Leadership_Icon copyDid you have a refreshing great summer? Did you put your achievement driver on hold for a couple of weeks whilst on holiday?

Now everyone’s back, do you feel impatient and driven to make progress – needing the team to make up for the lost time and deliver results?

If this sounds familiar then, counter intuitively, now could be the time to take a step back and review how you’re leading and try something new. This is because an un-harnessed achievement driver, for people in leadership roles, has been proven typically to weaken an organisation or team’s climate and performance.

Using Hay McBer research, Daniel Goleman has shown how a leader’s dominant motive, for example achievement, drives their preferred leadership style. The same research identified six leadership styles and how they influence, positively or negatively, a team’s climate and performance.

All of the leadership styles can be effective in certain conditions but two of them should be used cautiously. In the long-term, the pacesetting and directive or commanding styles more often than not have a negative impact on climate and performance. Leaders with a dominant motive to achieve under low pressure tend to prefer pacesetting and under high-pressure shift to directive.

The directive (or command and control) style seems well understood in companies with people easily identifying the behaviours associated with it. Pacesetting on the other hand is less understood and we often see this style in action in our work. It not only results in ineffective and de-energised teams that almost seem to have given up, but also in burnt-out leaders confused as to why “more push” isn’t resulting in “more performance”.

On the surface pacesetting sounds the perfect style to get performance; after all, it demands high standards, wants to constantly improve, do things faster and asks all the team to do the same. But if not applied in the right circumstances then employees feel pushed relentlessly to achieve. Along with this, pacesetters take the view that people “know what to do and need to get on with it”, which means their team is often left guessing as to what is wanted and it becomes ineffective. Teams can feel as though the boss is “constantly looking over their shoulder” to see if they are doing a good job i.e. to the boss’s high standards. This leads to mistrust and apathy as the leader takes the work off them and does it themselves. The result is a low performance.

Back to where this started and you’re back at work after the holidays. Maybe you know secretly this is you. If so then I know it makes you feel good when you behave like this (because I’m good at this too) but it rarely works out.

So what now?

Well the good news is you’ve taken the biggest step by becoming aware of what you’re doing. While you’ve still got that holiday buzz please read the following articles to get more insight and even better read the book. Then write out how you would normally approach one of your goals and challenge yourself to develop a plan using the different leadership styles. Tell your team your going to be trying something different and ask them for feedback.

Alternatively give red10 a call to help you take a closer look at your own style and how you might lead your team more effectively .

Primal Leadership – Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee

HBR – Leadership That Gets Results by Daniel Goleman

HBR – Leadership Run Amok, The destructive potential of high achievers by Spreier, Fontaine and Malloy