6 Authentic Leadership Styles Designed To Promote Emotional Intelligence

By Sahar Paz, CEO of Own Your Voice Strategy Firm

‘I want to walk in there and talk like a man,”  this statement or many that are very similar are what I often hear with my executive coaching clients. 

I respect their request knowing the exercise of roleplaying a conversation rooted in masculine energy will reveal to her that she doesn’t want to talk like a man, she wants to own her voice as an impactful leader in a way that feels authentic to her values.

The most effective leaders understand how to balance authenticity while being empathetic to the needs of the person in front of them – slightly changing how they show up in conversations to manage varied professional relationships.  

The most impactful leaders have one thing in common – empathy – and lucky for us ladies, it’s an awareness that we embrace naturally.

As you navigate owning your voice in your career, don’t feel the pressure of acting or sounding like anyone else but the most emotionally intelligent version of yourself. 

I’ll use one of the most emotionally intelligent leaders of our time as an example – Simone Biles.  Her recent decision to step down for mental health reasons, then return to win the bronze for the balance beam, is a reflection of her self-awareness and self-regulation – the foundation of emotional intelligence.

She had to balance a lot of thoughts, from reputation and team morale to workplace expectations – not to mention being an entertainer on top of all of that.  She chose to play chess, not checkers. Instead of jumping through hoops to keep others pleased, she stayed true to her values, trusted her team, and took a step back. She prevented further injuries and promoted her teammates to rise to the occasion – and they did by taking home the silver.

The success of the moment isn’t just that she spoke up, it’s the series of effective conversations she had to have with her coaches, teammates, sponsors, parents, and even her boyfriend. Each person not only has a different relationship with Simone, they also are different human beings that process and motivate in different ways. 

Let’s bring this back to you understanding your voice as an emotionally intelligent leader.  

Before I walk you through the different leadership styles, I want to start with two simple ways you can boost your emotional intelligence, even if you are the most empathetic soul. 

One: understand your level of empathy, and how it drives or drains you.  How empathetic are you? Can you easily relate to folks without taking in their pain too deeply, or moving into fix it mode? Are you able to listen and empower, versus absorb the problem? Sustainability as a leader is important, dial into your own empathy and what it leads you to do. 

Two: ask for feedback to grow yourself-awareness, not to find reasons to be hard on yourself. Ask from people in your personal and professional life for feedback about your communication style, your ability to collaborate, or any other exchanges that can reveal to you more about yourself. 

Getting feedback will be invaluable to you as you begin to blend different leadership styles into your day-to-day.  It’s important to remember that identifying how to tweak your approach with different people takes time – stay patient and avoid the echo chamber of your mind by being mindful of how much you’re assuming. 

Women take up 29% of leadership roles in North America, what we bring to the workplace is our approach and our ability to communicate, connect, and cultivate trust.  Empower your voice by becoming an emotionally intelligent leader. 

Coercive leadership is great during times of disaster, because it’s a do as I say approach that creates prompt turnaround times.  If you’ve got a tight deadline, this style of leadership can be effective if it’s communicated with phrases that compliment the person versus make them feel like a servant.

Authoritative leadership presents the overall goal, with a come with me attitude. A great style of leadership when you need to develop buy-in and empower others to take ownership. This style of leadership increased in popularity with Millennials and also supports the rise of freelance workers. 

Affiliative leadership puts team harmony first by prioritizing people. This is great in times when team morale needs a boost, but it can lead to poor performance because it is a low-advice style of leadership. Affiliating in doses is best, and if you’re a people pleaser, you want to look out for how many decisions you make to keep the peace. 

Democratic leaders give people a voice and have a great ability to listen. This is wonderful when generating ideas is necessary, however it can lead to endless meetings that focus on the big picture and confusion when the meetings never morph into actionable steps. 

Pacesetting leaders have a high performance standard and they lead by example. This style of leadership has a positive effect on self motivated folks, otherwise it can create doubt, resentment and deplete a collaborative culture. 

Coach style leaders guide personal development, and are most effective with people who want to change. They blend the big picture, with pointing the person in the right direction, and ultimately empowering the person to do it themselves. 

As you read through these archetypes, you can easily see how one style of leadership over time isn’t the most effective, it’s a matter of trusting your intuition and empathy to empower your voice. 

The pandemic woke us up to our values and how we really want to spend our time, which means people are checking in with themselves and their feelings like they never have before – they are ready for a leader like you. Now is your time to change the leadership status quo by owning your voice. 

Sahar Paz is a communications strategist, author, and CEO of Own Your Voice Strategy Firm which provides comprehensive branding services for clients ranging from upcoming social thought leaders to globally recognized healthcare innovators. Her mission is not only to ensure that individuals and organizations can accurately convey their messaging, but that they also give people who have no voice or an underrepresented voice a platform to be heard. Inspired by her experiences as a woman in business and from years of non-profit work, she seeks to combine emotional intelligence and DEI initiatives, with OYV’s services to ensure that organizations and individuals have all the tools strategically and socially to maximize their potential. Learn more at saharpaz.com.

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