The 4 Positive Leadership Styles (and the 2 Most Negative…)

What Makes a Leader?

Harvard Biz ReviewDaniel Goleman’s article “What makes a Leader?” is the single most requested article in the history of the Harvard Business Review.  He looked at what leaders actually do, and what impact these behaviours have on the people around them.

Goleman is the psychologist who introduced the term “Emotional Intelligence” to the field of human behaviour.  In his research at nearly 200 large, global companies, Goleman found that truly effective leaders are distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence. Without it, a person can have first-class training, an incisive mind, and an endless supply of good ideas, but still will not be a great leader.

Emotional Intelligence

The chief components of emotional intelligence are:

  • self-awareness,
  • self-regulation,
  • motivation,
  • empathy, and
  • social skill

The 4 Positive Leadership Styles

  1. Visionary – big vision
  2. Coach – gets best out of others
  3. Affiliate – have a good time
  4. Consensus – brings in many views

The 2 Most Negative Leadership Styles

  1. Pace-setter – leads thru example but believes nobody else is quite as good as them
  2. Command and Control – coercive and bullying


Daniel Goleman Interview…

These 6 styles are described by Daniel Goleman in the interview below.

* What Makes a Leader? Daniel Goleman, 2004


If you liked this post, you will also enjoy the posts What is Leadership? and What is Mentorship?

2 responses to “The 4 Positive Leadership Styles (and the 2 Most Negative…)”

  1. Hi Conor,
    I enjoyed your post for a different purpose than your leadership topic.
    Referring to the emotional intelligence components makes sense for improving business social skills or social capital. I’ve never heard anyone suggest -enhance your empathy as a pre-requisite. It makes sense to consider the perspective of others when researching and thinking of ways to offer genuine value.
    I’ve heard of Daniel Goleman’s background with emotional intelligence. Interesting connection with his famous “What makes a leader” article. Now to show people the value for enhancing those EI abilities before they need them.

    1. I loved a recent line I read in Homo Deus, new book by author of Sapiens: “The greatest scientific discovery was the discovery of ignorance” – it is only when I accept that I don’t know that I can begin to learn… this is my big challenge in teaching leadership… allowing others to imagine that there might be a better way

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