Pacesetting Leadership Style


First described by Daniel Goleman in 2002, the pacesetting leadership style was one of six leadership types documented.  Pacesetting leaders set very high performance standards for themselves and their followers, and exemplify the behavior they are seeking from other members of the group.

The pacesetting leader either gives little or no performance feedback to the followers, except to take over when the followers seem to be lagging behind schedule.


Goleman believed that certain leadership styles were more effective under certain conditions.  This is known as conditional leadership.  The pacesetting leadership style works best when followers are self-motivated and highly skilled.  For example, when a group has been functioning together as an effective team and the leader needs to increase the pace at which the group is working to meet a deadline for an important project.

Related Terms

emotional intelligence, conditional leadership, motivation