HR Saskatchewan - Spring/Summer 2016 - (Page 8)
Leadership Styles Impact on Climate
Helping or Hindering Engagement?
By Brent Pederson
e've all heard the phrase,
"the leader sets the tone,"
but would you have guessed
the leader sets 70 per cent
of the tone? Joint research from Hay Group and
Harvard University confirms that the leadership
styles deployed by leaders account for up to 70
per cent of the variance in employee engagement,
which in turn accounts for up to 30 per cent of
the variance in operational and financial results.
Clearly the leader does indeed set the tone - and
significantly impacts the results!
Hay Group. All Rights Reserved
Let's first understand what is meant by leadership style, then further explore the impact of various
styles on engagement.
© 2015 Hay Group. All Rights Reserved
Source: Hay Group Top
1998 - 2007
8 Spring/Summer 2016 * www.sahrp.ca
The table below summarizes the results from
another Hay Group/Harvard study that spanned
nine years, 11 countries, and 120 senior leadership teams across all sectors. The leaders of high
performing teams had a leadership styles profile shown by the
Leadership Styles of Various Team Leaders
green bars (high on participative, visionary, and coaching).
The leaders of teams that strug90
gled had a leadership style pro77
file shown by the red bars (high
on directive and pacesetting).
Not surprisingly, the long
term over-reliance on directive
and pacesetting is correlated to
low levels of employee engagement and high levels of turnover.
To be at their best, leaders
need to push/challenge/stretch
themselves to continually improve. If I lead an area
I once worked in, a common trap is to be overly
High performing leaders master four or more
directive and pacesetting because I know the work,
leadership styles and learn to use the right tool for
I have the answers, and I was likely promoted at
the job. They also enjoy higher levels of retention,
least in part because I was good at doing that work
engagement and results to show for their efforts.
- but the leadership role requires me to embrace a
Remember, local leadership is high among the
different role! Some get it, and some don't.
primary reasons people stay in jobs, and ironically
More common is for a leader (or entire sector)
is also high among the primary reasons people
leave jobs, consistently ranking higher than pay
to attempt to rationalize high levels of directive
in every study.
and pacesetting by saying any of the following:
In every organization, attracting and retaining
we're heavily regulated, we're process-driven,
the talent needed to realize your strategy will be
and there's only one way to do it. Or my personal
critical. Some will be able to do this better than
favorite: why waste time if I already know how it
should be done and I can just tell people? Of course,
others, so make no mistake: building world-class
none of these statements hold water.
leaders is an essential part of building a worldclass organization. Are the styles of your leaders
From boardroom to plant site, the evidence
suggests most leaders need to be more visionary
helping or hindering your operation? Chances are,
(reinforce where and why), more participative (askyou've got some of both.
ing vs telling), and do more coaching (feedback).
Brent Pederson is based in Regina, SK, and is
Korn Ferry Hay Group's Director of Operations for
the Prairie Provinces. He can be reached at (306)
Leaders can better understand their mix
359-0181, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
of the six leadership styles via a formal 180°
What makes for great leadership? Providing
task clarity? Casting vision? Building relationships?
Drawing on team input? Working alongside people?
Providing feedback? The truth is "all of the above"
- when used at the right time, in the right place,
and in moderation.
The six leadership styles are: Directive (Do what
I tell you), Visionary (Here's where we're going and
why), Affiliative (Leadership through relationship),
Participative (Let's decide together), Pacesetting
(Run fast and keep up!), and Coaching (long-term
development of people).
Top performing leaders have been shown to
have skill using four or more of the six styles, but
less than 20 per cent of leaders achieve this level.
This same research also shows that most leaders
are over-reliant on only one style, thereby limiting
their effectiveness as a leader.
To build a culture of high performance, every
leader should develop skills across the full toolbox
of styles. In the same way a golfer uses a range
of clubs for different situations, leaders need to
develop comfort and skill using a range of leadership
styles. The more styles you have command over,
the more situations you can manage effectively.
feedback tool completed by both direct reports
and self. This feedback provides the basis for
self-awareness, coaching, development planning, and growth to master the full toolbox
What's your mix of leadership styles? How
would your direct reports see it?
The 6 Leadership Styles
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HR Saskatchewan - Spring/Summer 2016
Letter to the Editor
From the Editor
Leadership Styles: Helping or Hindering Engagement?
Building an Accountable and Self-Directed Workforce
Is Distance Learning Meeting Your Training Needs?
Advancing Women in Leadership
Spotlight: Stan Slap – the King of Culture
Saskatchewan HR Trends Report, Spring 2016
Legal Corner: The Use of Contract Workers Can Create Hidden Liabilities for Employers
The Resource Room
HR Saskatchewan - Spring/Summer 2016