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Effective Leadership Styles

In our earlier blog about effective leadership styles, we shared the work of Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis & Annie McKee from their fabulous book Primal Leadership and their work identified that leaders create resonance or dissonance.

They identified four effective leadership styles, and in this blog, we delve into the detail of these styles.


What Makes Visionary An Effective Leadership Style?

A visionary leadership style connects the people to the organisation. It taps into the unique knowledge, skills, behaviours and values of each person. It inspires the individual to contribute to the overall goals of the organisation.

How To Deploy A Visionary Leadership Style

The clue is in the title here; make it visual or paint a picture for non-visual audiences. Try using the power of storytelling to spark your people's imagination. Consider some of the best leaders who have led you. What did they do, and how did they do it? Visuals such as pictures, videos and prototypes are all great ways to connect people with purpose.

You might also choose a metaphor, take, for example, a vision for an organisation that wishes to exemplify its diversity and inclusion practices. The visionary leader may illustrate this with a piece of a jigsaw and explain how each person doing their part brings together an inclusive and diverse workforce, showing how all the pieces fit into place.


What Makes Coaching An Effective Leadership Style?

A coaching leadership style encourages people to:

  • Self-solve and therefore become more independent.

  • Feel empowered and take ownership of areas of responsibility.

  • Release unknown potential.

All of these have the potential to increase three key areas:

Arrows showing what makes coaching an effective leadership style

This style is highly effective for talent development and, notably, as a leader, growing the future leadership pipeline.

How To Deploy A Coaching Leadership Style

In a blog written by leadership coach Sue Stockdale, she shares the importance of developing a leader coach mindset.

Sue explains, "A leader coach operates with a coaching mindset by asking questions instead of giving answers, supporting employees instead of judging them, and offering feedback rather than attributing blame. By becoming more human, and showing their vulnerability, courage and empathy, they can motivate others through their emotional appeal and build stronger connections with employees."


What Makes Affiliative An Effective Leadership Style?

An affiliative leader brings people together and builds connection. It's an effective leadership style as we know that we humans are hard-wired for connection. Read the work undertaken by KPMG in this Chief Learning Officer's article on the 'Science of Connection at work'.

How To Deploy An Affiliative Leadership Style

Create time and space for teams to connect, focus first on building strong interpersonal relationships, understand what drives yourself and others, and understand what frustrates one another and how to deal with disagreements actively.

A personal and team development tool such as CoreStrengths®, which delivers RQ Relationship Intelligence*, can be a great way to develop connections and appreciate strengths and differences in how you connect as a team.


What Makes Democratic An Effective Leadership Style?

A democratic leader gets input from the people they lead and listens to feedback, good and bad. They can gauge the team's motivation and buy-in and use the power of democracy to get as close to a democratic approach as possible to maintain commitment and motivation from the majority of people. This ensures people feel listened to and that those thoughts are acted upon.

How To Deploy A Democratic Leadership Style

This one is straightforward; ask people! One-to-one and via surveys about staff engagement. The key to success with democratic leadership is authentic listening and the follow on communication. Being open to all feedback is often easier said than done, so developing skills to pause after receiving criticism or developmental feedback help the democratic leader.

The more people know you are open to feedback, the more they'll be comfortable to provide this, so create an environment in which people feel psychologically safe in being open with you.


Goleman et al. (2002) explain that effective leaders use a mix of leadership styles, which combined, drive 'Primal Leadership', the sort of leadership that others admire and those people want to work for. Effective leadership styles are only effective if they are deployed at the right time and for the right reasons.

Develop Effective Leadership Styles

Here at The Leadership Coaches, we work with leaders to hold the mirror up, identify where their leadership strengths lie, and clarify the development areas. We coach to maximise their competence, confidence, and performance and help them achieve the hidden potential within. Please take a look at our credible coaches and read the testimonials here.

We are known for our excellence in leadership coaching. We are also recognised for the work we do with leadership and management teams to help them thrive.

Ready to take your leaders to the next level? Arrange a complimentary call with Zoe to discuss your leadership needs or arrange a couple of complimentary leadership coaching chemistry sessions.

Book A Call With Zoe Today

Call 03450 950 480 or email

*Curious to learn more about CoreStrengths®? Get in touch for a complimentary introduction to this RQ-based, scientifically proven assessment tool.


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