6 Emotional Leadership Styles: What They Are And What You Need To Know

Think about the best boss you’ve ever had. What made them so great? Was their leadership style approachable? Did he or she make you feel excited to come to work? Was there an emphasis placed on trying to find workable solutions? Did he or she listen to other’s opinions? Did they welcome feedback?

Perhaps you couldn’t just identify one of the traits from the questions we posed above. In fact, you may have identified with several or all of them. This would make sense given that there are six emotional leadership styles.

In the book, Primal Leadership, authors identified what the six emotional leadership styles are, how they have an effect on others, as well as the strengths and weaknesses for each style. In this post, we’ll dive deeper into each leadership style, and how you can effectively use each style depending on the situation.


#1: The Visionary Leader


The visionary leader is inspiring. They are great at leading the team, and encouraging team members to take initiative in overcoming challenges or meeting a goal. The most important characteristic of the visionary leader is empathy.

When to implement this style: this leadership style is most effective when your organization is headed in a new direction, or has developed a new vision. Additionally, this style is helpful when you need to manage change. As a result, this leadership style can create the most positive results, so long as you’re not overbearing.


#2: The Coaching Leader


The coaching leader offers a, “Try this” approach. This style aligns the team’s goals and values with the company’s goals. The coaching leader is encouraging, positive, establishes trust and focuses on developing team members for future successes.

When to implement this style: the coaching style is most valuable when there is a team member who needs help goal planning for the long-term, or who may feel lost or uninspired. However, use caution because if this style is practiced on an employee who is not making an effort or needs a lot of feedback, it will not be effective.


#3: The Affiliative Leader


The Affiliative leader believes that people always come first. This style promotes harmony, inclusion and encourages personal connections. This style is great for resolving team conflicts, so long as you possess a strong awareness for other’s emotional needs.

When to implement this style: this style is best for when the team’s trust has been broken, needs a boost, or is struggling.


#4: The Democratic Leader


A democratic leader wants to know what others think. This leadership style emphasizes collaboration, and wants input from the team.

When to implement this style: this style is strongest when you need to get your team on board, or build a general consensus. Just use caution with this style because input needs to come from experienced, motivated team members.


#5: The Pacesetting Leader


A pacesetting leader is focused on excellence, performance and achieving goals. This type of leadership style often means that the leader will jump in to ensure goals are met.

When to implement this style: try pacesetting leadership when you need to quickly achieve results. While this style can be successful, be mindful of the possible negative effects: burnout, exhaustion and turnover.


#6: The Commanding Leader


The commanding leader does what the name implies: “Do what I tell you.” This approach often utilizes control, and threat of disciplinary actions. While this leadership style can work, it is often misused, leading to significant negative effects on the team.

When to implement this style: this leadership style is best used in a crisis, or when you’re needing to implement changes due to issues with employees.


In Closing


Different leadership styles produce different results. The good news is that you can – and should – implement each of these styles depending on the situation you find yourself in. Additionally, anyone can learn how to utilize all six leadership styles.

Still have a question about leadership styles? Want some help in learning how you can develop these emotional leadership skills? Contact us today! We can help, and we specialize in leadership coaching.

By Jeanne Reaves
At Jeanne Reaves Consulting, Jeanne specializes in coaching executives in a variety of industries. As a certified Personality Consultant, Jeanne employs technology and techniques to help her clients understand their executive teams’ unique abilities, maximize their productivity and manage them more effectively to enhance earnings.