The Leadership Blog

Crafting Your Leadership Style

career navigation communication excellence growth growth mindset leadership Apr 07, 2024

Most leaders don’t meet their full potential because they don’t have a clear vision, according to You see a lot of leaders wound up in leadership simply because they excelled in their functional areas. We’ve all seen it happen dozens of times.  John was great in the marketing department and ended up being the supervisor.  Sally knew how to work a spreadsheet and she was promoted to vice president.  Did either of them have a desire to lead?  Or did they just want the promotion to make more money? The latter is what I see happening way too often.  If you’ve been a leader longer than a week, you know it’s hard. 

Forbes did a survey and found eighty-nine percent of companies state they don’t have a strong leadership bench. How have you intentionally crafted your leadership identity?  Today’s blog has tips that can help your leadership style.  Mine is still evolving through my commitment to learning. Every time I put something into practice that I’ve learned it helps me become a better leader.  But I promise you, you won’t become the leader you want to be by default.  It takes a lot of practice.

In 2002, author and psychologist Daniel Goleman identified six emotional leadership styles in his book, “Primal Leadership.” All six are important and we often need to flow from one to the other based on the demand of the moment.  Here's the six styles.


  • Commanding Leadership


This is best used when you need to fix a problem quickly.  It’s best to use this style when you’re putting out a fire or dealing with a difficult employee.


  • Authoritative Leadership


People often refer to this as visionary.  These leaders give their team a general direction and goal to achieve but let them reach that goal whichever way they see as best.


  • Affiliative Leadership


These leaders are all about the people.  They create a positive work environment and give tons of praise.  The downside is the team rarely gets advice or correction, which can leave teams confused and leaderless.


  • Democratic Leadership


Here every team member has a voice that the leader wants to hear.  This leads to a flexible and collaborative workplace.  However, there’s a price to pay for this style.  Often, they have longer, more frequent meetings so everyone’s opinion is heard.


  • Pacesetting Leadership


These leaders walk the walk and talk the talk daily.  You set the example for your team and have high standards.  However, sometimes these leaders can move too quickly, and their teams can’t keep up.  I’m guilty of this sometimes.  While I’ll never ask someone to work harder than I am, I have to realize not everyone has my passion, drive and ambition.  I wish they did.


  • Coaching Leadership


As you would suspect, this type of leader focuses on the personal development of each team member.  It works great for employees who are open to improvement but for those who think they’ve already “arrived” this is where challenges happen.

While you may choose to zig-zag your way around all six styles when the situation warrants, there’s still work we can do as leaders.  What daily practices do you need to do to be the leader you want to be? Below you’ll find a list of suggestions from

  • Take a daily organizational pulse.
  • Reflect at the end of each day.
  • Remove Negative Emotions.
  • Develop Clarity on Most Important Task.
  • Outline Desired End Results.
  • Make Time for Learning.
  • Set Aside Time for Yourself.

Embracing flexibility and self-awareness enables leaders to leverage their strengths while addressing areas for growth, fostering an environment of collaboration, growth, and innovation. By consciously integrating these styles and daily practices into our leadership repertoire, we can cultivate a balanced, effective leadership identity that inspires and empowers those around us.