Fast Paced Leadership

Leadership Styles: Pacesetting

Updated for use in our Leading Through COVID series

This is the third week in our six part series about leadership styles. We’ll be using the six Leadership Styles as defined by Daniel Goleman in his book Primal Leadership and we’ll be exploring how each of those different leadership styles can be useful during this new abnormal. Each is rarely used alone and none of them should be used all the time. The goal is to develop your ability to use each style so that you can apply the right leadership style to each situation. Every 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 or in order to recover from a major setback.

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.

This style can be especially detrimental if overused right now. Employees are already stressed out by all of the uncertainty that comes with the pandemic and adding in a hard driving manager doesn’t help. Your people need a little more empathy from you than they normally do so make sure that if you’re using this style, you’re using it sparingly.

Stay tuned for the next installment where we’ll cover the Democratic style.

Eure Consulting