When Should You Roll Out Your Rock Leadership Style?

BY Kathy Crosett
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At work and at play, you bring your personality to interactions. You might be charming, optimistic or aggressive. These traits have led you to a management position in your company. But, to really succeed at leadership, you’ll need to tap into the right personality traits in specific situations. Jim Morris, writing for The Muse, tells you which styles work best.

Setting Standards

If you’re comfortable being part of the team you lead, you probably enjoy rolling up your sleeves and pitching in. You might also be the one who sets high standards for herself, and you’re disciplined enough to achieve them. Many of your team members might be inspired by how hard you drive yourself and enjoy reaching the goals you set. This leadership style works well if you've got a big project to complete. It doesn’t work so well if you set the wrong kind of goals. If you're too optimistic about what the team can do, failing to reach your targets can fray nerves. If you set the goals too low, some team members won’t work as hard as they should.


Morris calls orchestrating the default leadership style. In a perfect world, you have the resources and the time to fully understand the organization’s goals and the strengths and weaknesses of your team members. You’ll have the opportunity to match team member strengths with tasks and manage the status quo. In reality, you’ll need to monitor the situation constantly. Goals and objectives can change, sometimes overnight. When you need to reassign employees, they won’t always like their new positions.

Rocking It

When an organization is experiencing turmoil, team members are watching your reaction. If sales are plummeting or the new product is crashing and burning in the marketplace, fear sets in. Resumes are updated and people head for the exits.

You can stop some of this behavior by showing off your ‘rock’ leadership traits. This is the equivalent of never letting them see you sweat. Yes, you should acknowledge there’s been a setback. But, keep your emotions in check. Call on your inner Spock to stay steady and logical while dealing with team members who need help settling down. Once the crisis is resolved, lighten up. Morris notes that being too rock-​like can also be perceived as boring and may stall your progress up the management ladder.

Check out the rest of the leadership styles pinpointed by Morris. Experiment to discover which ones work best for you and apply them as necessary.