What Type of Leader Are You?

In 2000, Daniel Goleman conducted a seminal study with over 3000 managers that clarified six distinct leadership styles and traits.

Each style has its positives and negatives. Which one describes you?


  • Visionary — mobilize people toward a vision.
    Works best when a clear direction or change is needed.
    Creates the most positive climate.
  • Coaching — develop people for the future.
    Works best when helping people and building long-term strength.
    Creates a positive climate.
  • Affiliative — create emotional bonds and harmony.
    Works best to heal rifts in teams or motivate people in stressful times.
    Creates a positive climate.
  • Democratic — build consensus through participation.
    Works best to create consensus or get input.
    Creates a positive climate.
  • Pacesetting — expect excellence and self-direction.
    Works best to get quick results from a highly competent team.
    Creates a negative climate.
  • Commanding — demand immediate compliance.
    Works best in crisis or with problematic people.
    Creates a negative climate.

The most important aspect of this breakdown is that since each style fits a different situation, a good leader needs to be able to switch between them when the context requires. A leadership style is thus a tool, not personality trait.

Leaders who have mastered four or more—especially the authoritative, democratic, affiliative, and coaching styles—have the very best climate and business performance.

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