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Workplace Engagement InsightsLatest Employee Engagement NewsLeadershipReview of “Leadership that gets Results” by Daniel Goleman

Review of “Leadership that gets Results” by Daniel Goleman

“The best leaders don’t know just one style of leadership—they’re skilled at several, and have the flexibility to switch between styles as the circumstances dictate.”

 This article by Goleman (known for his work on social and emotional intelligence)discusses how managers often fail to appreciate how organizational climate influences financial results. He suggests that it can account for nearly a third of financial performance.

 He ties organizational climate (or in our terminology, “culture”), to  leadership style: providing a motivating environment for direct reports, gathering and using information, making decisions, managing change initiatives, and handling crises.

 Goleman indicates further that the six basic leadership styles (from new research by consulting firm Hay/McBer) are derived from different emotional intelligence competencies, work best in particular situations, and affect the organizational climate in different ways.

The research identified in the article indicates that leaders with the best results do not rely on only one style; they use most of them in a given week, depending on the circumstance.

The six leadership styles identified are known to many of you:  Leadership that gets Results

  1. Coercive Leaders demandimmediate compliance.
  2. Authoritative Leaders mobilize people toward a vision.
  3. Affiliative Leaders create emotional bonds and harmony.
  4. Democratic Leaders build consensus through participation.
  5. Pacesetting Leaders expect excellence and self-direction.
  6. Coaching Leaders develop people for the future.


New in this research is the implication for action. First, it offers a fine-grained understanding of how different leadership styles affect performance and results. Second, it offers clear guidance on when a manager should switch between them. It also strongly suggests that switching flexibly is well-advised. New, too, is the research’s finding that each leadership style springs from different components of emotional intelligence.

The article concludes that the more styles a leader exhibits, the better. Leaders who have mastered four or more – especially the Authoritative, Democratic, Affiliative, and Coaching styles – have the very best climate (culture) and business performance. The most effective leaders switch flexibly among the leadership styles as needed.

Although this skill may sound challenging to master, it was witnessed in the study and mentioned more often than you might guess. Bothseasoned veterans in large corporations and entrepreneurs in tiny start-ups who claimed to lead by gut alone could explain exactly how and why they lead. These leaders didn’t mechanically match their style to a checklist of situations – they were far more fluid. They are consistentlysensitive to the impact they are having on others and seamlessly adjust their style to get the best results.

 Workplace Engagement Insights recommends this article as valuable reading for those interested in mastering the leadership tools needed to create high performing cultures.

 >> Want to learn more about optimizing your leadership style? Contact us now!

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Written by Dwight Lacey

Dwight Lacey

Dwight is the President at Workplace Engagement Insights. He leads Workplace Engagement Insights with a clear understanding of the latest employee engagement research, survey best practices, and leadership styles that create successful businesses.

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