The Goleman and Boyatzis Leadership Style Quiz

Good leaders aren't born, they're made every day by practicing empathy and learning how to inspire people to fulfill their potential. To that end, Daniel Goleman created a leadership style quiz that can help people understand their own style and make improvements.
The Goleman and Boyatzis Leadership Style Quiz
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

The Goleman and Boyatzis leadership style quiz has a concrete goal: to evaluate the impact certain types of leaders have on our emotions. These experts introduced this quiz for the first time in their book Primal Leadership, published in 2011. The idea was to highlight one personality in particular, that of the resonant leader.

Daniel Goleman argues that the organizational world and the economy need to place a higher value on the emotional side of human capital. He believes that a good leader is capable not only of making a company successful, but also has an impact on each worker. A good leader can positively affect people’s work environment, their well-being, and their motivation.

So, it’s interesting to note that Goleman, as well as Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, emphasize the idea of the resonant leader. This is a leader with enough self-awareness to intuit the good and bad in a given situation. It’s a person who can set aside their negative emotions in order to inspire enthusiasm, trust, and empathy in others.

At the end of the day, resonance means working on your own emotional balance so that you can imbue others with positivity and inspiration.

Therefore, evaluating people’s leadership styles can provide information about what they pass on to their coworkers. A good leader, after all, isn’t the one that holds the most power or whoever the board assigns to lead. Instead, it’s the man or woman who’s capable of bringing out the best in the people around them.

“Leadership isn’t domination, but the art of persuading people to work toward a common goal.”

-Daniel Goleman-

Goleman and Boyatzis leadership style quiz.

The Goleman and Boyatzis leadership style quiz

In Primal LeadershipGoleman, Boyatzis, and McKee talk about six leadership styles. These styles form the foundation for the leadership style quiz they came up with. This quiz is an extremely useful resource for any manager, human resources department, or individual interested in understanding and applying leadership.

It’s important to clarify that a leader isn’t just the facilitator of their team’s success. They’re more than the one who provides the resources, training, and guidance necessary to achieve the organization’s goals. They also have a powerful influence over everyone else, just as a friend, family member, or neighbor would, for example.

Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee believe that the most positive and resonant leaders know how to nourish and improve. They don’t just direct and order people around. This more holistic approach is what produces positive changes and creates a working environment that rewards everyone.

Consequently, their leadership style quiz doesn’t just provide information about the kind of leader you are. Also, it offers guidance about things you can improve.

Daniel Goleman giving a lecture.

What does the leadership style quiz consist of?

The Goleman and Boyatzis leadership style quiz consists of a scale organized in six areas. Each area measures one kind of leadership with nine questions. The test-taker can score low, medium, or high for each leadership style.

In total, the quiz contains a total of 54 yes or no questions. Let’s take a look at the six different leadership styles that the quiz measures.

1. The authoritative (visionary) leader

The visionary leader uses their experience, motivation, and enthusiasm to inspire their followers. They know their priorities and they communicate them to others in a positive way. This leader also tends to give their people significant freedom to achieve their goals in their own way.

2. The coaching leader

This kind of leader acts as a personal trainer. They work with each individual on a personal level. They listen to them and help them with their personal development within the organization.

3. The affiliative leader

This leadership style is defined by empathy. These leaders are sensitive to other’s problems and prioritize people over goals. They’re good at creating a harmonious and balanced work culture.

A woman leading a work meeting.

4. The democratic leader

This style revolves around the need to always achieve consensus. The democratic leader encourages flexibility and quality within a team. They tend to everyone’s needs and make use of incentives.

5. The pacesetting leader

This kind of leader sets themselves as an example. They expect everyone else to follow them and do as they do because they see themselves as examples of superiority and effectiveness. Their goal is to achieve short-term goals, they tend to micromanage, and they try to control their team’s every move.

6. The coercive (commanding) leader

This leadership style uses and abuses power. These kinds of leaders require others to obey them and respect their authority. They demand that whatever they asked for be done as soon as possible.

It’s important to note that coercive leaders don’t listen to others’ opinions. The things that get done, get done due to tradition and obedience. Any kind of innovative or original idea is considered a threat to their authority.

How can you interpret the leadership style quiz?

The results of this quiz provide different kinds of information. First of all, people usually score relatively high in a few different areas. In general, an individual who scores high in the coercive leadership category will also score high in the authoritative style. Others will tend towards coaching and democratic styles.

According to Goleman, an effective leader is well-versed in at least three of these six styles. The most highly regarded are the visionary leader, the democratic leader, and the coaching leader. These styles are worth thinking about and keeping in mind for other facets of your life as well.

After all, everyone is part of some kind of social group (friends, family, coworkers) and you exercise some kind of influence over other people. If you work on it, you can be the kind of person who inspires others and brings out the best in them.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., Mckee, A. (2017). El líder resonante crea más. El poder de la inteligencia emocional. Debolsillo.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.