Streetwise — Leadership Styles: Pacesetting

May 10, 2019

From our friends at Eure Consulting:

This week is the third 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 Affiliative and Visionary, this week we’ll focus on the Pacesetting Style.

The Pacesetting Leadership Style is laser-focused on results. Pacesetting leaders have extremely high standards for themselves and their team, and they are constantly pushing to meet those standards. They are very good at meeting, and even beating, deadlines and are known as high performers who always deliver. Pacesetting leaders expect excellence and accept nothing less.

The Pacesetting Style is best suited to leaders of highly competent teams that need little direction. These are the sort of teams that can be told what the goal is and then can formulate on their own how best to get there. The Pacesetting leader excels at pushing teams like these to perform their best and exceed expectations. These leaders are also good with hard-driving sales teams that need to keep the pace of activity high in order to meet difficult sales goals.

When overused, however, the Pacesetting Style quickly loses effectiveness. Leaders are viewed as cold and numbers-focused. By constantly pushing hard, they burn out employees and have a hard time connecting with them on a personal level. They are too focused on results to think about the team’s needs. Overusing the Pacesetting Style can also lead to micromanaging. Eager to complete tasks quickly and competently, the leader often takes on tasks him- or herself to bypass poor performers.

The Pacesetting 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.