StreetWise — Leadership Styles: Commanding

June 7, 2019

From our friends at Eure Consulting:

This week is the fifth installment of our six part series about leadership styles. We are using the six Leadership Styles as defined by Daniel Goleman in his book Primal Leadership. Each has its pros and cons, each is rarely used alone, and none of them should be used all the time. Different stages of a company’s growth require different styles of leadership. The goal is to develop your ability to use each style so you can apply the right one to each situation. Every other week we will focus on a different style, helping you to understand the style itself and when and where it is needed. We’ve already covered AffiliativeVisionaryPacesetting, and Democratic, this week we’ll focus on the Commanding Style.

The Commanding Leadership Style is all about control. Commanding leaders are forceful, direct, and tough. They are not afraid to make unpopular decisions and will take charge of any situation. Leaders with a Commanding Style are very focused on results, specifically the bottom line, and are willing to do anything to hit their goals. This means that they sometimes roll over people in the process. They tend to manage by intimidation and expect you to do what they ask, no matter what.

Command and control is not a very popular style of leadership these days, but it does have situations where it works well. If a business is in a true crisis and needs a fast turnaround, sometimes the best option is to have someone that is willing to take over and make the tough calls needed. Or if there is an actual emergency, you’ll need a leader who can make quick decisions and deliver orders fast in order to save lives.

The Commanding Style can quickly cause tension though. Leaders who exhibit this style don’t stop to think about the impact that their decision are having on the people at the company. They are too focused on reaching their goal to care what happens to employees along the way. They also don’t take the time to connect employees to the bigger picture. They don’t care if you know why you’re doing something, they just want you to do it.

The Commanding Leadership Style is a dissonant style and as such is best used in small doses and in conjunction with other styles. You can learn about the other five styles in our ongoing series.