Pacesetting leaders are rare, but they are gold.
You might not come across many pacesetting leaders in your careers. Yet, you are lucky if you do. They are one of the most popular and dedicated leaders that work towards individual and organizational growth.
Pacesetting leaders do not expect what they cannot deliver. They believe in showing what is possible and pushing their team to do the same.
Let’s tell you the principles, advantages, and disadvantages of pacesetting leadership in an organization.
What is Pacesetting Leadership?
Indeed defines pacesetting leadership as “A style of management or professional guidance in which the leader demonstrates, by example, the level of performance and quality expected of their juniors.”
Pacesetting leadership is one of the six leadership styles proposed by Daniel Goleman. It is similar to leadership styles like affiliate and visionary. Pacesetting leaders set the pace for their team members. They lead from the front and set standards for their team. Such leaders are result-oriented. They expect every individual to put their best foot forward and follow the steps of their boss to achieve the defined goals.
The Principal Elements of Pacesetting Leadership
A pacesetting leader has to be highly self-motivated. They cannot set high standards for their team if they do not work hard. The leader’s self-motivation is contagious and helps the employees. They understand that the leader is working hard for the organization and must also give their input.
When pacesetting leaders set standards for their team, they must be clear about them. Typically such leaders discuss the goals and expectations with their teams through meetings. They further explain their expectations and how the team must work together to achieve the targets. They eliminate the need for micromanagement by informing the team about all details once.
A pacesetting leader’s team has to be proactive. Pacesetting leaders spend a long time setting the standards for their team. However, they do not have time to micromanage every process step. The leader must take the initiative himself if any team members lack behind. Sometimes the pacesetting leader may take over until the processes smoothen.
Leadership is not for the emotionally sensitive. Many people work on their emotional intelligence to become trendsetting leaders. Pacesetting leadership requires emotional intelligence to manage situations in a better way. It enables you to give the right response at the right time before it’s late.
Pacesetting leadership is typically applied for a short period, especially for projects. Many leaders opt for multi-leadership styles to blend the elements. Fusion of leadership styles like authoritative, visionary, coaching, etc., can prove beneficial with pacesetting leadership.
Advantages of Pacesetting Leadership
Pacesetting leadership is a result-driven leadership style that focuses on achieving goals according to standards. It enables the teammates to accomplish short-term goals quickly. The leader’s strict timelines and expectations play a major role in fast results.
When a pacesetting leader relies on their team to meet their expectations, it highlights the skills and expertise of their team. Each team member gives their input in attaining the desired results. Thus, the leaders understand each team member’s strong points and the role they can play better. Pacesetting leaders may also tell their team members about their strengths to use them best.
Unlike many other leaders, pacesetting leaders do not sit idle when their team does the work. They ask for constant updates and help their team where needed. They are always there to sort out the problems arising in the organization to save from long-term damage. Pacesetting leaders also ensure harmony among the team members, like affiliate leaders.
Besides identifying the strength points of the employees, pacesetting leaders also focus on the team’s shortcomings. They make sure to identify and work on the lacking’s in the group. Whether your team is not united or they do not put their best effort, pacesetting leaders keep an eye on it all.
The team performs its best when the leaders give proper deadlines and guidance and monitor the working at a distance. Workers realize their expertise and utilize them in the right direction. Pacesetting leaders also identify the issues and address them with emotional intelligence to keep harmony among the team.
Disadvantages of Pacesetting Leadership
Typically pacesetting leadership expects the employees to provide top-notch results in the least time. The leader may be able to perform that task swiftly and looks for the same from their workers. However, the team might not be as skilled as the leader and get tired of giving more than they can. The team begins to feel emotionally and physically drained when expected to deliver top-quality work in less time. Every employee cannot cope with the stress of pacesetting leaders.
As we mentioned, a pacesetting leader must be self-motivated to motivate their team. Sometimes, the leaders do not realize that expectations are stressful. High standards may lead to a higher turnover rate. This builds distrust within the team as they fear losing their jobs. The employees may work hard but lose the motivation to contribute to organizational growth. They worry about their benefits more.
Pacesetting leaders often provide guidelines and instructions to their employees to achieve their goals. Because of a set pace and standard, often there is no room for innovation or modification. The nature of the work may be redundant and boring for many employees.
Sometimes pacesetting leadership can lead to misalignment within the team. The employees’ efforts may not align with the managers’ expectations. It may also result from miscommunication between different people in the system. Pacesetting leaders must communicate to their workers properly to avoid problems.
Pacesetting is not a micromanaged system usually. However, some leaders have the tendency to micromanage their team in an attempt to provide the best results in less time. It is important to remember that employees do not appreciate micromanagement.
Pacesetting leadership is not used as a long-term leadership style in companies. However, one of the significant disadvantages of pacesetting leadership style in an organization is that it might become a permanent part of it. The employees will look up to their leaders to set standards for them to follow. Only the pacesetters will become favorites of the pacesetting leaders.
How to Improve Pacesetting Leadership Style
While the pacesetting leadership style has a few drawbacks, you can improve it. Here’s how you can be a pacesetting leader in a better way.
Communication is utterly important in the organization to encourage unity in the team. Communicating efficiently to the team members informs them of the required progress and changes. You must eliminate miscommunication to ensure your team does not feel unimportant.
Sometimes pacesetting leaders get so indulged in their work that they forget about their employees. Employees burn out yet do not complain because they fear losing their job. As a pacesetting leader, you can improve the system by being more empathetic. Your team will perform better when they observe your concern for them.
Do not only set high standards for your team to follow. Instead, work along with them once in a while to show support. Set an example of the benefits of pacesetting leadership using the right communication methods, empathy, and instilling trust within the team.
The Bottom Line
Pacesetting leadership is an excellent leadership system when you want to get things done quickly. The pacesetting managers act as the leaders and provide standards to the team to work according to. It improves productivity and gets the work done sooner. However, the advantages and disadvantages of pacesetting leadership exist simultaneously. Continuously working to catch the pace of the manager may burn out the employees and lead to job dissatisfaction. Pacesetting leaders may improve the system through better communication, trust, empathy, and setting examples.
Who is an Example of a Pacesetter Leader?
Jack Welch is a successful pacesetting leader. He is the former CEO of General Electric. Jack did not encourage micromanagement and focused on deadlines. He believed in setting examples as a leader, which is the essence of pacesetting leadership.
Which is the Best Time to Use the Pacesetting Leadership Style?
The pacesetting leadership style is considered suitable for a business’s initial stage. It will provide the boost needed. It helps speedy growth at the beginning, where the leaders guide the teams with realistic yet short deadlines. It is also a good choice for instances where the team is motivated but unable to give their best.
How do you Become a Pacesetter Leader?
A pacesetting leader wants to get everything done quickly with the team’s best capabilities. To be a pacesetting leader, you must have a leadership mindset, be self-motivated, emotionally intelligent, and take the initiative. You should be able to push your team to do better and inform them of their strengths and weaknesses. You should not be a coercive leader – instead, a fusion of authoritative and affiliate leadership styles.
Matthew is a Co-Founder at BusinessFinanceArticles.org. Matthew was a floor manager at a local restaurant in Wales. He lost his job after the pandemic and took initiative to make a team and start the project.