Do You Have a Strong Leadership Style?

Managers are expected to have a strong hand in the decision-making process and management of their team. You should know that there is a fine line between being assertive and then crossing the line into aggression. We’ve told you how you can turn around your career if you are the office doormat—now it’s time for the flipside of that coin.

So, if you’re not the doormat, are you stepping all over your team?

Hopefully you’re not as dogmatic as “House of Cards” character Frank Underwood, but it’s easy to see when taking a strong approach can be good and bad. Strong is a word associated with almost everything you have your hands on, because without an iron will, your team, your projects, and everything around you could come crashing down like a house of cards—no pun intended.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of using a strong leadership style.


Strong leaders are assertive in their actions, goals and intentions—hopefully this sounds like you. You know how to stand up for yourself and are driven to complete your plans. This positive version of the strong leadership style is beneficial because it establishes you as a leader that will move heaven and earth to get things done for your team. Within this style, you must also maintain a cooler head.

An assertive leadership style can help you keep poise when under pressure and seek the right solution that benefits the team and actively engages them to contribute their ideas. As an assertive manager, you can see the organization function through an objective lens with facts rather than acting impulsively.


Being too strong in your leadership approach can back fire in a few ways. First, it hurts your image to your team—you become their dictator. Second, exerting your will too forcefully can make your team feel invalidated and more like minions of your bidding. Third, as an aggressive manager, you might find people put off and be perceived as an unapproachable person. These are symptoms of greater internal issues.

People overcompensate with power to cover for personal insecurities. Their actions usually manifest into defensive and negative behavior. Such behavior can trickle down and poison your organization.

You want to be a leader by nature with manager by title, but you have to have it within you to be that leader-type of manager.


You have to walk the fine line between assertiveness and aggression. Sometimes the difference is blurred depending on your personality. Here is a quick list of questions to ask you:

  1. What is my confidence level?
  2. How do I respond to issues?
  3. How are people reacting to me?
  4. Will this approach of assertion or aggression bring the result I want?

Determining if you use enough force to be an assertive and admirable leader or a world-class monster is needed in order to perform at your best and direct the best efforts of your team. Know when to use a heavy hand and blunt nature, and understand when it is not needed.


Denis Coleman

Denis Coleman is the founder and CEO of Work Compass, a cloud staff performance collaboration software platform that helps teams align their efforts with strategic goals and continuously improve performance. Frustrated with the disconnect between strategy setting and day to day execution and the lack of tools available to managers to help them be great at their most important function …. Aligning their teams activities with strategic goals and actively managing for high performance Denis spent over 5 years researching strategy execution and performance management practices before founding Work Compass to create a software solution. Denis has held senior roles in Ireland, Czech Republic and North America with high performing electronics manufacturing and professional services organisations for more than 12 years. Denis has worked as Finance Director responsible for €800 million in annual revenues for Flextronics International, Key Account Manager responsible for annual revenues of more than €600 million for Dovatron International and Management Consultant for BDO one of Europe’s most successful professional services providers.

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