I recently read the book Primal Leadership and found it to be illuminating. I gleaned the following learning with respect to different leadership styles. I also agree with authors that emotional quotient (EQ) is as important as IQ. In fact the higher you go up the organization the more important the EQ.
- Visionary Style – This is the best form of leadership where a vision is built by the leader who inspires followers with an exciting vision for the future. All leaders have vision. Where there is no vision people perish. Most importantly employees need to feel excited to come to work and the only way that can happen is there is something exciting to look forward to. This is where the visionary leader steps in and provides clear direction for the future.
- Coaching Style – Coaching is a very important style for leader to adapt. Leaders are dealers in hope. They have to set the right example and show the way. What makes a superior leader is the ability to show competence in an area of expertise and guide the team through mentoring, coaching and teaching. Coaching is a necessary attribute of every successful leader. The team looks up to the leader who can provide guidance on how to proceed to the desired destination.
- Affiliative Style – This is the ability of the leader to tune into the feelings of others. As the saying goes people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. EQ is developed by relating well to people, giving importance to them, recognizing and rewarding their exploits and providing candid feedback.
- Democratic Style – This is where a leader listens to the team, helps them make decisions and reaches consensus on major decisions. This should be used along with visionary style. Being democratic in all decisions may not work out but it is an excellent people development style.
There are two other styles which the authors say has negative connotations. They are the pace setting style where the leader is very demanding and keeps on pushing the team to the limit. While this may work for some time it is not a desirable one especially if the team is overworked and stressed. The other style which is not desirable is the dictatorial style.
Ultimately leadership is a choice and everyone has the opportunity to showcase leadership in the way they show up and the attitude with which work is delivered.