Lead with Impact, What’s your leadership style?

Leading with Impact – What’s your Leadership style?

The greatest leaders are those who are able to flex their leadership style according to the situation, people and environment in which he or she is working. Research by Ken Blanchard companies found that 54% of leaders typically use only one ‘leadership style’ compared to just 1% who can flex across a number of different styles.

One of the best leaders I ever worked for had this ability. He was brilliant at listening, commanding, directing, inspiring and motivating those who worked with him. He seemed to know instinctively what was needed and when. Yet talking to him, he explained that this had not come naturally to him, it was something he worked on relentlessly, constantly seeking feedback and adjusting his approach.

If you sometimes struggle with leading your team,  getting heard, influencing stakeholders, engaging the business then there is good news for you. You can develop flexibility in your leadership. These skills and approaches can be developed, learnt and honed.  You too can become a respected, valued and sought after leader. Take a look at the following Leadership framework first developed by Hays McBer.

Leadership Styles Overview:

Back in the 1990s, Hays McBer researched global leaders to find out the behaviour styles that had led to success. They filtered their research into six key leadership approaches or styles. Two of the styles are effective in the short term and four of the styles have significant long term success.

When you read through them, notice which resonate with you and which you need to develop. Remember, the more flexible you are as a leader, the more impact and respect you will achieve from others.

Pace Setting Leadership

As the label suggests, the pace setter does exactly that. He / she has phenomenal energy and drive. They are constantly looking for improvement. Good is never good enough. They want the best and they want it now. They are focused, impatient and set very high standards. They never quite achieve those standards so can be highly critical of themselves and others around them. Their style is heavily focused on delivery and execution. These leaders are fantastic in times of turn around and when a team needs to be re energised and refocused.


This style of leadership is much more interested in fairness and ensuring everyone has their say. The views of many are really important when it comes to decision-­‐making. Team member soften feel respected and listened to by the democratic leader. These leaders are extremely good at navigating the office politics. I was blessed to work for a leader who was brilliant at this. Her style was always to pause, take stock, read the room, recognise who’s views were important and to focus on getting them on side. Of course the downside of this style is a lack of pace. Decisions can take a tremendous amount of time as too many views aresought.


The affiliative leader is one in which harmony is really important.  I can already see this natural preference in my teenage son. Being liked, making others happy, motivating and engaging people and making people feel good seems to run through his veins! I remember when he returned from a cadet camp with a list as long as your arm of new friends he made plus a comment from one of the officers who described him as a ‘natural leader’. Affiliative leaders are driven to look out for others and to view the team’s success. They recognise and reward both individual and team contributions. The downside of this style is a real difficulty in implementing toughdecisions.

Coaching Style

Leaders who have a natural coaching style see the potential in everyone and everything around them. They believe in encouragement, praise and recognition. These leaders are interested in the perspective of others. More than that they ask insightful and often deceptively simple questions to get to the heart of the matter. Coaching leaders never tell – they want others to lean from their mistakes and be proud of their successes. Their mantra is that growth comes from finding the answers from within and the richness of life is in self-discovery. The downside of this style is that sometimes, an employee just needs ananswer!


Okay, now this might not strike you as a successful leadership style. Coercive means force. It’s about direction, push, tell, demand. Now, of course, too much coerciveness creates resistance and de­‐motivation. But in times of crisis, coercive is a critical style of leadership to have in your toolkit. You have to be able to make quick decisions, create direction, purpose, belief and demands of your employees. A leader who can drive and push for performance in a directive way. This is particularly useful when a team, department or business is floundering or performance is way too low.

Visionary Leadership

The final leadership style is that of visionary. Remember in the late 1990s when Apple seemed to have lost its way? They brought back Steve Jobs to run their organisation. Why? Because he was a visionary. He had an instinct about the future. He was innovative, ahead of his time. He was able to create extraordinary products. Did you know Bill Gates, when he founded Microsoft had the following vision: “To see a computer in every home”. Can you imagine that? At a time when computers were housed in enormous rooms with fans to cool them down? That’s a visionary leader someone who can create a ‘why’; provide clarity and direction; a purpose; a motivating place for the future.

If you want to develop your leadership further, here’s a couple of top tips.

Be brave. Speak up. Have an opinion.

Ask questions all the time.

And here’s a question I heard an ex CEO repeatedly ask his team: “How can I  be the best leader you have ever had?” And he worked on it, every time.

Improve your leadership impact: Ask  clearly and act courageously.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *