“Leadership That Gets Results”: A Classic Article from HBR

Here is an excerpt from a classic article written by Daniel Goleman and published in Harvard Business Review (March 2000). To read the complete article, check out others, sign up for email alerts, and obtain subscription information, please click here.

Illustration Credit: Elwood P. Suggins & Associates
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Briefly, “Managers often fail to appreciate how profoundly the organizational climate can influence financial results. It can account for nearly a third of financial performance. Organizational climate, in turn, is influenced by leadership styles — by the way that managers motivate direct reports, gather abnd use information, make decisions, manage change initiatives, and handle crises. There are six basic leadership styles. Each derives from different emotional intelligence competencies, works best in particular situations, and affects the organizational climate in different ways.”

They and their modus operandi are:

1. Coercive: Demands immediate compliance
2. Authoritative: mobilizes people toward a common goal
3. Affiliative: Creates harmony and builds emotional bonds
4. Democratic: Foirges cinsensus through participation
5. Pacesetting: Sets high standards for performance
6. Coaching: Develops people for the future

“Leaders who have mastered four or more — especially authoritative, democratic, affiliative, and coaching styles — have the very best climate ands business performance. And the most effective leaders switch flexibly among the leadership styles as needed. Although that may sound daunting, we witnessed it more often than you might guess, both at large corporations and tiny startups, by seasoned veterans who could explain exactly how and why they lead and by entrepreneurs who claim to lead by gut alone.”

One of my favorite perspectives on leadership is provided by Lao-tse in Tao Te Ching:
“Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves.”

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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

Daniel Goleman is the author of the international bestsellers Emotional Intelligence, Working with Emotional Intelligence, and Social Intelligence, and the co-author of the acclaimed business bestseller Primal Leadership. His latest books are What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters and The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education. He was a science reporter for the New York Times, was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and received the American Psychological Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his media writing. He lives in Massachusetts.

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