Insights from the Harvard Business Review: How to Decide Leadership Styles

Effective leadership requires adaptability. In today’s dynamic business environment, understanding and mastering various leadership styles is essential to guide an organization to success. Drawing insights from the Harvard Business Review, this article will help you determine which leadership styles are most effective for various situations and how to adapt them.

The Six Types of Leadership Styles

In the 2000 Harvard Business Review article, “Leadership that Gets Results,” Daniel Goleman identified six types of leadership styles. Let’s explore these styles through the lens of Quintave’s Requisite Organization principles and Prevue Assessment insights.

  1. Coercive Leadership Style
    • Characteristics: Top-down decision-making and a strict “do-what-I-say” attitude.
    • Use Case: Effective in crisis situations requiring quick, decisive action.
    • Impact: May yield short-term results but can harm long-term company culture. Aligns with Stratum I-II complexity, where immediate results are prioritized over long-term strategy.
  2. Authoritative Leadership Style
    • Characteristics: Motivates team members by linking their work to broader organizational goals.
    • Use Case: Beneficial during times of change or uncertainty to maintain focus on the organization’s mission.
    • Impact: Helps align individual efforts with organizational goals, resonating with Stratum III-IV, where strategic vision and alignment are crucial.
  3. Pacesetting Leadership Style
    • Characteristics: Maintains high standards and often focuses on failures rather than successes.
    • Use Case: Best for highly motivated and competent teams.
    • Impact: Can create a high-pressure environment leading to employee turnover if overused. Suitable for environments demanding high performance and rapid execution (Stratum III).
  4. Affiliative Leadership Style
    • Characteristics: Emphasizes building strong emotional bonds and fostering a supportive workplace.
    • Use Case: Effective in creating a positive work environment.
    • Impact: While promoting a supportive atmosphere, it may not address performance issues adequately, suitable for Stratum II-III where team cohesion is critical.
  5. Democratic Leadership Style
    • Characteristics: Involves team members in decision-making, fostering a sense of ownership.
    • Use Case: Ideal when diverse input is needed.
    • Impact: Enhances team engagement but may be less effective in crises or with inexperienced teams. Fits Stratum IV, where collaboration and diverse perspectives drive innovation.
  6. Coaching Leadership Style
    • Characteristics: Focuses on individual growth through tailored feedback and support.
    • Use Case: Beneficial during performance evaluations and daily interactions.
    • Impact: Encourages long-term development, aligning with Stratum III-IV where developmental coaching enhances overall capability.

How To Adapt Leadership Style

There is no one-size-fits-all leadership style. Leaders must adjust their style based on the context to enhance leadership outcomes. Here’s how to implement this effectively, inspired by both the Harvard Business Review and Quintave’s managerial leadership practices:

Harvard Business Review
  1. Understand the Situation:
    • Assess both internal and external factors affecting the organization. Use insights from the Requisite Organization framework to determine the complexity level and required leadership style.
  2. Hone Sensitivity:
    • Develop an acute awareness of the leadership styles needed by your employees and the situation. This aligns with the Prevue Assessment’s focus on understanding individual and team dynamics.
  3. Consider Impact:
    • Evaluate how different approaches affect employee performance and organizational dynamics. Emotional intelligence and strategic vision, as emphasized in Quintave’s practices, are key.
  4. Practice Adaptability:
    • Even if you have a preferred style, learn to adapt different styles to suit the situation. Dedicated practice and managerial leadership training can broaden your range.
  5. Engage with Experts:
    • For personalized guidance, consider engaging with experts. Quintave offers Managerial Leadership Practices services designed to create organizational conditions that promote effective work, mutual trust, and accountable leadership.

For more information and to schedule a consultation, please visit our contact page. We are here to support your journey toward business excellence.


For a comprehensive understanding of how to develop effective leadership strategies aligned with the principles of Requisite Organization by Elliot Jaques and insights from Prevue Assessment, visit Quintave Kinerja Mulia.

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