Do You Know Your Primary Leadership Style and Which of the Stages of Growth it is Likely to be Most and Least Effective?
In his book, Primal Leadership, Daniel Goleman identified six distinct leadership styles.
It is important to realize that all six styles can be effective.
However, it’s just a matter of understanding how and and when to utilize them.
The chart below illustrates the 7 Stages of Growth from James Fischer’s research for the book,
Navigating the Growth Curve. Fischer identified the influence of complexity based on numbers
of employees as you navigate each of the 7 stages of growth from 1 to 500 employees:
Here Are the Most Effective Primary Leadership Styles for Each Stage:
Stage 1: Start Up – Visionary
Stage 2: Ramp Up – Coaching
Stage 3: Delegation – Coaching
Stage 4: Professional – Coaching
Stage 5: Integration – Democratic
Stage 6: Strategic – Affiliative
Stage 7: Visionary – Visionary
From my experience, I discover many CEOs leading with the Commanding style which is the least effective particularly in stages 4 through 7. The Coaching style is the most effective of all styles and the least used. In fact, it is critical in stages 2, 3 and 4.
By the time a company has grown to over 20 employees (or about to enter that stage), the dynamics have changed dramatically and the CEO has to shift to an enterprise-centric mindset.
The Coaching style is the most effective style to make the shift from leading with the highly directive (Commanding) style. It frequently comes across as “do it because I say so” which tends to be intimidating, causing people to pull-back. Making the shift in style is essential when you are attempting to delegate and let go.
Also, it is no coincidence that Stages 3 and 4 tend to have the highest incidents of CEO burnout which can be prevented by make a shift in your style.
How to Make the Shift to a Coaching Style
First, realize that leadership styles are behaviors and behavior can be learned. A coaching style is all about creating accountability, responsibility, setting and achieving goals, and talent development.
Start now by raising your awareness and noticing how your style may be hindering growth and creating obstacles. It is essential to understand that effectively managing growth means developing a high performing, cohesive team. This requires the leader to develop the skills know as the work of leaders: crafting a vision, building alignment, and championing execution.
Learn More About Optimizing Your Leadership Effectiveness by Developing the Work of Leaders Skills
Click on the following link to see a short (2 1/2 minute) video presentation about the Work of Leaders: