The pacesetting leader holds and exemplifies high standards for performance. This leader is obsessive about doing things better and faster, and asks the same of everyone. S/he quickly pinpoints poor performers and demands more of them.

These leaders expect excellence and exemplify it. They have a strong drive to achieve, along with a large dose of initiative in seizing opportunities.

When to use the Pacesetting Style

Pacesetting makes sense, in particular, during the entrepreneurial phase of a company’s life cycle, when growth is all-important. Any time that team members are all highly competent, motivated, and need little direction, the style can yield brilliant results.

But if applied poorly, excessively or in the wrong setting, this approach can leave employees feeling pushed too hard by the leader’s demands. If there is a lack of empathy, such leaders can blithely focus on accomplishing tasks while remaining oblivious to the rising distress in those who perform them. Similarly, an absence of self-awareness leaves pacesetters blind to their own failings.

Source: “The New Leaders” – Daniel Goleman

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