4 Types of Leaders

There is a vast array of leadership styles, which result from a myriad of leader values and attributes.  The relationships between these aspects of leading define leaders within their respective context.  The following four types of leaders are described comparatively as a means of highlighting the importance of viewing leader effectiveness in the context of specific leadership roles, vice against collective assumptions regarding successful leadership.  For the purposes of this composition, leadership is considered the power or ability to lead a group.

Lead through example.  The Captain.

This leader embodies team spirit and provides a great example of the personal qualities which are agreeably desired by the group.  These qualities typically equate to success and warrant moral applause.  Although considered a leader, this individual is as much a member of the group as any other.  With a talent for recognizing values and deficits of group members this leader may directly train or instruct group members and is actively engaged.  Often, this leader sincerely wants members of the group to improve and ultimately aspires for group success.  This leader is competent with tasks and confident in purpose; by doing well, others conspire to contribute and succeed.  Concerning these types of leaders you will often hear versions of the following expressions: “She gets her hands dirty,” “He’s always the first one on the field and the last one off,” and “She motivates me.”  The Captain displays relatability, emotion congruent to context, empathy, drive, determination, will, assertiveness, composure, and compassion.

Lead through knowledge or expertise. The Brain.

This type of leader is a subject matter expert who inspires others toward accomplishment, purpose, or knowledge.  This leader is rational, efficient, and intelligent.  As a part of a group this individual provides insight and inherently gives the group an advantage.  It is helpful to be relatable; however, relatability is not a requirement as long as others can see the value in this person as a part of the group.  Often this person is simply good at what they do.  They may be perceived by others as “cutting edge” or “leading the way.”  This leader remains future-oriented and ahead of the curve.  Their contribution is not only beneficial to the group but frequently bears regional or global implications.  Members of the group may believe this leader is irreplaceable.  Furthermore, this type of leader may or may not be humble or even seen or heard.  This leader leads by accomplishment and through setting standards for others.  Thus it is this person’s contribution which warrants the individual’s status.  This type of leader includes both thought leaders and innovators, with the essence of this leader being influence.

Lead through management.  The Manager.

This leader makes you want to be great, foremost, by providing opportunity.  The Manager conceptualizes the group’s goals, and, though not necessarily possessing the skills to accomplish the tasks of the group, provides group members adequate time, resources, and compensation or incentive.  Relatability is helpful but not necessary, though it is essential for this leader to remain pragmatic and their ideas and actions justifiable.  This leader can effectively lead from the front or the rear and may use a top-down or bottom-up approach.  Regardless of the method, the key component is maintaining a harmonious atmosphere, where individuals are not simply told what to do, but are given standards which they perform against.  This leader may perform routine and impartial evaluations as well as compensate individuals in accordance with prescribed policy.  This leader doesn’t necessarily have to care about each individual on a personal level, but must understand group member’s concerns regarding their respective role within the group.  This leader does not have to be seen or heard as long as agreeable responsive actions transcend.   The Manager is successful through organizational skills, structure, delegation, and the fair and equal balance of reward and punishment.  Ultimately, this leader is respected, trusted, and viewed as preserving equilibrium.

Lead through leading.  The One.

This category is reserved for those individuals who seem to be born to lead.  The key component of this leader is balance.  If the individual members of a group, relatively equal in all other functionality (e.g. skill, knowledge, and motivation), were stranded on a desolate island, this individual would emerge as the leader.  This leader is charismatic, confident, empathetic, humble, and possesses a firm but relatable command presence.  This leader may be modestly physically attractive and is generally able to balance: compassion and authority, structure and freedom, communication and isolation, needs and wants, emotion and logic, resources and crutches, personal achievement and motivating others, leading from the front and leading from the rear as well as with consistency and flexibility.  This leader is thoughtful and prepared; preventative, yet reacts well under pressure and catastrophe.  It is not necessary for this leader to coerce or obligate the group; this person, despite being otherwise equal and despite being flawed, is accepted as the best person to lead…the one.

In closing, imagine the settings where these leaders may emerge.  From your experiences, identify the personalities and qualities of the individuals occupying these roles and begin to consider the contrasts.  Though we are not all considered leaders by others or ourselves, we often lead in some manner based on the roles we play.  Contemplate the roles you play and what it would take to be a leader in those roles.  Then ask yourself, “Am I a leader?”  If the answer is yes, I encourage you to share what it is that makes you a leader in the comments below.


Jordache Williams

Jordache Williams is currently based in Rock Hill, SC and is the Program Manager for Atlas Concepts, LLC. He is a Certified Life Coach and holds a Master’s Degree in Human Services.

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Counselor, Therapist, Coach, or Lifeline

Discover the Niche Life Coaching for Leaders

People need help.  A better tool, more time, less stress, more money, the right word in the closing paragraph of a thesis…humans from time to time get in a pinch.  We ask our spouse, our friends, our parents, our co-workers and the tall person walking down the grocery aisle for help.  Sometimes help is readily available, other times it’s scarce, if accessible at all.  So how is it that people go about getting help?

We evaluate the situation.  What exactly do I need and how much time do I have?

We evaluate our resources.  Who’s available, knowledgeable, and trustworthy?

We evaluate the costs.  What am I giving up, or going to owe, by reaching out?

Some of us don’t ever evaluate costs in a monetary sense as they relate to acquiring help with “life”.  This may be due to a lack of finances, but can also be attributed to a perceived sufficiency of available and free resources.  On the other hand, we often don’t mind paying for other services, even services we can accomplish ourselves (e.g. a car wash).  We use money to pay waiters to bring us food from the kitchen to the table…something we could do ourselves but “it’s just not the way it works.”  We accept these things, most of the time without question.  Why is it then, that so many of us question our own need for counseling, therapy and coaching?  How is taking care of our emotions, feelings, and mental health different?  Let’s look at the aforementioned evaluation process again.

We evaluate the situation.  It’s not that serious.  It’s nothing I can’t handle.  “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

We evaluate our resources.  I don’t know any therapists, counselors or coaches.  Since I don’t know any, how can I possibly assess their knowledge or trustworthiness?

We evaluate the costs.  It’s not remotely feasible for me to pay for this kind of help.  It has to be expensive.

True enough, if we don’t already have a relationship with a helping professional, it proves difficult to just pick up a phone to get help with a situation, especially immediate help.  We already anticipate a long, drawn-out process with a great deal of paperwork and the scheduling of an appointment (which we already believe will occur well past the amelioration of our current conundrum).  These understandings generally leave us fending for ourselves and, more times than not, we get by.  But many of these times we actually are “worse for the wear.”

If you want to avoid learning hard lessons, missing opportunities and wasting time and resources, it may be prudent to take a closer look at some viable resources you’ve been skipping out on.  In reality, counselors, therapists and coaches should be staple, not stigma.  The services offered by these types of professionals are similar to any other services you don’t think twice about paying for…they provide something you want or need and some are better than others.  The key to finding the right kind of help is to look for it when you don’t need it.  Similar to grocery shopping when you’re hungry, what often happens is individuals get into such a bad place before they reach out for these types of services.  At that point, there has not been a solid evaluation of potential service providers, which may mean the individual you reach out to is not the best fit.  Not to mention, whoever that provider is, they are working an uphill battle, late in the game, with no history of you.  These factors lead to a meager success rate and you lacking confidence not only in that person, but oftentimes in the industry as a whole.

So if you’ve ever found yourself in a pinch with “life” and have felt like you haven’t had a person to turn to, take some time to visit a few local helping professionals.  Find out what they do.  Peruse the internet, evaluate the costs, research the accessibility and answer ALL of the questions you have regarding these professionals.  If you do this, you’re most likely going to find that someone for you.  That someone who is relevant, available, knowledgeable, trustworthy, affordable…that lifeline.

Ready to get started researching your options?  Need help distinguishing the differences between the types of helping professionals?  My latest eBook, Discover the Niche: Life Coaching for Leaders, may help.

Jordache Williams

 

Jordache Williams is currently based in Rock Hill, SC and is the Program Manager for Atlas Concepts, LLC. He is a Certified Life Coach and holds a Master’s Degree in Human Services.

Sharing as a Leader

sharing leader leadership

If You’re Not Sharing these 5 Things, You Could be a More Effective Leader…

Your insecurities.  The competent leader understands dominance is not the same as authority.  Attempting to be perceived as dominant by hiding your insecurities only ensures you won’t receive any aid with them.  When you are overly concerned about your own job security, it is difficult to not make every attempt to avoid being viewed as weak or vulnerable.  Sharing your vulnerabilities allows you to connect with those you lead, and also results in being provided for in ways (and by individuals) you otherwise would not.  The alternative (hiding your insecurities through dominance) actually promotes insecurities in other individuals throughout the organization, which creates an extremely unhealthy environment.

Responsibility.  Often individuals in leadership roles find themselves demanding actions of those structurally subordinate.  Simply articulating these demands in a manner which suggest they are a shared responsibility changes the dynamic of the request (e.g. delegating responsibility).  Your pride may be standing in the way of you allowing yourself to be perceived as sharing your workload.  Here again, those consumed with protecting their job find it difficult to share.  Remember, as a leader your litmus for success is the success of those you lead.

Rewards.  If you are getting them, it’s likely that your team is deserving of them as well.  Even when you are not receiving rewards it is possible that the members of your team are worthy of them.  Be innovative when rewarding productive associates.  If it’s feasible, distribute your own bonuses among your team, or simply use a portion of your income to buy a new Keurig for the office.  Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool useful in promoting achievement and fortifying relationships.

Updates, changes, and notifications.  The flow of information within an organization can be illustrated through the principles of hydraulics.  The confined space at the top of the organization often allows information to flow much more rapidly than the typically more voluminous lower tiers of the same organization.  Considering today’s technology, there is little excuse for the flow of information to become canalized.  Changes affect individuals differently and, as a leader, providing timely information is a great way to foster inclusiveness and afford individuals the necessary time to react.  If knowledge is power, then, as a leader, empower with knowledge.

Your time.  As a leader, you are likely busy undertaking managerial duties and keeping yourself organized, maybe even building processes and analyzing statistics.  You also, as an experienced leader understand the value of those you lead, especially in terms of productivity.  If you do make time for those structurally subordinate, it’s easy to find yourself spending that time protecting and encouraging those who are most productive.  Avoid the projection of favoritism by encouraging comradery.  Do this through spending meaningful time with all of those you lead.

Jordache Williams

 

Jordache Williams is currently based in Rock Hill, SC and is the Program Manager for Atlas Concepts, LLC. He is a Certified Life Coach and holds a Master’s Degree in Human Services.

 

 

5 Things to Avoid as a Leader

Losing the confidence of those you lead.  If you, as a leader, have ever been shocked by comments your supervisor reveals were made by your subordinates, you’ve likely made this mistake.  This may mean you have not made yourself available or you have not been accommodating.  In either course, those you lead have lost faith in your ability as a leader and have reached above you for aid.

Referring to those you lead as “people who work for you.”  Those you lead are constituents, associates, coworkers and, above all, individuals with just as much value as you.  Undervaluing those structurally subordinate isn’t a way to validate your authority, and by doing so, you adversely undermine your ability to motivate them.

Tasking those you lead versus sharing responsibility.  This is likely a result of your focus on your own success rather than the success of the team.  A productive environment thrives on inclusiveness, honesty and synergy.  “Making” someone do something creates dissonance, on the other hand, sharing responsibility perpetuates effectiveness and efficiency.

Losing sight of the human element.  Individuals you lead are comprised of more than a job description.  In order to be an effective leader you must possess the 3 Cs: care, concern, compassion.  Don’t believe a hard outer shell establishes your dominance.  There is little that pushes others away more assuredly than neglect.

Not listening.  As a leader, insights come from a variety of sources, none more important than those coming from the individuals you lead.  Feeling pressed for time, being arrogant and, again, undervaluing those you lead are all causes of dismissing recommendations from those structurally subordinate.

Atlas Concepts, LLC_Jordache Williams

Jordache Williams is currently based in Rock Hill, SC and is the Program Manager for Atlas Concepts, LLC. He is a Certified Life Coach and holds a Master’s Degree in Human Services.