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3 Signs Your Leadership Style Is Too Tough

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Sometimes leaders can push their folks so hard that performance suffers. I get it; there’s huge pressure on leaders to achieve results. But there’s a fine line between pushing people to achieve greatness and pushing so hard that employees crack.

There are four fundamental leadership styles: Pragmatist, Idealist, Steward and Diplomat. Leaders can be effective or ineffective within each of these four styles, but one style in particular is at the greatest risk of pushing people too hard—the Pragmatist. (There’s a leadership styles assessment to assess your own style.)

I consider Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, and Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, to be Pragmatists. Pragmatists have high standards, and they expect themselves, and their employees, to meet those standards. These leaders are driven, competitive, and they value hitting their goals above all else. They can be bold thinkers, unafraid of taking the road less travelled (even when others struggle or feel anxious). Pragmatists are also hard-driving and often enjoy smashing through obstacles.


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