Leadership styles with rbl leadership excellence september 2015 issue
“ Research has found six distinct leadership styles, each spring-
ing from different components of emotional intelligence. The
styles, taken individually, appear to have a direct and unique
impact on the working atmosphere of a company, division, or
team, and in turn, on its financial performance.”
- Daniel Goleman
(Leadership That Gets Results, Harvard Business Review,
In essence, the heart of the leadership challenge that confronts
today’s leaders is learning how to lead in today’s VUCA (volatile,
uncertain, complex and ambiguous) business environment, allied
with the needs to deal with scale and new organisational forms
that often break with the traditional organisational models and
structures within which many have learned their ‘leadership
trade’. So the basic assumption that past experience is the key
for future leadership success is more open to scrutiny than ever.
At Centre for Executive Education (CEE) we believe that
leadership is all about the ability to have impact and influence
on your followers using the right leadership styles so as to engage
them towards achieving your organizational results through
both Ontological Humility and Servant Leadership approaches
blended with elements of social intelligence competencies and
Selecting the Right Leader for your Organization
Leaders come in a variety of colours, style and fashions. Picking
the one you need when you need her is critical
You are the CEO of your organization and must select a new
business leader. To succeed, all you have to do is figure out
what makes a good leader, a debate that has been ongoing for
centuries. You prefer not to wait centuries to make this deci-
sion. You have six reasonable candidates, and your organization
needs leadership now.
You learn that there is a new study (Goleman, 2000) that may
help, in two ways. First, it shows how leadership affects profit-
ability. The equation goes like this: leadership directly affects the
organization’s climate. The quality of the climate accounts for
about one third of profitability. Thus, the decision you make
about the new leader has the potential to have a huge impact
on your bottom line.
Climate is not an amorphous, feel-good word. It is used with
precision as a comprehensive term to describe six important
elements among workers:
• How flexible employees are in solving problems;
• The sense of responsibility employees feel to the organiza-
• The kinds of standards employees have;
• The effectiveness of rewards the organization uses;
• The clarity workers have about the organization’s mission
• How committed employees feel to the common objectives.
Second, the study accesses how each of six leadership styles
affects climate. As good luck sometimes has it, each of the
leadership styles fits with one of your candidates.
The Coercive Leader: This person riles by fear. “My way or
the highway.” The leader takes charge and invites no contrary
opinions. This style has the most detrimental impact on climate
in this study.
The correlation between coercive leadership and climate is
minus, .26, i.e., as coercion increases, quality of climate declines.
But don’t rule out your coercive candidate. This is the leadership
style of choice when a company is in crisis. If your organiza-
tion is in serious trouble, you may want to hire this person.
Remember, though, that once the crisis resolves, coercive can
create its own crisis unless your leader can shift to another style.
The Authoritative Leader: This leader has a powerful ability
to articulate a mission and win people to it with enthusiasm.
He makes a clear path for followers, cutting away confusion that
exists in most organizations. Followers do not work at cross
purposes because a commitment to a common vision is created.
This leadership style has plus, .54 correlation with climate, the
biggest correlation of any leadership style. As authoritative
behaviours increase, so does the equality of the climate. This
style will be particularly effective if your organization needs
a new vision. Before making a final determination, however,
look at the other styles, their impact, and when they work best.
The Affiliation Leader: This leader is a master at establishing
positive relationships. Because the followers really like their
leader, they are loyal, share information, and have high trust,
all of which helps climate. The affiliative leader gives frequent
positive feedback, helping to keep everyone on course. The cor-
relation of this leadership style with climate is plus, .46. Consider
your affiliative candidate if your organization primarily needs
team harmony, improved morale, or if previous events created an
atmosphere of mistrust. The downside of this style is that poor
performance of followers is sometimes tolerated out of loyalty.
The Democratic Leader: This leader focuses on decision
making by winning consensus. With consensus comes intense
commitment to goals, strategies and tactics. Trust is a major
feature of this leadership style as well. The correlation with
climate is a healthy plus, .43. It works particularly well when
the leader is genuinely not sure what to do and has talented
employees who can and will make excellent input. In accessing
your democratic candidate, consider the talent level of direct
reports. If they have had time to grow into their jobs and work
well as a team, the democratic candidate might be a good choice.
Drawbacks of this style include that it works poorly during crisis
that need rapid action.
The Pacesetter: This leader sets high performance standards
for everyone, including himself. He walks the talk. This sounds
29leadership excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 09.2015 Submit your Articles
By Prof. Sattar Bawany
RBL framework to achieve organizational results
Importance Of Leaders With The Right Leadership Styles
30 leadership excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 09.2015Submit your Articles
admirable and has been widely believed to be effective. The
data, however, indicate otherwise, with a minus, .25 correlation
with climate. Why?
Pacesetters tend to have trouble trusting their followers. Their
self-esteem rest on being smarter, faster and more thorough than
everyone else. They unintentionally undermine the efforts and
morale of those around them. Before dismissing your pacesetter
candidate, however, look at the followers. If they are already
highly motivated with strong technical skills, a pacesetter can
be effective because their styles and competence already fit with
the pacesetter’s expectations.
The Coach: This leader develops people. He is able to recog-
nize talent and how best to develop it. He offers developmental
plans, including challenging assignments that push people to
cultivate new skills. The leader can see the future and bring out
the best in followers. This style has a plus, .42 correlation with
climate. It works best when followers are receptive to personal
growth. If your organization is characterized by individuals
who are waiting for retirement, don’t hire the coach candidate.
If your employees are excited about learning, give the coach a
good look. If you hire this candidate, recognize that coaching
is time consuming, meaning that this leader will devote less
time to other activities.
In making your decision, consider the fit between leadership
style and the characteristics of your organization. Even more
important, remember that things change. Take one more look
at your six candidates. Look for flexibility. The very best leaders
are those who have learned how to shift from one leadership style
to another as circumstances demand. If one of your candidates
shows evidence of being able to move smoothly among several
of these six styles, that may tip the balance.
Since leaders lead people, the style with which you do it is
important. It must truly represent you, fit with the situation, the
results you wish to achieve and the people you hope will follow
your lead. In truth, having a particular style is not as essential
to being a leader as having a vision of what could exist, being
committed to the vision, bringing great energy to realising that
vision and having people to support you towards achieving the
organizational results. LE
Importance Of Leaders With The Right Leadership Styles
Prof. Sattar Bawany is the CEO & C-Suite Master Executive Coach of
Centre for Executive Education (CEE Global). CEE offers human capital
management solutions for addressing challenges posed by a multigenerational
workforce including talent management and executive development programs
(executive coaching and leadership development) that help leaders develop
the skills and knowledge to embrace change and catalyse success in today’s
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