What Type of Leader Are You? - Page 2

Jun 27, 2007

Daniel Gingras

They’ll be able to play much better than you ever could hope to, but you’ve got to keep them playing the right music, at the right pace, and in cooperation with the rest of the orchestra. You need to insure all of the members practice and are great at what they do. You need to keep them motivated, and you need to insure that there are enough “ticket sales” to keep the whole organization moving forward.

Leadership Types

There are dozens of archetypes of leadership and hundreds (if not thousands) of books written about the types of leadership and what they mean so this may not be a comprehensive list. More just a starting point to think about how you lead.

The Tyrant - This is the most toxic type of leader. This leader believes “fear and intimidation” is the right motivational structure. I’ve worked for such leaders, which suck the lifeblood from you as you struggle to meet their expectations.

Sometimes they’re reasonable, but often you get a tyrant who has unreasonable expectations. If you’re working for such a leader, you know it. Update your resume and get out of there. You will never thrive in this environment and it will atrophy your career and personal growth.

You need to remember that it's work not your life and if work makes your life miserable then do something about it.

The Ostrich - This type of leader locks himself in his or her office and doesn’t want to hear the details of any problems in the organization. “Take care of it,” is usually the answer: no direction, no coaching, no participation.

This is not a leader, it’s someone holding the job who doesn’t understand their responsibility to the organization. Every leader should recognize that they have a responsibility both to the organization at large, but more specifically to the people under their leadership.

If you’re not focused on growing your organization’s capabilities, satisfaction, and value to your company, you should be doing something else.

The Seagull - Typical of a leadership structure where the organization is remotely located from the leadership, this leaders flies in, dumps on the staff, then flies away. They may have additional attributes of some of the other leaders, but the primary characteristics of some of the other caustic types.

The Politician - In general the “politician” has become a pejorative term, and rightfully so. Politicians are generally self-centered, looking to boost their positions on the backs of their followers. They’re more than happy to take credit for the work of others, completely focused on self aggrandizement—generally at the expense of their followers or their organization as a whole.

You can prosper somewhat with a politician as a boss if you focus on making them look good, but recognize that you’ll never get credit outside of your organization from the politician. Don’t worry though, word will get out and people will recognize your value. Don’t emulate the politician, rather try to develop a more inclusive leadership style.

The Inspirational Leader - This person is a joy to work for, he’s an evangelist who makes you want to come into work every day. He leads from the front, and you’d be willing to follow him into hell. He or she can have a number of sub attributes, but in general think of them as the tough old sergeant in the WWII movies who leads men in a charge against the enemy machine gun.

They might also be more like a “preacher” who gets you all fired up to do the right thing but at the end of the day you feel great about working for this person. They’ll make sure you grow and that the technology adds real value to the organization.

Make sure things are getting done, however, because there is a small subset of this type which is ineffective in execution. They’ll motivate everyone, but nothing will get done. Luckily though, this mutation is generally rare.

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