Leadership Styles in Organizations

Leadership Styles in Different Phases of Team Formation

Leadership Styles in Different Phases of Team Formation
Leadership Styles in Different Phases of Team Formation

Leadership Styles in Organizations

Different types of leadership styles exist in organizations. The nature and culture of an organization specify which leadership style fits the company best. Also goals and targets of a company play important roles in specifying leadership styles. In this article we will analyze six emotional leadership styles and their differences.

Befor to start, it is very important to remind who is a leader, who is a manager and the difference between a leader and a manager.

Leader vs Manager


Leader evokes different things to different people around the world. A leader can be a politician, an explorer or an executive etc. depending on the situation.

In business and project management, a leader is a person who is setting a vision for a group of people or who influences a group towards the achievement of a goal.

Simply put, leaders build inspiring visions and create something new. They have futuristic visions and know how to turn the ideas into success.

They have some skills such as below;

  • Honesty and integrity
  • Confidence
  • Inspiring others
  • Communication
  • Decision making
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Empaty

A good leader must possess most of these skills. Especially good communication and decision making skills are essential for a leader.


In business and project management, a manager is an individual who directs workforce or controls resources of an organization in compliance with rules, principles or values that have been established.

Therefore, a manager coordinates his team members duties and routines with authority and power. Some of the managers possess leadership skills and they tend to be leaders. However most of the managers are not leaders.

In a project, the project manager must carry the skills of a leader because he has to direct and manage his team towards the project goals.

However different types of organizational structures give the project manager different authority and power. For example, in projectized organizations ,the project manager has full authority and power over the resources. On the other hand, in functional organizations role of the project manager is very limited.

Leadership Styles in Organizations

Daniel Goleman, who popularized the notion of Emotional Intelligence, describes six different leadership styles in his book “Primal Leadership” which are visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting and commanding. Each leadership style has strengths and weaknesses depending on the situations.

Four of them: Visionary, Coaching, Affiliative, and Democratic provide positive outcomes. However two styles (Commanding and Pacesetting) may create tension. Therefore  they should only be used in specific situations.

Let’s analyze them in detail.


Visionary leadership style is also known as authoritative style. When an organization needs an new vision or direction, this leadership style can fit the organization best. Visionary leaders are stimulating and impressive. They move people towards the achievement of a goals.


Coaching leadership style helps to connect the peoples goal to the goals of the organization by showing the ways of enhancing their skills and performance. Coaching leaders are empathic and encouraging leaders who make decisions by the receiving feedback from the group. Team members and the leader have positive interactions between .


Affiliative leaders recognise the importance of team work thus they encourage connection and harmony between team members. They solve problems between team members and provide a well workspace.
This leadership can be used when the team needs to be motivated and the trust is brokken.

Leaders who use this style must focus on team members emotion and be optimistic.


The Democratic leadership style focuses on collaboration. Team members provide their decisions but the responsibility of making the final decision rests with the leader. People’s knowledge and skills are decisive and effective in team’s decisions therefore team members must be experienced and skilled.
This leadership style can be ineffective and dangerous in times of crisis, when urgent events demand quick decisions.


Paceseeting management style focuses on performance and ask a lot from the workers. Pacesetting leaders are sure that tasks can be completed better and faster, therefore they expect excellence from their teams.
This style may undercut morale and have destructive effects on people’s motivations.


The commanding leadership style depends on orders and tight control. It tends to be a military style leadership. Commanding leaders take complete control and responsibility of a situation. This approach can have a negative effect on a team because people in democratic countires have control over their lives and area of expertise so they don’t want to be under a very tight control of a manager.
This leadership style may create tension. Therefore it should be used in crises and specific situations.


In this article we discuss six emotional leadership styles which are visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, paceseeting and commanding. These six leadership styles can be used interchangeably depending on the situations. The same leadership style can not be used all the time. The most successfull leaders can move among these styles, adopting the one that corresponds to the needs of the organization . Leadership and management refer different concepts, however they are complementary to each other.

Note that leadership styles is an important concept for the PMP Certification exam. You may encounter a few questions related with different leadership styles in organizations. If you want to add or share anything related with the leadership styles, you can do through the below comments section.

See Also

Difference Between Leadership and Management

Skills Needed For Project Managers

External References


5 Leadership Styles for Effective Management

Leadership Styles – The Wall Street Journal


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