Your Leadership Style Matters


By Terri Norvell

The challenge of running an organization or property full of independent, smart, willing- to-learn people can be a bit overwhelming. After all, many of us jumped into a leadership role without having the benefit of ‘leading’ or ‘managing’ people. We may have witnessed leadership styles and been on the end of ‘being managed’. More than likely we all came away with a definite opinion of what we liked and didn’t like.

Based upon the needs of your organization and team members specific leadership styles works best for each stage of growth. Daniel Goleman in his breakthrough work of Emotional Intelligence identified 6 distinct leadership styles. This knowledge can greatly enhance your e ectiveness.

The goal here is simply to ‘elevate your awareness’ of the different styles and how they interplay with you as a manager and leader in your team today. First, recognize that leaders bring a ‘blend’ of styles to their approach with employees.



Coaching is the primary leadership style used with the diverse generational workforce today. A coaching style helps people identify their strengths and weaknesses and ties these to career opportunities. Coaches are good at delegating – giving employees challenging assignments that stretch them versus simple tasks. A Coaching Style garners greater employee engagement.

However, this style is di cult to use with people who lack motivation or who require excessive direction. Coaching works best with employees who show initiative and want to professionally develop. Most often we are ‘coaching performance up’, yet at times it’s appropriate to ‘coach someone out’.

While it’s the preferred style, Coaching can be a tough style to develop as it takes patience and the ability to ask inquiring questions that allow the employee to think for themselves and solve problems. Coaches facilitate action, they don’t necessarily solve the problems.

Key competencies for this style include developing others, emotional self-awareness and empathy. Emotional self-aware leaders are authentic. Empathetic leaders listen rst before reacting or giving feedback.



Pacesetting leaders expect excellence and exemplify it. Pacesetting leaders, focused on high performance, often think they are coaching when in fact, they are micromanaging.

A Pacesetting style should be used sparingly as it can be unnerving to sta who feel too pushed. Because the Pacesetting leader has a tendency to come across as micromanaging, the staff feel they have to second guess what the leader wants because it’s never ‘good enough’.

The staff won’t feel they can do things ‘their own way’ which is the beginning of the leadership / staff gap. The Pacesetting leader can also tend to make sta feel they only care about production, getting work done – not about the employee.

The more pressure put on people’s results, the more anxiety is created. is continuing pressure can be debilitating. As people shift away from pursuing an inspiring vision, pure survival kicks in. Pressure constricts their innovative thinking.



Democratic leaders focus on building trust and respect by getting sta buy-in. is style works best when the leader is uncertain about what direction to take and needs to solicit ideas from able employees.

Even if a leader has a strong vision, the Democratic Style works well to surface ideas about how to implement that vision or solicit ideas on how to execute on it. is style is good at keeping morale high.

The best communicators are superb listeners and listening is the key strength of a Democratic leader. They are true collaborators – working as a team member rather than top down leaders. A Democratic Style knows how to quell con ict and create a sense of harmony.

A Democratic Style can have its drawbacks. is style can tend to overly rely on endless meetings to nd consensus and runs the risk of letting decisions be put o . is can cause confusion and project a lack of direction for the company which can erode enthusiasm and cause sta members to lose credibility with their leader.



An Affiliative Style tends to value people and their feelings. eir emphasis is on a person’s emotional needs more than tasks and goals. An A liative Style has an open sharing of emotions. is style should be used to heighten team harmony, increase morale, improve communication and repair broken trust.

While this style is limited as a direct driver of performance it has a huge impact on a group’s climate. A liative leaders garner great loyalty and strengthen connections among their sta .

is style should not be used alone for the following reasons: focus on praise can allow poor performers to go unnoticed and an employee may think mediocrity is ok. is style should be used in conjunction with the Visionary Style to be most e ective.



A Visionary leader drives the emotional climate upward and transforms the spirit of the organization. Visionary leaders state a mission, set standards and let people know what behaviors further the group’s goals.

A Visionary leader articulates where they are going, not how they are going to get there. They give people the opportunity to innovate, think and then apply their ideas to reach the vision. People need to know the big picture and how their job ts into that vision in order to give them clarity.

Visionary leaders are better at retaining talented people. ey excel at helping people understand the ‘why’. Visionary leaders understand that distributing knowledge is the secret to success. When Visionary won’t work - if a leader becomes overbearing while calling it visionary.



This is a style that has to be used sparingly and with sound judgment. This is the least effective leadership style as it is sometimes called the ‘coercive approach’. With that said, it does have its place in a company at very specific times and for specific reasons.

This style was used most frequently in the military and is a hold over style from the 20th century when most companies were based on a ‘command and control’ mentality.

It’s a style that can work when there is an urgent need for a turnaround or to unfreeze useless or unproductive business habits. It can be used to literally ‘shock’ people into action. It can be e ective when dealing with problem employees.


In Summary

There is never a one size fits all situations. That’s why it’s critical to use a combination of leadership styles. We must be able to assess each situation and each employee and determine the right style to t at the right time. These styles are akin to having different tools in your tool belt.

Here’s your opportunity for greater impact. As you face di erent situations today, think about which leadership style is most appropriate to garner the results you desire. There is a best choice.

And have patience with yourself as you are practicing each style. Your leadership abilities are cultivated one interaction at a time!


Terri Norvell works with forward-focused property management organizations and supplier partners to grow and achieve extraordinary results. Contact at Terri@Terri- 303-475-5456 or