5 Effective Leadership Styles and the Case for EI - Dignify
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5 Effective Leadership Styles and the Case for EI

Wednesday, October 18, 2023 - Dignify

One thing that we can all appreciate about leadership is that there is no single answer on how to lead well. There’s no binary, one-size-fits-all solution. One person can lead with a style completely different from their counterpart in the same field and in a similar situation, and both can find a way to be effective. Good leadership can come in so many different forms, but we wanted to focus in on the pros and cons of just five of the most common ones, as explained in this article by Matt Tenney. Let’s see if you can identify any of these as your style!

  • Authoritarian
    • Quick decision-making
    • Low employee input
    • Emphasizes adherence to rules and policies
    • Builds loyalty through control or coercion
  • Participative
    • High employee input on decision-making, slower to move
    • Listens well and communicates transparently
    • High emotional intelligence
    • Builds consensus
  • Delegative
    • Delegates initiatives to employees
    • Builds autonomy and flexibility, low micromanagement
    • Offer high freedom but low guidance/mentoring
    • Builds employee satisfaction
  • Transactional
    • Utilizes traditional managerial methods
    • Produces consistent results and ties employee success to the organization
    • Emphasizes clarity and transparency
    • Rigid and intensive with less value placed on employee input
  • Transitional
    • Visionary, clarity-building, and forward-thinking
    • Inspires and motivates employees
    • Strengthens loyalty and reduces turnover
    • Can slow decision making and de-prioritize short term goals

Maybe you already know what your style of leadership is. But if you don’t, there’s a good method you can use to find it out. One of the best ways you can identify your leadership style is by gathering input directly from your employees about how they view your leadership. You can piece together common themes in what people say to see what category of leadership style you might fall under. On top of that, you’ll be able to identify what is working well and where you might need to adjust your style a bit to accommodate your team. This third-party input will give you a more objective outlook on your style, straight from the people to which it matters most.

We recommend consulting with a third party to walk you through you the process of this kind of assessment. All of us want to be the best leader we can possibly be for our teams, but sometimes, it’s hard to find the time to take a step back and work on our leadership skills. Consultants will help you do just that. Leadership coaches and consultants have proven useful to leaders across all industries and in all different kinds of organizations. Understanding your style of leadership and what you can do to improve it for your team is a critical part of becoming an emotionally intelligent leader.

Emotional intelligence is a skill. In an article for Harvard Business School, Lauren Landry writes that emotional intelligence is defined by self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. She further explains a few benefits that high EI leaders bring to the table:

  • More capable of bringing out the best in their team
  • Better at controlling impulsive responses
  • Make better decisions
  • Build superior employee engagement
  • Resolve conflict better and save time
  • Drive retention

EI isn’t just a skill – it’s a power skill that makes a real difference to your reports and to your organization. After you identify your style of leadership, think about what you could do to develop your EI and work it into how you lead. All great leaders come from great mentors. Consider seeking a leadership coach or a consultant to guide you through the process of discovering your style and building on it through emotional intelligence.

Landry, Lauren. “Why Emotional Intelligence is Important in Leadership” [Article]. 3 April, 2019. Harvard Business School Online. https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/emotional-intelligence-in-leadership [Accessed September 13, 2023]

Tenney, Matt. “The 5 Leadership Styles Most Commonly Utilized” [Article]. Business Leadership Today. https://businessleadershiptoday.com/what-are-the-5-leadership-styles/ [Accessed September 13, 2023]

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