Conscientious Leadership Style Advantages, Disadvantages and Characteristics

Conscientious leaders are concerned about getting a job done in the right way. They are very thorough when preparing for a project which comes their way. These leaders look at every possible outcome, focus on being accurate, and use anticipated details to create results which meet or exceed expectations.

Many organizations seek out people who practice the conscientious leadership style because they are honest, almost to a fault. They rarely engage in any type of malpractice. These leaders are concerned about the overall vision, are self-motivated, and are not prone to making an impulsive decision.

A conscientious leader is meticulous, always organized, and abhors the thought of making a mistake for any reason.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the conscientious leadership style to consider.

List of the Advantages of Conscientious Leadership

1. This leadership style makes a direct positive impact on quality.
Conscientious leaders are concerned about getting a job done correctly. They look at the smallest details of every project to determine how it can be done better. The impact this leadership style brings to a team is immediate. These leaders know what the final project should look like, so they create structures which allow their direct reports to create the results that are needed.

2. It brings a high level of emotional intelligence into the workplace.
Leaders who practice conscientiousness have a lot of grit about them, but they also have a lot of curiosity. These are leaders who believe in the power of character and personal integrity. They persevere through difficult times, encouraging their direct reports to do the same. Conscientious leaders see what people need, then do their best to provide those needs. Over time, that creates more success for everyone.

3. This leadership style is fully accountable.
Conscientious leaders are people who are highly organized. They are superior planners who are able to anticipate problems well before something might occur. If they miss something, however, there is no cover-up or excuse offered. These leaders take full responsibility for the mistakes that are made, then work to correct the situation. They focus on a goal, then work towards it, being persistent despite the possibility of ongoing setbacks.

4. They do not become discouraged.
When a plan doesn’t go right for the conscientious leader, there may be negative feelings involved. Guilt and shame are common with this leadership style. Persistence and adaptability are also common. The negative emotions that are experienced by these leaders allows them to move from an unobtainable goal to one that is obtainable with a seamless transition. They do not give up, even when everyone around them is willing to throw in the towel. That is why a team led by a conscientious leader will usually meet or exceed expectations when other teams are unable to do so.

5. Conscientious leaders have a short memory.
This leadership style doesn’t care about past interactions or situations. It is focused on the here and now. These leaders want to know what each person can bring to a project. If you’re willing to go the extra mile to produce results, then this type of leader will go the extra mile to make sure you always have what you need. This makes it easier for everyone involved to reach their own aspirations, even as they finish projects for their employer.

6. They are smart risk-takers.
Conscientious leaders are willing to take risks, but only if it makes sense to do so. They have a natural curiosity which allows them to explore several different options before deciding on a course of action to take. It is a conservative approach in the fact that not every risk will be taken, so slow and steady growth can be achieved. These leaders refuse to stay comfortable, because when you feel satisfied, you’re no longer hungry to get results.

List of the Disadvantages of Conscientious Leadership

1. This leadership style puts moral pressures on others.
A conscientious leader expects their direct reports to follow the same virtues and values they do. The eye for detail that is found within this leadership style does more than spot mistakes within a project. These leaders are quick to see issues with employee discipline, changes in worker routines, or shortcuts taken with procedures. It can be difficult for all members of the team to work to the same standards.

2. It reduces team accountability.
Whereas some leadership styles may place the blame for a bad result directly onto an employee, even if that worker was directly ordered to do the work in that way, the conscientious leader takes a different approach. If their group fails at a task, or the quality is not where it was promised, then this leader tends to take all the blame for every shortcoming that occurs. Conscientious leaders are emotionally attached to their work, so failure creates shame and guilt.

3. This leadership style may encourage lower productivity levels.
Many conscientious leaders want to make sure every detail is absolutely correct when turning in a project. For teams that are dealing with low quality scores, that can be a good thing. This trait also turns into a demand for perfection in all things, which means production levels within the team tend to decline. It is not unusual for a team led by a conscientious leader to miss deadlines for the sake of quality.

4. It lowers the value of innovation and creativity.
Conscientious leaders spend a lot of time during the planning phase of a project ironing out the finest details of what needs to get done. Once they have created a plan, they expect their team to follow that plan to the letter. There is no room for new ideas once a project goes beyond the planning phase. That process can often lead to worker dissatisfaction, especially if a new idea is developed that could help everyone, but is rejected by the team.

5. These leaders tend to focus on the small picture.
Burnout levels are high amongst conscientious leaders because they are consumed with getting the small details right every time. They do a great job of compartmentalizing assignments, but also turn into workaholics, sometimes even fixing the work of their team to create the specific results they wish to see. This creates high levels of fatigue, which can lead to illness, which eventually leads to burning out.

The advantages and disadvantages of the conscientious leadership style show it is beneficial to an organization which needs more structure, consistency, and responsibility. These leaders work towards goals and identify what people need to attain them. If the issues with team accountability and creativity can be identified early on, then this leadership style becomes a tremendous asset to an organization.

Author Biography
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.