I’m exposed to a lot of different leaders these days. At work. On podcasts. In relationships around town. Lots of different styles and approaches. The type of leaders I see right now:
- Micro-manager. Not really a leader, but he thinks he is. Really all micro-managing does is prove that you don’t trust others to do what they have been entrusted to do. Zoom the lense out and look at the big picture because if you don’t, you are going to run into a wall full speed ahead!
- Out of touch. This is the person that always looks down from their 20,000 foot view to lead, but never takes the time to get down and walk on planet earth and mingle with the worker bees. When you are out of touch, morale tends to be at extreme levels of low-ness. The perception can be that the philosophies and systems are all great in theory, but the time is rarely taken to see if the implementation actually works! Frustration breeds discontentment and eventually the workforce turnover will rise.
- Visionary. I like people with big vision. Especially God-sized vision that only the God that slew Goliath and raised Jesus from the dead can do. Vision rallies followers. Look at Apple. They have a vision to integrate technology with your personal life…and that brought forth the iPhone. But visionary leaders have to equip others to accomplish the vision. Imagine if Steve Jobs, CEO and founder of Apple, said one day that there would be a phone that can do everything a computer can do and it will have a touch screen, but he dictated how it was going to be done to the engineers and restricted the training and resources to get the job done. We wouldn’t have the iPhone, that’s for sure. But so many visionary leaders lack the insight that it takes more than a successfully cast vision to “git er dun”. You have to equip and empower those around you to get the job done, and then…get out of the way.
- Relational. Everyone loves this guy because he cares about people. The relational leaders I have seen care about those they are leading and whether they succeed or fail. I will highlight my supervisor at work. He would rather take heat for my screw-up then see me go through the reamer. He will do everything in his power to make sure the team wins and feels the victory. I have seen a downside to this type of leader, though. Because of the relationship drive, they tend to care for too many people. Their circle of influence grows to be much larger then they can sustain. This can breed as much discontent and frustration as the out of touch guy because it can be translated that the care is no longer there. (I made a rhyme!)
- Learner. I’m fond of this kind of leader because I tend to gravitate here. A learner reads and reads and reads. A learner likes to have philosophical conversations with others. A learner likes to be stretched. But, a learner can be perceived as passive and disengaged if they don’t get in the game and lead. After all, what good is learning if you never apply it!
None of these types are effective by themself. A balance is required. The micro-manager that begins to apply some vision becomes transformed in the eyes of their followers because they seem to know where things are going. The out of touch guy that becomes even a tad bit relational starts to build trust with employees and then sees productivity begin to improve. And the learner that “learns” to be a bit more of a worker (a form of micro-manager) sees faster return on investments then ever before as they apply their newly attained knowledge.
So what types of leaders am I missing?
What type are you?