Leadership Styles According to Daniel Goleman

Leadership Styles According to Daniel Goleman - The leadership phenomenon refers to the influence of a person (leader) on the rest of the group members. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, leadership is "the knowledge, attitudes…

The leadership phenomenon refers to the influence of a person (leader) on the rest of the group members. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, leadership is "the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors used to influence people to achieve their desired mission."

If you read the following Psychology article you will be able to identify the characteristics of a leader, know the leadership styles according to Daniel Goleman, know who the best leaders are and know some traits that can favor good leadership.

Differences between being a boss and being a leader: leadership models


A boss can take success personally, imposes his position and opinion and often inspires fear. Instead, a leader shares success with his team, listens, generates enthusiasm and inspires to improve. We could say that the leader has a work team that are his followers , while the director has subordinate employees.

Leadership styles according to Daniel Goleman


One of the most interesting contributions to leadership theory has been developed by the well-known American psychologist and Harvard professor, Daniel Goleman. Below are the 6 types of leadership according to Goleman :

1. Coercive leadership

"Do what I say"

The leader orders and commands . Seeks the immediate fulfillment of tasks through precise instructions. No one can question it and does not ask for opinions, it is recommended to be used only when it is essential, since in the long term this style breaks the work environment and is negative for the achievement of the company's objectives, since workers are demotivated, not they collaborate, they stop transmitting ideas for fear of being rejected, etc.

It works well in crisis situations, when immediate reaction is a determining factor, or with problem workers with whom everything else has already failed.

2. Orientative style

"Come with me"

The guiding leader is a visionary ; He has a clear long-term vision and with his enthusiasm he mobilizes people towards that vision. Guiding leadership generates a great commitment to the objectives and strategy of the organization. This style enhances the work environment. The rules for success are put on the table equally for all, giving them the freedom to experiment and innovate.

It generally works well in most situations, although it fails, if the team is made up of experts who have more experience than the leader. Generates a great capacity for motivation.

3. Affiliative style

"People come first"

This leadership style revolves around people . He strives for the relationship between people to be harmonious. Their emotions take precedence over tasks and goals. Employees are free to do their jobs in the way they see fit.

It is a suitable type of leadership if you want to build harmony in the team, improve communication, when the team is new or when you have to motivate them during high stress situations. In contrast, it can give the impression that poor performance is tolerated. It should be combined with other styles, such as the orientation style.

4. Democratic style

" What do you think?"

Workers have a voice and vote in decisions, thus increasing flexibility and responsibility . The participatory leader always seeks decision-making by consensus, people who are in a democratic system tend to be very realistic about what can or cannot be achieved.

This type of business leadership works very well when the leader is unsure about the best direction to take or when he needs to generate fresh ideas to achieve the objectives. This style loses its meaning when employees are not trained or do not have enough information to provide valid opinions.

5. Exemplary style

"Do what I expect without having to tell you "

The leader sets very high performance standards , setting very specific guidelines . The work rules are usually clear to the leader, but he does not explain them clearly, instead he expects people to know what to do. Many employees are burdened by demands for excellence from the leader who sets the tone. Flexibility and responsibility do not exist and work becomes task focused and very routine. If the leader is absent, people feel without direction as they are used to the leader setting the rules.

The exemplary style should be used rarely as it destroys the atmosphere of a team. It can be useful when we have a great expert in the field and we seek to learn by imitating their ways of working.

6. Formative Style

"Try it …"

His main objective of this leadership style according to Goleman is the development of people's talent . They help employees identify their professional strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations, helping to set development goals . These leaders give their employees challenging tasks and are willing to endure short-term failure, as they focus on personal development primarily. It motivates them to take initiative and creates an environment for co-growth. This leadership works well if employees are aware of their weaknesses and want to improve their performance. It makes little sense if, for whatever reason, they are resistant to learning or improving.

Traits that favor good leadership


Do you want to know how to be a good leader? Now that you know the leadership styles according to Goleman, we offer you this list of traits that favor good leadership:

  • Emotional intelligence : we define emotional intelligence as the sensitivity to become aware of the general mood and climate of the group.
  • Self-confidence: not depending on the approval of others.
  • Accept your own limitations : know and respect your own limitations and those of others.
  • Contain and postpone action : prioritize reflection over impulses, postpone decisions. Cultivate a strategic vision.
  • Modesty : learn from the criticism of others.
  • Generosity : apply it especially when there are problems, avoid blaming others.


Who are the best leaders according to Goleman?


Goleman claims that the best leaders don't use just one type of leadership. The efficiency of a leader is in having the ability to flexibly change from one style to another according to circumstances.

In practice, each of the six styles has its own place. Goleman emphasizes that the business climate and situation is in constant motion, therefore a leader must know when to exercise one type of leadership or another, for greater efficiency.

However, we could say that leaders who have mastered four or more styles - especially the orientation, the democratic, the affiliative and the formative - have the best business climate and performance. They promote the development of the skills of professionals and the generation of commitment. On the other hand, we must bear in mind that we can be pleasant and committed, but if we do not achieve the objectives, we will not be leaders.

Even if we don't have people under our care, knowing the different leadership styles can be useful for work groups, groups of friends and even for your personal relationships.

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