Effective leadership in business management hinges upon the personalities of both the supervisor and the supervised.   Leadership styles are based on social styles of people.  Using self-assessment of leadership styles can be helpful in management development.   

Self-Assessment of Social Styles 

In the Influencing Others program from the Wilson Learning Corporation, behavior can be described as either assertive or responsive.  These two behaviors are further broken down by high and low attributes of both. Low assertive is labeled ASK and has the following attributes:

  • Cooperative
  • Slow actions
  • Minimizes risks
  • Go-along person
  • Nondirective
  • Quiet
  • Deliberate 

High assertive is labeled TELL and has the following attributes:

  • Competitive
  • Fast actions
  • Takes risks
  • Take-charge person
  • Directive
  • Louder 

The other behavior, responsive, is broken into CONTROL (low responsive) and EMOTE (high responsive).  CONTROL or low responsive is described thus:

  • Disciplined
  • Rational
  • Task-oriented
  • Formal
  • Businesslike
  • Independent
  • Cautious
  • Reserved 

EMOTE or high responsive is described as:

  • Undisciplined
  • Emotional
  • Relationship-oriented
  • Informal
  • Friendly
  • Open
  • Expressive
  • Animated 

Characteristics of the Four Leadership Styles 

Churchill was Considered a Great Leader; Photo courtesy of the British Government, Source: Wikimedia CommonsCredit: Photo courtesy of the British Government, Source: Wikimedia Commons

The four social behavior styles (EMOTE, CONTROL, ASK, TELL) are the foundation for the four leadership or working styles.  The four main styles of leading others are Analytical, Driver, Amiable, and Expressive.   When self-assessment is applied, the program breaks these four styles into 16 sub-quadrants based on results of a checklist (analytical-analytical, driving-analytical, analytical-driver, driving-driver, amiable-analytical, expressive-analytical, amiable-driver, expressive-driver, analytical-amiable, driving-amiable, analytical-expressive, driving-expressive, amiable-amiable, expressive-amiable, amiable-expressive and expressive-expressive).[1] 

Analytic people are described as:

  • Task-oriented
  • Cautious
  • Deliberate
  • Logical
  • Low-risk takers
  • Fact oriented

 Driver leadership style has the following descriptions:

  • Action-oriented
  • Fast-paced
  • Risk taker
  • Task-oriented
  • Controller 

The Amiable leadership style is described as:

  • Supportive
  • Bridge builders
  • People-oriented
  • Deliberate
  • Minimizes risks 

And the Expressive leaders are described as:

  • Trusting of people versus data
  • Open
  • Fast-paced
  • People-oriented
  • Risk-takers
  • Dreamers
  • Intuitive 

Business Management can use Self-Assessment Tools; photo by Cheryl WeldonCredit: photo by Cheryl Weldon

Versatility of the Leadership Styles 

The versatility of the styles leaders use are viewed by others as high or low. For all four styles, people of high versatility are perceived as attempting to adapt to the needs of others; making others comfortable with who they are; open, negotiable, taking an “it depends” position; and empathic. [1] 

People with low versatility are viewed differently according to their leadership styles. Analyticals are perceived as maintaining a low-assertive and low-responsive behavior.  They generally like to stick to business, use facts and maintain deliberateness in most situations.  They are seen as overusing analysis, conservative thinking, and standard operating procedures.   

Expressives are perceived as maintaining high-assertive and high-responsive behaviors.  They generally move to work through relationships, use feelings and take quick action in most situations.  They often overuse praise, optimism, and enthusiasm.  

Drivers are perceived as maintaining high-assertive and low-responsive behaviors with a tendency to stick to business, work independently of others and control others in most situations.  They lean towards overuse of impatience, bluntness, competition and an overbearing attitude.   

Amiables are perceived as maintaining low-assertive and high-responsive behaviors.  They are geared towards working through the relationship and using feelings and deliberateness in most situations; and overusing a non-direct approach, kindness and tolerance of others. 

Modification Strategies for the Four Leadership Styles 

There are several strategies to temporarily adjust assertiveness and/or responsiveness to encourage others to interact productively.  To decrease responsiveness the central theme is to control a little more and emote a little less.  This can be accomplished by:[1]

  • Talking less
  • Restraining enthusiasm
  • Making decisions based on facts
  • Acknowledging the thoughts of others 

To decrease assertiveness the central theme is to ask a little more and tell a little less.  Strategies include:[1]

  • Ask for others’ opinions
  • Negotiate decision making
  • Listen without interrupting
  • Adapt to the time needs of others
  • Allow others to assume leadership more often
  • Mae recommendations 

To increase assertiveness the central theme addressed is to tell a little more and ask a little less.  This can be achieved by:[1]

  • Getting to the point
  • Volunteering information
  • Willingness to disagree
  • Acting on personal convictions
  • Initiating conversation
  • Providing options 

To increase responsiveness the central theme to adjust is to emote a little more and control a little less.  Strategies include:[1]

  • Verbalizing feelings
  • Paying personal compliments
  • Willingness to spend time on relationships
  • Socializing
  • Using more friendly, nonverbal language 

Influencing Others Based on Social or Leadership Style 

Management skills include knowing how to get the most production from employees. Understanding these social and leadership styles and making the necessary adjustments can enhance interaction between supervisors and their employees.   

For influence to be accepted Analyticals can impress with their thoroughness, accuracy, persistence and follow-through; Aimiables can give personal attention and support; Expressives can give recognition and admiration; and Drivers can give evidence of their ability to show results.   


The copyright of the article Leadership Styles That Impact Management Development is owned by Cheryl Weldon and permission to republish in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

Four Social Styles