By Joni Lindquist

“Expand” is the key word here.  We all have developed a natural leadership style that works for us.  It is where we are comfortable and it is easy to lead.  However, different situations may call for you to use a different leadership style in order to be most effective.   Are you able to do this?

Daniel Goleman, in his Harvard Business Review article Leadership Gets Results, identified six different leadership styles.  These styles leverage different emotional intelligence skills and each style is suitable for specific challenges.  It’s a form of situational leadership.  In my experience, some leaders are intuitively able to switch between styles as necessary.  They do it naturally.  For most of us, however, we need to expand our leadership repertoire in a thoughtful, learned process.

The first step is to understand your natural and predominant leadership style.  Here are the Six Leadership styles and the types of situations where they are most useful:

Affiliative – creates harmony and builds teamwork  to motivate during stressful times.

Authoritative– moves people towards a vision when a new direction or new concept is needed.

Coaching – develops others to improve performance when performance isn’t up to standard.

Coercive – demands immediate compliance and very useful during times of crisis or turn-around situations.

Democratic – gets employees to participate when their input and buy-in is critical to success.  Often useful in phases of management change.

Pace-Setting – sets high standards and works well when you need quick results from a motivated, competent and experienced team.

Once you identify your natural style, the next step is to begin to recognize when you are confronted with a situation where a different leadership style is needed. Perhaps you are normally a Pace-Setter leader but you are now heading up a cross-divisional team that is inexperienced and unsure.  You may find better success by using a Coaching or Affiliative style for this project.  Or maybe your natural style is Affiliative, yet you are leading a major change effort and may need to use a more democratic approach to get both key inputs and buy-in; not just keep everything in harmony.

The key is to use the five styles that are not your normal style as needed for the specific challenge you face.

For help building these and other skills, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Joni Lindquist –, or call (913) 345-1881.

Photo credit: ffaalumni / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)