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Six styles of emotional leadership

 In 2006, the book "Primal Leadership" was published, in which authors Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyazis, and Annie McKee identified six styles of emotional leadership. Each of them affects people's emotions in different ways and has its strengths and weaknesses in different situations. Goleman argues that no style should be used all the time; it is important to vary them.

Let's consider each style separately.

Six styles of emotional leadership



1. Visionary

People who use a visionary leadership style can inspire people and guide them towards a common goal. They tell their team members where to go (but not exactly how to go about it) and allow them to find their way to achieve the goal. The main character trait of these leaders is empathy.


When to use

This leadership style is appropriate when the company needs a new vision for the future and new directions. However, if you are working with highly qualified people who are more experienced than you, then a democratic style is better suited.


How to develop

To develop this style, focus on the following skills:

  • Empathy
  • Self-confidence
  • Presentation abilities


2. Coach

This style combines the personal goals of people with the goals of the company. Coaches are empathic and motivating, focusing on developing team members for future success.

With this approach, the leader has frequent heartfelt conversations with his subordinates who are not doing their job very effectively. He concentrates his people not only on professional but also on life goals.


When to use

The coaching-style should be applied whenever you notice a team member lagging. Such people need a mentor who can help with advice and example.


How to develop

You need to know your people as best as you can. When you understand their values, needs, and dreams, you can find the most effective approaches to them.


3. Affiliate leader

These leaders promote harmony in the community. This style brings people together, encourages collaboration, and resolves the conflict. To use this style, you need to learn to appreciate other people's feelings and emotions.


When to use

Use an affiliate style whenever you feel the tension in the team, when trust has been eroded, or when the team needs additional motivation.


How to develop

Learn how to:

  • Resolve conflicts
  • Be optimistic
  • Manage your own and others' emotions


4. Democratic leader

These leaders focus on collaboration. They listen and give freedom more than they lead, and they are actively looking for ways to improve teamwork efficiency.


How to use

First, let's figure out when you don't need to use a democratic style: when the people of your team are inexperienced, incompetent, and insufficiently informed. Accordingly, this style should be used with qualified people. You just need to not interfere with them doing the work that they do great.


How to develop

You must learn to listen to your subordinates and offer your help when needed. Involve your team in problem-solving and decision making.


5. Lead Leader

Such a leader focuses on productivity and achieving goals. They expect excellent performance from their team and are often involved in the process.

Leading leaders do not indulge those who do not perform well and do not know how to work with them. This style of leadership may lead to exhaustion and emotional burnout of crew members.


How to use

Use this style only when you need quick results.


How to develop

Teach your team to follow Six Sigma and Lean concepts.



6. Commanding leader

These leaders take an autocratic approach. It is based on orders, threats of punishment, and tight control.


How to use

This style of leadership is most effective in times of crisis, rapidly changing conditions, and problems with team members.


How to develop

Be careful with this style, it is often misunderstood and misused. Build your stress tolerance and learn to make tough, unpopular decisions.

We wish you good luck!

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