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The Importance Of Knowing Your Leadership Style - HRDQ

The Importance Of Knowing Your Leadership Style

Effective leaders draw out the best performance from their employees by understanding personality style and flexing to meet the needs of individual employees—who may or may not share the same personality style. Employees are motivated by different things: recognition, autonomy, close supervision, or social activities.


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The Importance of Leadership Style

A personality style acts as a lens that shapes how a person sees the world and how the world sees them. It plays a significant role in the job they have and the way they communicate. Having an awareness of your personality style can allow you to communicate better, assess others' needs, and forge productive relationships.

There are four types of leadership styles. Some leaders can encompass more than one type – and people can also have varying degrees of assertiveness and expressiveness within the styles as well. The four types of leadership styles are:

  1. Direct – Direct leaders have high assertiveness and low expressiveness. They lead by taking charge.
  2. Spirited – Spirited leaders have high assertiveness and high expressiveness. They lead by inspiring.
  3. Considerate – Considerate leaders have low assertiveness and high expressiveness. They lead by building group harmony.
  4. Systematic – Systematic leaders have low assertiveness and low expressiveness. They lead by planning carefully.

Personality Style and Leadership

A leader’s ability to first identify these differences and then quickly adapt to address individual needs can be the difference between leadership success and failure. How does personality style relate to effective leadership? Personality style is based on assertiveness and expressiveness. Assertiveness is the degree of effort someone makes to influence others. Expressiveness is the degree of effort people put forth when they reveal their emotions to others.


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When you combine assertiveness and expressiveness, four distinct and different personality styles emerge: Direct, Spirited, Considerate, and Systematic. Hundreds of studies have tried to identify the primary source of effective leadership. Successful and well-rounded leaders generally exhibit four areas of focus, and who better than U.S. presidents to represent successful leaders?

Envisioning the Future = Direct

Leaders possessing this strength influence others by taking risks, and demanding action. Thomas Jefferson was a Direct leader who possessed a high level of assertiveness and low expressiveness. These leaders like to cut to the chase and tell other people “how it is.” Direct leaders possess an exceptional degree of confidence and they are not afraid to take risks to get big results. They excel at envisioning the future and lead by taking action, seeking out promising opportunities, and directing their attention toward the finish line.

Engage Others = Spirited

Spirited leaders have a talent to inspire and motivate others. They engage the people around them, generate excitement, and rally the troops to achieve a common goal. Spirited leaders like Franklin Delano Roosevelt are extremely enthusiastic and have a great ability to persuade others to see their point of view.

Encourage Others = Considerate

Abraham Lincoln was a Considerate leader whose style resulted from a combination of low assertiveness and high expressiveness. He was highly regarded for adding the best and the brightest to his staff and pulling together a team uniquely suited for dealing with the Civil War crisis. Considerate Leaders engage others and they excel at being supportive, active listeners.

Execute Results = Systematic

Leaders with this strength are detail-oriented and use informed decision-making to bring about high levels of performance. Much like George Washington, they are deliberate, accurate, and focused. While they may appear to be controlling, this is only a result of their meticulous nature.


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Four effective presidents, yet four very different personality styles; how is this possible? Effective leaders know how to draw on their natural strengths—and they know how to flex their personality style to meet the needs of others. Leadership is critical to the success or failure of a business.

Assess & Improve Your Own Style

Knowing your leadership style can be a critical first step to improving your abilities. The HRDQ assessment, What's My Leadership Style, helps uncover the personality traits that define your leadership. Our leadership style assessment quickly and accurately identifies a preference for one of the four behavioral leadership styles. You never know when you’ll be called upon to lead, and our What's My Leadership Style can help you unlock your true leadership potential.


click hereLearn more about the HRDQ Style Suite of Assessments!

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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.