illustration of six paper airplanes being led in formation

6 Types of Leaders: Which One Are You?

All leaders must understand this simple truth: style does matter. These six leadership styles are the most prominent in the workforce today. See if you can recognize where you fit in.

By Glenn Gutek

1. Charismatic

This is leadership by infusion of energy embodied in the personality of the leader. In other words, once Elvis leaves the building, so does some of that infectious energy! Over the years, this style has been both praised and panned, but any study of leadership must recognize that there is value to those who bring energy to an organization by their sheer presence. The downside of this leadership is the reality that some teams don’t need to speed things up, but rather slow things down. The charismatic leader is an excellent vision-caster and can elicit a loyal and passionate following. Where this style will often fall short is in the attention to details.

2. Technician

This is leadership by displaying both knowledge and skill. This style is highly valued in cultures where competence is high in economic value. It is leading by simply being the best producer of what your organization produces. This leadership style can influence their arena with an impeccable reputation, and sets the bar for the standard of work quality. There are limits this style has in being replicated throughout an organization. Some leaders who strongly employ this style can in time be a little like the Wizard of Oz, hiding behind the curtain, pulling strings, leaving everyone to wonder, “How do they do it?” Nobody can argue with the value quality plays in any arena. Keep in mind there is a distinction between leading the best, and being the best.

3. Strategic

This is leadership by connecting the dots. This style is embodied in people who tend to be global and conceptual thinkers. They not only are able to see the end destination, but they know the path to get there must be identified and paved. Tragically, this style can be marred by the blues, because not only do strategic leaders see what could be, they see what is not.

4. Team builder

Here, leadership is by roles and unity. This style recognizes that you can’t just assemble any group of people and claim you have a team. This leadership style is employed by people who look at people individually and find individual roles for them to fill. At the same time, they align these individuals into a cohesive whole.

5. Managerial

This is leadership by systems. This style focuses on doing things right. Processes and systems are designed and understood so that current operations function consistently. Though some would argue that managers are not leaders, you have to acknowledge that effective managers have a profound influence on those that surround them. In fact, they have the capacity to lead a culture that prizes management, even at the expense of effectiveness.

6. Directive

Here we have leadership by control. A crucial component of the industrial revolution, this type of control has become less popular. However, any organization in crisis would love to have a directive leader step forward and bring order out of chaos. There is still a need for directive leaders.

Bottom line: Do what works for you and your customers

Effective leadership in today’s diverse culture will require a team approach, and teams require diverse leadership styles. By not only employing the best leadership style for you, but also knowing when to adapt to other styles, you can effectively lead your team to success.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of PPC magazine. Story by Glenn Gutek, CEO of Awake Consulting & Coaching and author of Wide-Awake Leadership.

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