What Type of Leader Are You?

“Leadership is the art of getting someone,
to do what you want done, because they want to do it.”
– Dwight Eisenhower

Much scholarly research has gone into to categorising the main leadership ‘types’ – but do you know which one you are? We’ve broken down the main types of leader, based on Dan Goleman’s ‘emotional intelligence’ model, for you to see which one you identify with the most.

What do Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King all have in common? They were all great leaders. Whilst all extremely different in personality and leadership style they were all able to inspire people to take action. There are as many ways to lead, as there are leaders, but luckily for business people, there has been much development in the frameworks that describe the mains ways people lead and the different types of leader.

By understanding these frameworks, you can develop your own approach to leadership, and become a more effective leader as a result. According to Dan Goleman, there are six distinct emotional styles of leading a team:

1. Visionary
2. Coaching
3. Affiliate
4. Democratic
5. Pace-setting
6. Commanding

So what type of leader are you? Are you…

…a Visionary Leader?

The Visionary moves people towards a shared vision, telling them where to go but not how to get there. They motivate, share information, and arm their team with the tools to get ahead. This style is best when a new direction or change is needed. But it can fail when trying to motivate more experienced experts or peers. It’s said that a visionary leader has a powerful impact on the business environment.

…a Coaching Leader?

The Coach helps to build capabilities in their team by consistent mentoring and by connecting individual goals to those of the organisation. This may typically involve interaction beyond the workplace as they helps team members find their strengths, recognise their weaknesses and improve performance. They would typically delegate challenging assignments, demonstrate trust in their team’s ability, and attract loyalty from the team. But don’t overdo it – this style could be mistaken for micro-managing! Done well, this type of leader has a very positive impact on a business.

…an Affiliate Leader?

The Affiiliate focuses on emotional needs over work needs. They work in a very inclusive and collaborative way, connecting people, building relationships and creating harmony within the team and wider business. However, they’re not suited for distressing situations which require taking a tough stand. Yet this style can complement visionary leadership and is particularly effective for healing rifts and getting through stressful situations.  The affiliate believes that people come first and can have a very positive impact on a company and its team culture.

…a Democratic Leader?

The Democrat encourages participation and promotes consensus by listening to and valuing inputs from their team. This style is best used when you need a buy in; or when the leader is uncertain and needs clarity by way of simple inputs from the team. On the flip side it could appear to be a lot of discussion and no action!

…a Pace-setting Leader?

The Pace-setter demands, and often exemplifies, excellence. They are busy setting exciting and challenging goals for their team, and expect that poor performers will ‘pull up their socks’ and deliver the goods. They however rarely coach or guide, preferring to complete a pending task themselves to meet or often be ahead of deadlines – making them not a very effective delegator. This style works well for a highly motivated and competent team; it backfires with a team of mixed capability and can create stress and resentment. This type of leader can often have a negative impact on the team.

…a Commanding Leader?

The Commander, as the name suggests, takes charge, reduces fears to bring about calm and gives clear directions that must be followed. Communication is often one-sided as they expect immediate and total compliance (not agreement) with their team. This style is ideal to handle a crisis when you need rapid action and with problem employees/ situations that do not respond to other means.

But what does a ‘good leader’ do?

“A leader without any followers is just a person taking a walk.”

1. They don’t issue instructions. Instead, where appropriate, they take charge. Taking charge means to take responsibility and direct the steps that the team needs to take to achieve the task/objective.

2. They exude passion and confidence.

3. They are good at motivating people, inspiring people to take their lead and getting the most from existing resources.

4. They have the energy, determination and resilience to overcome obstacles and bring initiative and competitive drive to the team.

5. They recognise the skills of each team member and how they can be best used.

Everyone in the team can be a leader, simply by inspiring the others by their hard work and motivate people through their good humour and enthusiasm. Each of these six leadership styles have pros and cons, and there is no one who is 100% one type alone – most people are a mixture of two or more. What’s more important is how you see yourself as a leader, and how you consciously work to nurture an effective leadership style.

Being a great leader with help from Ripley Training

At Ripley, we run a number of leadership and management courses which help improve your leadership skills. To find out more, why not give us a call on 01423-861-122? Or email us – we’d love to help you!

Blog written by Mike Smith