The concept of leadership sounds simple, but the authentic practice of it difficult for so many. As someone who leads individuals and organizations, I cannot think of a more important concept. Leadership can legitimately make or break an organization and culture. Leaders are not just CEO’s and Managers; parents, community members, and many others assume leadership roles daily, without even understanding the associated responsibilities. Every great success and failure I have seen as an employee, therapist and human being has been driven by either poor or exceptional leadership and fits into one of the below categories.
4 types of leaders
The ‘dictator’ leader – this leader leads through control and power, rather than encouragement and teamwork. They are usually in it for the money and/or the power; they could care less about morale, building culture and programs or anything other than their paycheck and exerting control over others. This leader often has no knowledge of the true responsibility of leadership, and even less desire to assume the role. Often overcompensating for an array of other shortcomings, this leader will suck the life out of individuals, cultures and entire organizations.
The ‘follower’ leader – this leader has no clue what they are doing, and lacks confidence. They absorb the energy and ideas from those around them and are constantly changing course, with many around them departing, usually for lack of leadership. There is no clear vision, little passion and even less emphasis on growth and development. With a dedicated team around them, this leader could succeed, but team members desiring a strong leader, won’t be able to hold on.
The ‘maxed out’ leader – this leader has given up; they are tired, beat down and going through the motions. Often times, these leaders are the worst for morale, as they are one of the only leaders that truly make teams feel hopeless and checked out. They have all the answers, but they often complain about everything. When the ‘maxed out’ leader is not in proverbial fetal position, they can often be found complaining about the company, the benefit package, the cafeteria food, or any other topic that fosters negativity – YouTube ‘Debbie Downer’ for a visual representation.
The ‘saddle up’ leader – passion, drive and an ability to foster the growth of those around him/her, the saddle up leader is the driver of change and growth. This leader has buy in, likeability and the energy to forge forward. Authenticity is a key characteristic of this leader, encouraging comfort & respect from those around him or her. The ‘saddle up’ leader has skills that cannot be learned; the desire, motivation and wherewithal to foster other leaders and bring about long-term, sustainable change.
No doubt you have been surrounded by one or all of the above leaders at some point in your life. Being a leader does not mean you have all the answers, it simply means that you are humble enough to ask for them and fearless enough to lead the charge for new, innovative ones. Leadership is a responsibility, not a title, and unfortunately, a responsibility that many are not willing to assume. Start today by being the leader you always wanted and ‘saddle up.’