Based on the book, Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, there are 6 styles of leadership styles that every modern manager should know about.
This article aims to gently place a finger on why effective leadership is the need of the hour in modern organizations and how modern leaders can leverage different leadership styles to become better leaders who display a greater sense of emotional intelligence, compassion, understanding and go on a quest to become the best version of themselves.
Practicing leadership brings companies and employees together to achieve one common goal. If you think that definition is too emotional and not tuned to the economics of a business, recent research discovered that the leadership style of management within an organization influenced up to 30% of a company's profitability.
This statistic makes it a significant economic problem as much as it is a human problem. By simply tuning in to the right cues of a person, organizations stand to gain a lot more in terms of resources, time, and money. This article aims to highlight and address this particular plight to help modern leaders understand and practice the art of Leadership effectively.
"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." - Peter Drucker
What is Leadership?
Being a manager rarely qualifies you to be a leader, the primary difference being, Managers act as enablers to their team's success, by providing the resources and guidance, which may include imbibing them with the necessary training and also alleviating any impediments that they might have come across.
However, a leader is someone who does not necessarily possess any influence or authority over the team. A great leader can also be one amongst us, a fellow collaborator who inspires us to follow them through their originality and novelty of ideas. This creativity usually is fuelled by their specific experience of the problem at hand and can save valuable time and resources if their plan of action is implemented.
A leader, in a nutshell, is someone who garners followers under their inspiration and not through a hierarchy.
"Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing." - Tom Peters
Seasoned managers know best, to create and nurture an environment that gives rise to a leader, within the people they manage. Especially in cases of business decision making that more often than not demands a decision to be made with insufficient information at various stages of the hierarchy, it serves the managers better to fester these leaders to take charge of the problems they know best than to micromanage every level of the issue individually. The leader within or outside the group may inspire action, through collective inputs and rumination. This form of communal collaboration often results in a better decision as every contributor's ideas are equally accounted for.
Since we do know the problem at hand, why can't we create more leaders?
Unfortunately, the challenge does not seem to be as simple. If we make a small cross-comparison across different facets of decision making and the leaders that have emerged from it, we can say it's difficult to understand what exactly made them rise to the challenge. What's observable is that every situation creates the kind of leaders it requires. Since we can't be sure of every type of uncertainty we're about to face and be prepared for it beforehand, we can quickly learn about the different ways people evolve to be leaders and the surrounding conditions that nurtured them. Understanding this nuance would give us better insights to imbibe a culture of leadership within every modern organization.
Since we establish how different leaderships emerge out of different circumstances, putting ourselves in the shoes of someone in that specific circumstance, tells us that for anyone who tries to overcome a situation, they estimate the requirements based on the needs and wants of the team. A leader chooses an arsenal of emotional equipment within them to match the wants and obligations of the group. It may be anything from a pat on the back, a breakthrough idea, a huddle to focus on the priority, or a bitter reality check. The leader often demonstrates high emotional intelligence to weigh the pros and cons to decide which motivates their team the best.
If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. - Daniel Goleman
As Daniel Goleman asserted, these six seem to be the most common leadership styles that were demonstrated under the managers he studied.
- Visionary Leadership
- Pace-setting Leadership
- Coercive Leadership
- Democratic Leadership
- Affiliative Leadership
- Commanding Leadership
This style uses its expertise in the subject as the primary motivator to inspire their followers. Their inherent ability to come up with clear a trajectory and articulate a clear vision makes priorities clear to every team member. These style of leaders tend to leave much liberty to their followers to find their means to the task.
This style places a strong emphasis on the quality of performance on the leader and expects its followers to emulate the same. Is handy in pushing a highly motivated team to across a challenging deadline.
The coercive style of leadership uses authority and power as the primary motivation towards people as an influence. The leader here, demands compliance with the power of authority vested in them. It's often attributed to executives who tend to overuse their body and end up hurting the overall employee confidence, as they exert their will.
This style revolves around consensus building and every collaborator having an equal say in the collective decision. The leader fosters team flexibility and ownership of the cause. This method is most useful in trying to find out fresh ideas while might elongate the decision making the timeline as the process tends to be time-consuming.
This is the type of leadership that is often followed by empathetic leaders; this kind of leaders tend to put people at the heart of success and are sensitive to their problems. They prioritize people over goals and creating a harmonious and balanced culture. These leaders are active relationship builders and influencing loyalty within team members.
This style clearly defines the roles to be played by each member in the team along with the respective tasks to be focused on. The leadership may also seek suggestions from the task owners to ensure accountability of ownership. Though the leader decides on the quality of the outcome, the two-way communication makes it an excellent way for everyone to understand the big picture and where their contribution fits.
"The only test of leadership is that somebody follows." - Robert K. Greenleaf
Leadership based on Emotional Intelligence
Amongst the following examples listed thus far, that of a modern leader is what is the need of the current hour in modern organizations. Organizations for long, have displaced investment in HR and People management practices under "Cost Centre" by following an objective focused solely on short-term economic gains. The idea of leadership is to emphasize on the Human part of the business that helps organizations succeed in the long term and short term.
By placing value in the workplace culture, and people needs, they tend to influence loyalty, reduce employee attrition and happier human beings who strive together to create something beautiful.
The critical pillar of Leadership development is self-directed learning, where the leader intentionally wants to strengthen and develop clarity about who they are and what they want to be. The first step towards this process is realizing an active visualization about one's ideal self and the lucidity about your current self to acknowledge the gap between both.
Self directed learning yields most results when, as a leader, you are clear about where you are and where you want to go. This model described below was developed by Richard Boyatiz.
It constitutes Five Discoveries that every leader goes through in a quest to uncover more about themselves. The final goal is to become an Emotionally Intelligent leader at the end of the entire exercise. Daniel Goleman terms this kind of learning as "recursive" where there is no sequence to the order in which these phases unfold, but rather a pattern emerges in an exponential growth curve in learning one step to the next.
- The First Discovery
When you practice new habits over time, they now become a part of your self, similarly, these emotionally intelligent traits you acquire, to become a part of you over time. Once you have uncovered the ideal version of yourself, you feel more motivated to pursue in that direction to make it a reality. This becomes an intrinsic motivation that serves to hold on to the end goal and not waver during the excruciating process of change.
- The Second Discovery
This is similar to staring into a mirror to get a reality check about your current self. This includes an objective outlook about your actions, the way your peers perceive you, and the core of your beliefs. Some of these observations will resemble that of your ideal self, while other's will be strikingly dissimilar. These dissimilarities are the changes that you need to start working on, to meet your perfect self.
- The Third Discovery
To implement these changes, you need to come up with a plan of action or an agenda. This plan should be accommodative of your learning preferences, new things to learn and prioritize building on your strengths.
- The Fourth Discovery
This involves finding the tenacity to put everything you learn new into practice.
- The Fifth Discovery
This may occur at different stages in the process, where you realize the value of a third person's perspective. All successful leaders require an objective outside perspective to tell them their strengths, weaknesses, and help them implement their newly acquired leadership. Goleman says in actuality, these progress from one stage to another are often fueled by a striking realization, followed by an irksome urgency.
What's my leadership style?
To answer this specific question, you might have to explain yourself as to, whether you prefer giving instructions and trust your team to implement, or you like to get your hands dirty and do the work along with them. Often as first-time managers, we might assume a style of leadership that we have experienced in the past, presumably from the people who trusted to lead us before. Once we believe something provides results, we tend to trust it implicitly and repeat the practices enough times for it to constitute "our style."
However, as we have seen, the act of leadership is not a fixed position but a varied one with much-influencing variables that may affect the result including, the temperament, loyalty, and capability of the team, the resources, and liberty provided by the management and more. Though it is ill-advised to categorize yourself into a box, in fact, the smart thing to do is diversify yourself with all the tools within the Goleman leadership style toolset.
A leader is not a job or a title, but often an agent of change. As a change agent, the onus is on you to produce results no matter what the situation is. Flexibility and information become your best friends, so since you're reasonably equipped with the list of tools to know, it's up to you to mix and match to serve your team the best flavor of leadership that suits their needs and brings out the best in them!