Style is everything, and we’re not talking fashion. PM trainer Susanne Madsen shows you six different leadership styles.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!


In Review: What is Your Leadership Style?

There are many ways to lead, but Susanne noted six different leadership styles that were written about by bestselling author Daniel Goleman.They are as follows:

  1. Authoritative: creating vision
  2. Coaching: unlocking potential
  3. Democratic: sharing the problem
  4. Affiliative: seeks harmony
  5. Pace-setting: showing the standard
  6. Commanding: giving direction

She asked which style you used most often, because you’re most likely shifting from one to the other. It’s best to know them all, be able to identify the ones you’re using and switch them up as needed with the problem at hand.

Pro-Tip: Leadership is the core responsibility of any project leader, so there’s not too much you can know about it, which is why it’s suggested to read our recent blog post on Top 10 Tips for Project Leaders and apply them.

Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Susanne Madsen. Welcome to this whiteboard session, What is your Leadership Style? Today, I will share six different leadership styles with you as written about by Daniel Goleman.

The first style is the authoritative leader. The authoritative leader is really good at setting the vision and painting an appealing picture of where we’re going. The authoritative leader will not tell you how to get there but will be inspiring you to follow. So he or she will say, “Come with me. Look at where we’re going.

“The next style is the coaching style. When we coach someone we don’t tell them what to do but we help people to find their own answers. A coaching style is really good to help the individual to unlock their potential. Some of the questions that we may ask in a coaching style is, “Well, what are you trying to achieve? How might you get there? What are the first steps you need to take?”

The third style is the democratic style. We probably all understand what the word democratic means. It means that we share the problem space. And in that sense a democratic leader will almost take a step back and denounce their leadership role. They will ask people what they feel is the right thing to do. But it has been proven that decision making by consensus is not the most effective way of finding a good decision. So bear that in mind.

The fourth style is the affiliative style. This style is all about harmony. It’s a very heart-based style. People come first. You might say, “Well, when is that ever a good idea?” But actually if you’re working with a team that feels a bit unsettled, maybe because two organizations have merged or something else happened. In that case people may not be ready to focus on the job because they’re too much in their emotional part of the brain. In that case the affiliative style can be really effective.The fifth style is the pace-setting style. As a pace-setter, I set the standard. I roll up my sleeves and I show how the job is to be done. So I’m not afraid of getting in there and really working with my team to show them how it must be done. In the long run that can be quite an exhausting style because I’m here as a leader, I do it, and I expect you to follow. And it doesn’t leave a lot of room for the individual to actually fill in the blanks.

The last style is the commanding style. This is the old-fashioned command and control management style where it is my way or no way. You do as I tell you. This style, as you can probably imagine, is not very effective in the long run because it doesn’t leave a lot of room for the individual to perform well and is not very empowering. But there is a time and a place where it is appropriate. For instance, in a crisis situation when the building is burning, I give you direction to get out. But we shouldn’t abuse this style because we think there is always a crisis going on.

So my question to you now is, which of these six styles do you tend to use most of the time? There is a time and a place for each of them and it is good to mix them up. But it has been proven that the authoritative style and the coaching style are the most effective in the long run. The authoritative style you set the vision you inspire people to follow, and the coaching style you help them to find the answers for themselves and to reach that vision.

Thank you for watching. Please visit us again at projectmanager.com.

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