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  • Writer's pictureFelicity Baker

How to Use the Different Leadership Styles to Build Resilience

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

In our last blog post, we discussed how resilient leaders can adapt their leadership style to support their staff members. And, in particular the impact each of these different styles has on the emotional climate and resilience of their team. Click here to read if you missed it or would like to refresh your memory!

In this post we are going to discuss how to use each of the styles effectively. This requires you to draw on your emotional and social intelligence, flexible thinking skills and optimism, to achieve the desired outcome. These leadership styles are drawn from Daniel Goleman’s work on emotional intelligence and leadership.


The visionary leadership style is used to move people towards shared dreams and goals. Having a clear vision and strategy so that everyone is aware of and understands the bigger picture helps people to know where they are going without the pressure of how to get there. This opens them up to be innovative and creative, and to experiment with new ideas. Trying to keep this at the forefront of conversations you have with team members, will help to remind them of what you are all working towards, particularly at times of challenge or change.

Visionary leaders take time to discover what drives each of their team members and help them to see how what they do fits with the company goals and why this matters.

Trust is a key element of this type of leadership style. You will need to use your emotional intelligence skills (such as self-confidence, self-awareness and empathy) to understand where others are emotionally and to see their perspective. This will help you to build trust and establish the common ground needed to encourage buy-in to shared goals and vision.

This leadership style is particularly useful when facing new challenges or change and is most effective when leaders are authentic and transparent about what is happening. You should be as honest and open as possible, sharing information about future challenges within the organisation and keeping staff updated as changes occur.


The coaching leadership style requires a solid understanding of the individual team members’ hopes and aspirations, and how these relate to their strengths and developmental needs. Leaders using a coaching style know what their team members want from their career and are able to help them to achieve this through a combination of short and long-term goals. Goals that are challenging and move people outside their comfort zone help to build self-efficacy and confidence, as they experience and recover from failures and setbacks. You should recognise this is a necessary part of growth and resilience and ensure you are able to support staff through it.

For maximum benefit from this coaching style it is important to keep team members motivated through the use of positive affirmations and linking their daily work to their long-term goals. Using empathy and developing good rapport is essential in this process to communicate trust and belief in a person’s potential to achieve the goals and to help them grow through setbacks.


The sense of connection and belonging created through the affiliative leadership style is achieved by placing less focus on tasks and goals, and more emphasis on the needs of the individual. Resilient leaders using an affiliative approach are able to create an emotionally safe space for their teams to share their emotions and feelings. Trust and belonging are important factors in this style and these can be developed through the leaders’ self-awareness and understanding of others. Try to encourage positive personal relationships and connection amongst staff, helping them to value each other and what they each contribute to the team. Being comfortable in sharing your own emotions will help to set a positive example.

To maintain the harmony and resonance created by this leadership style it is important to manage conflict carefully and proactively build positive emotions among the team. Encourage and value down time when people can have fun together, and try to not to see the time they spend enjoying themselves as a waste of time. Instead, use positive activities to reinforce the connection between team members.


This leadership style is needed when there is uncertainty about the best course of action. Using a democratic style, asking for advice from experienced colleagues or staff, helps to get buy-in and ownership of new ideas and builds feelings of trust and respect.

Communication is a key aspect of the democratic leadership style. Through asking for advice and being open to ideas from others you can provide a safe social environment, where staff members have the confidence to give candid feedback and feel their concerns are listened to. Encourage staff to put forward ideas and innovations, and empower the team by getting them all involved in the decision making process.

Listening skills are central to the democratic leadership style and ensuring staff feel that their ideas really matter. Instead of taking a top-down approach to leadership, collaborate and act as part of the team. You will need to use empathy to tune into differing emotional positions of a range of people and be able to manage conflict and create harmony through the use of your emotional intelligence skills.

If you have read our previous blog you may notice that we haven’t included the pacesetting and commanding leadership styles in this blog. And that has been intentional. Both of these leadership styles should be used sparingly and with caution. They can lead to micro-managing, leaving staff feeling untrusted and under-valued, and causing dissonance within the team.

Would you like to learn more about the benefits that resilient leadership strategies could bring to your organisation, then get in touch.


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