20 décembre 2009

Leadership's styles in the sense of Daniel Goleman (2/2)

Leadership is key for the business world today. Everyone is looking for leaders. When found then you need to think about how to motivate, to develop and to keep them. A long way to go. Let's go further in the leadership styles ...

Last time we described the 6 leadership styles. We also said that each style can be appropriate for one situation but maybe not for another one. Goleman gave some examples. One of the most traditional is to change the leader after a social plan or a strong transformational program, particularly is your intention is to play on motivation and trust to launch some actions to capture growth and market shares. Some acts are disruptive and despite all your efforts to keep morale up, a kind of “rupture” may happen between the leader and the followers with all the obvious consequences. If we can accept the principle of this, we have had many examples where things moved more positively. Some leaders can operate strong performance actions, important changes and still keep confidence throughout the company. It is more a question of style. In fact, I believe you lose people when you seem inequitable (unfair) and/or too hard. Let’s say too extreme. It is important for a leader to find the right balance and then … to balance!
The affiliative style allows promoting harmony, boosting moral up and solving conflicts within teams and/or between people. Those leaders (at least those with a significant portion of affiliative style because everyone should remember we are a combination of different styles) can connect people to each other. They can strengthen connections and have a positive impact on business and/or climate. Authoritative leaders (or visionary) are by nature inspirational managers (see my post on November 8, sorry in French …). They can explain in full details how, why and when people’s efforts can contribute to the dream they are building … they are basically connecting people to a larger story. This is not about short-term objectives, this is about creating something more ambitious (for example: Steve Jobs when back to Apple rebuilt an area of innovation — iPhone, iPod, iMac, etc. — when the success we know). Those leaders have generally an outstanding impact on business and climate and are the primary profile shareholders are looking around to drive business and make turnarounds, as long as you can also manage them when necessary. Most of the time, those leaders are narcissistic in the sense of Freud’s personalities. They have to be coached / mentored to avoid the bad aspects of their drive. We will come back later on this subject, when we will go through the impact of Freud’s theory on leadership. Coaching style is also crucial in the sense that they help people to develop and improve their performance. They also help people to believe in themselves with the impact we know. You can get a lot more from people when they are motivated, when they believe in their company and when they understand why they are working so hard. Democratic leaders are generally looking for consensus, encouraging people to commit through participation and teamwork. Their impact on business and climate is good, but this style should be associated with another one, like authoritative for example. Then the result should be exceptional. Pacesetting managers are generally obsessed by meeting challenges and exceeding goals. They push hard and want to get to high-quality results. If not combined with other styles, their impact should be limited because they are generally too metric focus, never expressing their emotions (or accepting their teams to have some). They will reject anything that is not structured, logical (in their opinion) and not part of a process (the one in which they believe). Nevertheless they are clever guys, always providing a great value to the company. Finally the coercive style comes up. This is a strange one. Those leaders are strong, excessive, pursuing at any price challenging objectives. They are the ones you call when it is about creating a kick-start urgent change or when you have to manage a very tough situation, one that could break your company. Normally, if the leader is a pure coercive you will have to change him after 12 to 18 months, or he will be totally rejected by the teams. But when associated with authoritative style the impact is much better. People can accept tough leaders when they understand the vision and the goals (what the authoritative can bring on the table).
Having these styles in mind, you can then define the overall objectives you are pursuing like: improving the flexibility of your company, increasing the level of delegations and/or responsibility (providing people with more power as long as they keep accountability), improving the way you motivate and reward people for good or excellent performance, defining a business plan (including the business plan, the business model, the value proposition and the mission statement) with clarity, getting commitment from the team, etc.
Having defined your objectives, you can then access each leader in his capacity to reach these goals. This generally results in a set of ratios and graphics that can position the styles of each leader and the related impact on each objective.
I believe this is a strong and efficient tool to understand better the leaders (or future leaders) who work for you as long as you can combine this analysis with a 360° and of course you own experience based on factual things, projects and deliverables.
Leadership is not a science. This may be an art, a process, a bunch of theories in different areas (economy, management, social sciences, psychology, etc.), but certainly not a science. We should not repeat the mistake we have seen in other areas, where to be recognized you have to be seen as a science!!! No, leadership should stay as it is: a huge area of investigation, the barycentre of different disciplines, always in progress, a domain where academic and conceptual staffs are as important as emotional learning. This is why next time we will cover another theory developed by Goleman and others: emotional intelligence.
As usual please comment in: geraldkarsenti@live.fr