The Six Leadership Styles plus 1

Business school leadership courses teach the six leadership styles: Visionary, Coaching, Affiliative, Democratic, Pacesetting and Commanding. This has been the norm ever since Daniel Goleman (widely known as the father of Emotional Intelligence) published these six traits in his bestseller, “Primal Leadership”.

Let’s take a closer look at the six:

  • Visionary-sees the big picture (positive)
  • Coaching-helps people reach their goals (positive)
  • Affiliative-a connector of people (positive)
  • Democratic-works with people sharing value and input (positive)
  • Pacesetting-hits the ground running with or without input from others (negative)
  • Commanding-gives clear directions and can abuse power (negative)

I would like to add a seventh style: Servant Leadership. This trait was coined by Robert Greenleaf in 1970 and is generally discussed outside of the six, if at all. Simply put; “Great Leaders are Servants first.” – Robert Greenleaf. 

Let’s take a closer look at the plus1:

  • Making things happen; all the time (positive)
  • Empowering followers (positive)
  • Focus on work, not credit (positive)
  • It allows you to relate to others through empathy, open communication and new ideas (positive)
  • Being acutely aware, the impact is amazing (positive)
  • Following  up “staying connected” (positive)

Although the six can crossover into Servant Leadership, in my experience teaching leadership, speaking before groups and in talking with leaders from a variety of backgrounds, there seems to be universal agreement among those who practice this philosophy that it is the best way to lead.

Serve first!

Tony Mann is Faculty Lecturer of Graduate Business and  holds an MBA from Aurora University. He also speaks to a variety of groups on the topic of Servant Leadership for business and self (www.myservefirst.com) and can be contacted at Aurora University (amann@aurora.edu)

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