1. The Authoritative/Visionary Leadership Style [Visionary]

“Visionary leaders articulate where a group is going, but not how it will get there.” “Primal Leadership” Goleman, Boyatzis, McKee

What is Visionary Leadership?

A visionary leader truly understands the big picture and sets a long-term path for the organization. When applying a visionary leadership style, the long-term vision is also properly communicated and explained to the members of the organization. A great visionary leader manages to communicate and market the vision in such a way that members of the organization feel inspired and understand how they will benefit from its realization. This is often much more difficult than it sounds, especially if there are many layers in the organization where the vision can be misconstrued, diluted, or misunderstood while cascaded downwards (downward communication). How the vision is explained is crucial for successful deployment and implementation of it. Visionary leaders often use powerful metaphors, scenarios of storytelling to ensure the spread and buy-in of the vision.

What are the Pros and Cons of Visionary Leadership?

The Pros of Visionary Leadership

  • There is a clear idea of the overall goal that everyone is working towards
  • Temporary setbacks don’t deter either you or your team from achieving the overall vision
  • A visionary leader can focus the team’s energy on what ultimately matters to make that overarching goal a reality
  • Visionary leaders are proactive and can often foresee challenges
  • Visionary leaders value innovation and creativity and help your team to thrive in these areas
  • The risk-reward trade-off is clear; visionary leaders aren’t afraid to take risks that will push the organization closer to the overall goal
  • Place a high value on acknowledging worker’s achievements and making them feel valuable since their work impacts the organization’s vision
  • Inspire unity and getting everyone on the same page

5 steps to become a Visionary Leader

1. Create a comprehensive visionary statement with a detailed plan of action

Visionary leaders are great at creating vision statements and inspiring team members to buy in. It’s important to sit down with your team to create a comprehensive vision statement so that the organization has adequate direction. A good vision statement should have the following characteristics:

Once the vision statement has been documented, key players within the organization should be identified to lead the charge in executing the key pillars of the vision. So, when applying visionary leadership, you and your team should:

  1. Identify focus areas
  2. Assign time-bound objectives for these areas
  3. Determine the key teams responsible for achieving those objectives
  4. Outline a strategy for tracking performance and periodic revision of the objectives

These steps will help mitigate the all too common risk of the vision being too “fluffy” for actual progress to gain traction. If concrete actions are not put into place, the vision will likely remain a vision and never become reality.

2. Address issues within the organization

Great visionary leaders are often proactive with addressing issues related to the overarching vision before they even materialize. You should get regular updates from mid-level managers to determine the pressing daily issues within the organization and how these issues impact staff morale, productivity, and performance. This doesn’t mean that you should become a micromanager. Instead, you should be aware of what’s happening and only intervene when absolutely necessary. This ensures continued traction towards the vision as well as providing progress on short-term operational matters.

3. Ensure Transparency and Communication

Achieving buy-in is only possible through clear communication and this is one of the strengths of a truly visionary leader. Transparency, however, is not a visionary leader’s strength. You should be as transparent as possible with your team members. In visionary leadership, it is important to be as transparent as possible to further enable buy-in and understanding of the vision.

A good visionary leader will also share the progress towards that vision: Are we getting somewhere? Is the Vision more likely to become reality now than it was six months ago? (The transparency and communication aspects are some of the big differences between visionary leadership and charismatic leadership.

4. Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

Visionary leaders are known for their strong emotional intelligence; it’s one of the things that help them inspire change. Effective leadership requires the ability to understand who people are, why they do what they do and how to inspire them to be the best versions of themselves. Try to set an inspiring vision and sell it to an audience that you neither know nor understand – that would be a certain road to failure.

5. Display Optimism

Optimism defines a visionary leader. Your ability to remain optimistic through all stages of business growth helps determine the longevity of the organization. By the display of confidence and belief in the vision, the leader can affect the likelihood of success by ensuring high motivation among the people who are working on realizing the vision.


Enough to shape a great vision and inspire people so that they can achieve more than they thought possible, but still not extreme enough to totally forget the short-term and more tactical activities of the organization. Look into the future, but never forget where you currently are.

How to be an authoritative/visionary leader:

  • Create a clear vision;
  • Give people a dream they want to reach for;
  • Set a common goal;
  • Let people experiment;
  • Let people take calculated risks;
  • Let people speak their mind;
  • Create a transparent organization;
  • Set clear performance standards;
  • Create a clear reward and recognition system;
  • Review all practices, rules and procedures;
  • Make all practices, rules and procedures be in sync with the vision;
  • Share knowledge openly;
  • Constantly remind people of the big purpose of their work

2. The Coaching Leadership Style

“Coaching focuses on personal development rather than on accomplishing tasks.” “Primal Leadership” Goleman, Boyatzis, McKee

Leaders tend to use the coaching leadership approach least often justifying it with tight deadlines and lack of time. However, this leadership style, used in the right way, has the potential to improve results. Through deep personal conversations focused on employees’ development and their career goals, coaching leaders build rapport and trust with their direct reports, which eventually leads to better company results. 

Generally, leaders tend to forget that they work with humans who have feelings, not with emotionless robots. If more leaders realized the importance of coaching in the workplace, employees would feel appreciated, respected, and happier which in the end would result in lower employee turnover.

Most of all coaching leaders help employees pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses in order to set the right long-term development goals. When employees realize what their strong and weak points are, they, together with their leaders, can conceptualize a suitable career path and make a plan on how to achieve professional objectives. By interconnecting everyday tasks with professional aspirations, coaching leaders increase their employees’ motivation and effectiveness. However, it is only possible when a leader is able to establish deep emotional contact with people.

Leaders using the coaching leadership style tend to make their employees leave their comfort zone by assigning them more challenging tasks. By stretching people’s skills and abilities, leaders enable them to develop even if they make mistakes on the way.

What is Coaching Leadership?

The coaching leadership style is a method of developing team members over time, even if the short-term results drop. This creates engagement, builds relationships, and improves the future output of the team member being coached.

What Are the Elements & Characteristics of Coaching Leadership?


A coach won’t create a successful team if the team doesn’t collaborate. It’s less about maintaining hierarchy and status and more about supporting what’s best for the team.

A key item in collaboration is to spend a lot of time with the people you coach and being clear on the purpose as well as the long-term goal of the coaching approach and how you will accomplish this goal together.

Coaching Mind-set

Helping people become their best selves isn’t a simple task. A coach should think creatively about how to approach the coaching process so that each team member is developed and the team collectively achieves the best result. Having a coaching mindset also requires that the leader believes in his or her capability in having a true impact on another individual. A coaching mindset also means that you as a leader truly and deeply care about the individual being coached.


Scaffolding is a term used in education to describe “a variety of instructional techniques used to move students progressively toward stronger understanding and, ultimately, greater independence in the learning process.” The best coaches know that their guidance should gradually be reduced so that each team member develops a greater sense of autonomy.


Team members won’t know how well or how poorly they’re doing unless they receive feedback. Constructive criticism is necessary for their growth. Coaches know how to use the task behavior component of coaching leadership to appropriately express their feedback. Team members, in turn, are receptive because they know that this feedback will help them improve their skills.


Coaches should be willing to sacrifice their time to motivate team members to hone their skills and become the best versions of themselves. However, team members should also have a high level of self-motivation especially as the coach begins to give them a greater sense of autonomy. It is very difficult to coach an individual who isn’t motivated to improve and grow.

Empathy and trust

Through empathy, the leader can calibrate how to challenge and develop the individual and know when to reduce and increase pressure for instance. Empathy also enables gathering feedback through body language and the personal circumstances of the individual being coached.

What are the Pros and Cons of Coaching Leadership?

Pros of Coaching Leadership

1. People enjoy working with coaching leaders

Coaching leaders are able to create a work environment where people are highly motivated, eager to learn, and willing to collaborate. People actually enjoy being at work which should result in a low employee turnover rate.

2. Coaching leads to clear expectations

With the coaching leadership style, their coach makes expectations clear and guides the team members towards developing the skills needed to accomplish their tasks as well as their long-term goals.

3. Coaching gives an organization a competitive advantage

In essence, people who have a coaching leader often become coaching leaders themselves. This benefits the organization in the long term. A highly skilled workforce gives an organization a competitive advantage.

4. Coaching can identify weaknesses, and transform them into strengths

Coaching leaders are able to quickly identify a team member’s weakness and implement a plan to help that team member transform that weakness into a strength or at least create awareness of the weakness so consequences can be limited.

Cons of Coaching Leadership

1. Coaching requires a lot of time and patience

One approach can be to coach the coaches of the future to create a spreading effect not built on you being the sole coach of the organization. Prioritize who to coach. If you try to do everything at once, you might get zero impact in the end.

Lack of time can ruin the best of intentions – coaching leadership style simply requires a lot of one on one time.

2. Coaching is difficult

Few people are gifted at being effective coaches. It requires confidence, experience, and the ability to give meaningful advice. Those who do it ineffectively threaten the growth of an organization.

3. Coaching is a two-way street

The coaching leadership style will only work if team members are committed to the process. Too much responsibility rests on the leader’s shoulders if they aren’t. There should be a strong commitment to collaboration and self-development early on in the coaching relationship. The person receiving the coaching must be motivated to develop and must be willing to receive feedback – both of these require that prestige can be put to the side. Not agreeing on the purpose and goal of the coaching process means you are set up to fail.

4. Coaching without good chemistry can impact progress

The team and leader should work well together in order for the coaching leadership style to be effective. The organization has to consider personality, experience, and its most pressing needs before deciding who would be the best fit for the role. Did you ever receive negative feedback from a person you do not respect? You probably either got defensive or disregarded that feedback. That is an example of where there is not a good fit for coaching leadership. Most people are also less likely to listen to a person they perceive as rude or disrespectful.

APPROPRIATE USE: IN EDUCATION LEADERSHIP – As a principal working directly with department heads who will then coach their teams.

The coaching leadership style works best with a highly skilled leader and team members that are receptive to change. Coaching leaders can work with employees who are willing to improve their skills so that they can become better and more effective in their roles.

The coaching leadership style also tends to work best either with small teams or with a subset of a larger team where strong personal relationships can be developed. It becomes difficult to implement coaching leadership strategies with large groups since it is virtually impossible for the leader to connect on a deep and personal level with a large number of people due to time constraints.

How to be a coaching leader:

  • Make deep emotional contact with employees;
  • Ask questions;
  • Be genuinely interested;
  • Set up frequent meetings;
  • Have personal conversations with employees;
  • Listen to employees;
  • Set aside time for conversations;
  • Help employees find their strong and weak points;
  • Help employees set up career goals;
  • Link long-term aspirations with daily tasks;
  • Delegate challenging tasks;
  • Make people stretch and their comfort zone;
  • Tolerate short-term failures;
  • Believe in people’s potential.

3. The Affiliative Leadership Style

“Affiliative leaders are masters at building a sense of belonging.” “Leadership – The Power of Emotional Intelligence”, Daniel Goleman

The hallmark of the affiliative leadership style is focusing more on employees’ emotional needs and less on achieving objectives. By building harmony in the workplace and supporting employees during hard times, affiliative leaders are able to establish remarkable loyalty, liaison, and community among people.

By building strong relationships, affiliative leaders always strive to recognize employees as people and make them feel important to create trust and improve communication. It creates a positive team atmosphere that eventually influences company performance.

Surprisingly, affiliative leaders value downtime as they perceive it as a chance to build more emotional capital which could be used in times of pressure. By focusing on the needs and feelings of others, leaders that exemplify the affiliative leadership style strive to make people feel valued and respected. Their enormous empathy is underlying competence that always puts people first.

Leaders who are being affiliative tend to foster risk-taking and innovation as they avoid imposing unnecessary limitations and restrictions. By letting employees decide how to get work done, they support people’s inventiveness and self-belief.

Affiliative leaders adopt a people-first approach and attempt to create and sustain a peaceful work environment.

What is affiliative leadership?

Affiliative leadership is completely focused on the people and relationships in an organization. The leader’s primary task is to ensure harmony and friendship in the workplace.

An affiliative leader focuses on resolving team conflicts so that all team members feel positively connected to each other. Team tensions often prevent organizations from achieving their goals. Affiliative leaders attempt to solve this problem by strengthening relationships and connecting with each team member on an emotional level. Affiliative leaders can be very helpful when a team is in deep crisis or in turmoil in such a way that a new team needs to emerge.

A leader that becomes friends with his or her team and an organization that prioritizes harmony above achieving business goals can be a long-term performance problem.

1. Strong people focus

People are the number one priority in affiliative leadership. Both the group, the individual, and the emotions of the individuals are valued. Strong emotional ties and loyalty between the team members can create opportunities for great performance. A more personal approach is also visible in how rewards and recognition are handed out.

2. A Strong Moral Compass

However, morals and values form the central focus of the affiliative leader. They aren’t a secondary thought once the company’s objectives have been met. Instead, affiliative leaders model moral behavior and expect those they work with to do the same. This heavy focus on morality also helps them exhibit empathy towards their teams.

Additionally, an affiliative leader is ok with displaying his or her own emotions to a higher extent.

3. Good Communication

Affiliative leaders use positive communication to improve team morale and increase the chances of success. An affiliative leader can effectively encourage an employee to rethink behavior through positive communication.

4. Flexibility

Thanks to the high level of trust and communication, affiliative leadership normally brings a large amount of flexibility to organizations as well. This flexibility also means that affiliative teams are more open to change and can handle changing circumstances better than many other teams.

Advantages of Affiliative Leadership

1. Positively communicated feedback helps boost staff morale.

Affiliative leaders don’t dwell on the shortcomings of a team. Instead, they offer positive, yet constructive, feedback to their direct reports. They also recognize team members for the contributions they make to the team, no matter how small.

2. Interpersonal conflict is swiftly addressed

Affiliative leaders try very hard to create a harmonious work environment. Therefore, they tend to have a knack for quickly spotting conflict and doing whatever they can to resolve it peacefully. These leaders don’t wait until conflicts become big issues that threaten the team’s success.

3. Employees feel like the leader cares about their wellbeing

An employee’s well-being is what matters most to an affiliative leader. It’s all about making the team feel appreciated and paying attention to their holistic needs.

4. Employees experience less stress and higher autonomy

The caring environment where everybody’s emotions are accounted for normally results in less stress. The high emotional focus means people will not be pushed as hard, it is as simple as that. Having a trusting and accepting team also means it is easier to ask for help or assistance in times of high pressure, avoiding stress-related problems in the end.

5. Quicker emotional recovery from difficult incidents

A business crisis can take an emotional toll on employees. The encouraging presence of an affiliative leader helps the team better handle the crisis emotionally. Since the team is more able to handle the emotional implications of the incident, they are better able to get back to normal operations quickly so that productivity isn’t severely hampered.

6. Teams are tightly-knit

Affiliative leaders do well at building a sense of camaraderie and collaboration. An affiliative leader’s team is almost like family. Loyalty and trust are very strong in these teams.

APPROPRIATE USE: IN EDUCATION LEADERSHIP – As a principal getting to know the teachers and staff.

Give constructive criticism

It is possible to give positive feedback without ignoring an employee’s shortcomings. It’s important to acknowledge when an employee is underperforming and provide the constructive feedback necessary to get him or her back on track.

Encourage all employees to deal with conflicts in a good way

Conflict resolution shouldn’t rest solely on the affiliative leader’s shoulders. All team members need to be part of resolving conflicts and develop good conflict resolution skills so that the affiliative leader doesn’t have to spend an unreasonable amount of time putting out emotional fires.

Confront all challenges despite how difficult they may seem

All leaders are confronted with difficult challenges. Stay on top of internal and external issues that affect the organization even if they make you uncomfortable. It’s better to confront situations when they arise rather than allow them to fester and grow over time.

Track employee performance and execute appropriate interventions

An underperforming employee shouldn’t be allowed to slip through the cracks. A strategy that you can use is monthly performance evaluations to determine whether employees are effectively meeting their targets and providing high-quality outputs. Those who aren’t should either be provided with mentorship or the tools and resources they need to improve.

How to get more affiliative with your team?

1. Remember birthdays

2. Ask people how they are doing.

3. Start some team meetings by asking people what is new in their life

4. Ask about their families

5. Watch the body language of your team members

How to be an affiliative leader:

  • Create strong personal bonds;
  • See people in employees;
  • Pay attention to people’s needs and feelings;
  • Set aside time for deep conversations;
  • Praise your employees;
  • Support risk-taking;
  • Create resonance and harmony;
  • Don’t worry when downtime happens;
  • Don’t impose strict rules;
  • Give people the freedom;
  • Give generous positive feedback;
  • Build a sense of belonging;
  • Don’t take credit for employees’ work.

4. The Democratic Leadership Style

“A democratic approach works best when the leader is uncertain about what direction to take and needs ideas from able employees.” “Primal Leadership” Goleman, Boyatzis, McKee

Leaders exemplifying the democratic style tend to be great communicators and listeners who truly want to get to know their employees’ standpoint. Even if what they hear is tough, they don’t punish their employees. It creates a safe environment and open communication which leads to honest two-way feedback and better solutions.

The democratic leadership style makes sense when the leader either doesn’t have a vision and needs support and ideas from competent employees or has a vision, but understands that without the employees’ acceptance and their heartfelt support, the vision can’t be accomplished.

A democratic style works great to build commitment and resonance as democratic leaders tend to work as team members, not top-down leaders. They are truly interested and ready to listen to employees’ issues and opinions which makes feedback sessions very effective.

The democratic approach is especially useful in very diverse groups whose members have opposing views, but a leader needs to find a common ground. In such complicated situations, a leader’s ability to attune to people’s needs and make everybody collaborate plays a big role.

APPROPRIATE USE: IN EDUCATION LEADERSHIP The democratic leadership style works well when employees are competent, skilled, and willing to collaborate and participate actively in the whole decision-making process. An example would be building a plan to reach academic achievement goals.

What is Democratic Leadership?

Based on democratic principles, democratic leadership occurs when ideas are freely exchanged within a team. All team members are considered equals and are encouraged to contribute to the decision-making process just as much as the leader him or herself. The Democratic leader gathers input from the whole team and involves them in the decision-making process by facilitating and asking questions. This makes the democratic leadership style a collective style of leadership. The team is highly empowered, but at the end of the day, the democratic leader is still the one making the final decision or approving the decision of the team. The team also has a part in getting democratic leadership to work by actively contributing to and participating in these discussions. This is perhaps why the democratic leadership style works better with highly skilled and experienced workers that can give strong input and contribution. Some definitions of democratic leadership also involve a drive towards consensus, even if the leader has the final say or approval right.

Characteristics of democratic leadership

1. Knows to use the expertise of the team

A leader using the democratic leadership styles knows that he or she does not always know best. Therefore, it is crucial to involve other people with better knowledge in different fields and utilize that competence.

2. Being a good facilitator

The democratic leader should be a facilitator of free-flowing conversations where each team member gets an opportunity to share ideas and opinions.

3. Being respectful with an open mind

Furthermore, the leader needs to be a person with an open mind; there are some ideas the leader may disagree with, but these should still be extracted from the team.

4. The capacity to understand and prioritize among ideas and information

If you are a democratic leader, you also need to have the ability to sort through and identify useful ideas from the flood of ideas emerging during the participative process.

5. No need for autocratic decision-making

A democratic leader also ensures that team members feel involved in decisions affecting them. If you commit to using the democratic leadership style, you will not make decisions on your own unless it is completely necessary.

Pros and Cons of Democratic Leadership?

The Advantages of Democratic Leadership

1. Creativity and innovation are encouraged.

Democratic leaders value the process of generating new ideas. They appreciate that each team member has unique experiences and skills which add value to the creative process. People think of how to increase productivity, make a process a bit easier, how to reduce errors, how to solve customer needs better, new products to build, etc.

2. Collaboration creates strong solutions for complex problems.

There are times when decisions need to be made quickly. However, when time isn’t scarce, the democratic team can come together and find the best solutions to complex problems. By utilizing multiple perspectives, experiences, attitudes, and ideas, the team can most often find robust ideas with limited downsides by working together.

3. Employee engagement is high.

The participative nature of democratic leadership creates a more positive work environment where team members are included. This builds trust and respect among the team members, which in turn makes the work environment even better.

4. Common goals lead to high accountability

A democratic leader involves people in setting the goals and targets of the organization. In the end, this means people will feel that this is their goal and their targets rather than the leaders. This strong feeling of accountability in combination with the high empowerment in democratic leadership normally leads to higher productivity.

7 tips on effective deployment of democratic leadership

1. Start by using your closest team

The core of democratic leadership is participation, so why don’t you start with gathering your team and discussing it with them? Make sure all of you get a general orientation of the democratic leadership style and what it can do for you, and let the discussion start. This will generate ideas, support, inclusion, participation which is a great start to deploying democratic leadership. In the end, this will also generate accountability within the team – they were part of it from the start so they will also be part of any success or failure of this endeavor in the future.

2. High transparency and open communication

Inform your team and organization regularly on current developments, priorities, achievements, etc. Use multiple formats for this, and ensure you have some opportunity for people to ask questions and encourage them to do so. When those questions come, make sure to answer them properly.

People that are regularly updated on how the company is doing and having their leader explain what is going on and what the concerns are will make them feel respected and part of the overall picture – both will motivate them to higher productivity.

3. Put enablers for idea sharing and creativity in place

  • Re-introduce the old suggestion box – perhaps in the shape of an inbox in this digital age
  • Have recurring brainstorming meetings on certain topics. The purpose of the meeting is to generate new ideas, not find reasons why they will not work
  • Provide incentives for patents or great ideas
  • Set up a cross-functional forum for multi-disciplinary idea generation. You will be amazed at what can come out of a session with people from sales, manufacturing, R&D, finance, service, and sourcing for instance.
  • Remove the drama – an idea does not have to be the next big product for the company. All ideas count, even the ones making it easier to book a conference room in your office building

4. Deploy joint target and goal setting processes

  • Have people start out with suggesting their own targets
  • Involve a larger group. If the sales manager is in the room, he or she might make it obvious why production need to increase their targets
  • Ask what it would take to reach a higher target, then find ways together to enable that and remove any barriers and obstacles
  • Work on targets and goals both ways. If a subordinate of yours are over committing, discuss whether the targets should be reduced. It would not be good to only try to push numbers up – after all, the targets should be the right ones, not the highest ones
  • Discuss what reaching a higher target would result in for the team and the organization

5. Inclusion in general, and in the big picture in particular

Make sure people feel included. You will come a long way by deploying tips number one, two, and three above, but do not forget the big picture, be it your long-term vision or strategy. There are different levels of involvement possible here, you and your team need to find out where to draw the line.

  1. A certain group can participate in creating the vision or strategy goal
  2. A larger group can participate in determining how to achieve the vision or goal
  3. An even larger group can participate in executing the “how”

6. Strive for, but don’t require consensus

If you are a democratic leader, consensus is a good thing. Try to establish it when possible, but do not spend too long doing so. In the end, sometimes a delayed decision can be costly and problematic. Just remember to be transparent. Let the team know how you think and why you took the decision you took.

7. Ensure respect and commitment to execution

Do not settle for anything else than a true commitment to decisions in your top team. Even if there is a disagreement and lack of consensus in the team, once the decision has been taken, everybody needs to be committed to the decision and execute as required. In democratic leadership, you get your voice heard.

Where is democratic leadership extra beneficial?

Democratic leadership can be extra useful in businesses with knowledge workers where everyone needs to participate in leading the company in some way. Democratic leadership also facilitates the influx of information and ideas from all directions.

Try to always involve the team in the following cases:

  • When the matter requires additional perspectives and expertise
  • When they are affected by the decision to be made
  • When they are required in executing actions resulting from the decision
  • Succession planning and organizational changes
  • Company financials – budgets, forecasts, etc.
  • Development of new products and services
  • Deployment of strategic projects

How to be a democratic leader:

  • Listen to people’s opinions, thoughts and concerns;
  • Don’t criticize employees’ ideas;
  • Don’t punish for telling the truth;
  • Take time to understand different points of view;
  • Make people involved in the process;
  • Let people set their goals;
  • Build commitment, trust, and respect;
  • Keep morale high;
  • Learn how to manage conflict;
  • Be a team member;
  • Use this style to gain the approval of unpopular decisions.

5. The Pacesetting Leadership Style

“The pacesetting leader holds and exemplifies high standards for performance.” “Primal Leadership” Goleman, Boyatzis, McKee

The unique feature of the pacesetting leadership style is a constant drive for excellence. Pacesetting leaders are obsessed with perfection.

Poor performers who don’t rise to the occasion and stand on the way to greatness are identified and replaced with those who perform better. As pacesetting leaders are always trying to be the best, they can’t tolerate anybody who is lagging and doesn’t meet their standards.

Employees who are constantly hard-pushed by excessive expectations and demands can feel burnout. Particularly, in teams that need more direction, support, and encouragement, a lack of clear guidelines and positive feedback can lead to rising anxiety and plunging morale which ultimately leads to poor performance.

A key prerequisite for making this style work is a team made of highly skilled professionals who are not only competent but motivated and need little or no direction.

The pacesetting leadership style works best in the first stage of the company’s life cycle, in particular in technical fields. In this stage called also entrepreneurial, the leader who is the main engine of driving growth up needs to wear many different hats and be not only a leader but also an expert. Used sparingly and combined with the visionary and affiliative style, the pacesetting leadership style can be an extremely powerful tool for achieving remarkable net results.

What is pacesetting leadership?

Pacesetting leadership is when the leader sets an example of high performance, high pace, and high quality. Team members are expected to follow suit, and the pacesetting leader values results more than anything. This leadership style can be good to reach short-term results, but can be detrimental for employee engagement and motivation in the long run.

What Are the Elements of Pacesetting Leadership?

1.   Self-Motivation

Invariably, a pacesetting leader assumes that employees have the same level of self-motivation and will, therefore, meet the leader’s high-performance standards.

2.   Clearly Communicated Requirements

This leader will begin each project by ensuring that requirements are clearly understood before asking employees to complete their assigned tasks.

3.   Initiative

Leaders use great initiative to get things done as quickly as possible. An employee who isn’t keeping up with the leader’s fast-paced approach may be asked to step aside so that the leader can take over.

4.   Trend-Setting

A pacesetting leader leads by example. This leader sets the trend for others to follow. Those who can’t keep up with the trend are often left at the wayside.

What are the Pros and Cons of Pacesetting Leadership?

Advantages of Pacesetting Leadership


1.         Business goals are quickly achieved.

Strict timelines and emphasis on high-quality output make pacesetting leadership ideal for achieving short-term, time-sensitive organizational goals.

2.         Highlights the competencies of a highly skilled and experienced team.

Pacesetting leaders work best with a highly skilled and experienced team. Such a team already knows how to effectively utilize the competencies of each team member to achieve the best results as quickly as possible.

3.         Issues are swiftly addressed.

This leader requires constant progress updates so that the project’s timeline is kept intact. Although the leader may not have the best approach for resolving the issues, it helps that things aren’t allowed to spiral out of control.

How to Improve Pacesetting Leadership?

APPROPRIATE USE: IN EDUCATION LEADERSHIP Pacesetting leadership is best used for getting quick results from a highly motivated team that needs minimal direction. For example, a 60 day plan to increase ELA proficiency with markers every 14 days.

  • Provide regular performance evaluations so that employees clearly understand where they’re faltering and are provided with opportunities to improve.
  • Display trust in your team by allowing them to provide input and giving them the space they need to complete their jobs in a way that works best for them. To put it simply: empower your team. You can do this and still set the pace, try to compromise here
  • Consistently lead by example. The team should never see you failing to be the trendsetter you’ve portrayed yourself to be.
  • Use pacesetting leadership sparingly and only when it is needed. Pretty much all of the six disadvantages of pacesetting leadership listed above only materialize if pacesetting leadership is applied long term. Don’t do it.
  • Read our articles on the other five styles you should balance pacesetting with. Learning and using them will help you to avoid too much pacesetting.

Never forget that pacesetting leadership should only be used when needed. The entire style is defined to be situational and not behavioral. So, use it when short-term results are extraordinarily important or when you need to push for the completion of something large scale.

Why pacesetting leadership is important

1. Setting an example

2. Focus on excellence

3. Underlining performance and time aspects

Let’s make it short and sweet:

Pacesetting leadership is important since it sets an example for others to follow, focuses on excellence, and underlines the importance of meeting the expectations of your stakeholders.

When to use the pacesetting leadership style?

Use pacesetting leadership:

  • When time urgency is extra high
  • When delivery is more important than normal
  • When team morale is faltering and belief in success is low – show the team that it is possible
  • When the leader needs to set a high-performance example

How to be a pacesetting leader:

  • Always strive for excellence;
  • Be solely focused on your goals;
  • Be an expert who always knows everything;
  • Set very high standards;
  • Exemplify your standards;
  • Don’t communicate openly;
  • Don’t collaborate;
  • Demand perfection from employees;
  • Quickly identify and fire poor performers;
  • Expect people to know what to do without clear guidelines;
  • Don’t let employees take initiative;
  • Give no feedback;
  • Never praise employees;
  • Put constant pressure on people;
  • Be oblivious to your weaknesses;
  • Don’t delegate work;
  • Focus on numbers.

6. The Commanding Leadership Style

“With a motto of “Do it because I say so,” such leaders demand immediate compliance with orders, but don’t bother explaining the reasons behind them.” “Primal Leadership” Goleman, Boyatzis, McKee

The essence of the commanding leadership style is absolute compliance with the leader’s commands. The coercive leaders tend to issue orders without explaining any reasons which are lying behind them. They don’t tolerate any questioning of their decisions and demand from their employees to totally come into line with them.

Coldness, bitterness, and strictness lead to dissonance and kill motivation. Continuously criticized employees who have no idea why their work is important and how it fits into the company’s vision become less committed and are less and less effective.

Despite its all drawbacks, the coercive approach has its advocates. If used reasonably, this style works very well in specific situations such as a business crisis, or a genuine emergency.

Commanding leadership is an ordering, autocratic approach where the leader gives orders, and those orders are followed[2]. Besides orders being followed, commanding leaders also expect 100 percent compliance with rules. This can be good in low complexity work situations, with low skilled workers, or in times of crisis when the time to make decisions is minimal.

What Are the Elements of Commanding Leadership?

There are a few things a leader must do to establish commanding leadership.

1. Clear communication about job roles and functions

2. Implementation of firm rules and boundaries

3. Confidence in knowing how to do the work

A commanding leader should be highly experienced and skilled in the projects, tasks, and work assigned to the team. Furthermore, a commanding leader needs to know the competency and pros and cons of each team member. The experience, knowledge, and skills of the leader help him or her to:

  • Understand everything required for successful completion first-hand
  • Assign tasks to the right team members based on their skill levels and experience to reach the best productivity and task fulfillment
  • Set realistic deadlines and hold each team member accountable for meeting these deadlines
  • Adequately communicate expectations without seeming arrogant

Advantages of Commanding Leadership

1. Clarity on expectations and rules

The hallmark of commanding leadership is clarity of communication.  All team members know what is expected from them and the rewards issued for successful task completion. They also know the consequences of not completing a task successfully within the given timeframe.

2. Clear rules make it easier to maintain safety and adhere to regulations

When deviation from regulations is disastrous, commanding leadership is a good idea.

 3. Inexperienced, unorganized teams get structure.

A commanding leader’s experience can help inexperienced teams performing low complexity tasks get the structure they need.

4. Decisions can be made very fast

Since the commanding leader makes all the decisions, decision-making is very fast.

Here are some tips for being an effective commanding leader.

1. Learn about the tasks and jobs involved in your team.

2. Ensure that all team members clearly understand their roles.

3. Be decisive and do not hesitate to give direct orders

4. Avoid micromanaging

APPROPRIATE USE: IN EDUCATION LEADERSHIP – when there is a discipline or harrassment issue on campus, the leadership should be swift and direct. 

How to be a commanding leader:

  • Require total obedience of employees;
  • Exercise full control over everything;
  • Focus on people’s missteps;
  • Don’t praise employees;
  • Don’t delegate authority;
  • Be cold, intimidating and highly demanding; 
  • Criticize severely;
  • Don’t tell people how their work fits into the company mission;
  • Act forcefully;
  • Stifle employees’ initiative;
  • Make decisions fast;
  • Be oblivious to employees’ feelings and reactions;
  • Fire employees erratically.

All the Goleman leadership styles should be used to different proportions depending on the situation. As a rule, pacesetting and commanding leadership should be used sparingly, and the visionary, democratic, affiliative, and coaching styles should be used regularly and in larger proportions.

All papers are written by ENL (US, UK, AUSTRALIA) writers with vast experience in the field. We perform a quality assessment on all orders before submitting them.

Do you have an urgent order?  We have more than enough writers who will ensure that your order is delivered on time. 

We provide plagiarism reports for all our custom written papers. All papers are written from scratch.

24/7 Customer Support

Contact us anytime, any day, via any means if you need any help. You can use the Live Chat, email, or our provided phone number anytime.

We will not disclose the nature of our services or any information you provide to a third party.

Assignment Help Services
Money-Back Guarantee

Get your money back if your paper is not delivered on time or if your instructions are not followed.

We Guarantee the Best Grades
Assignment Help Services