Which type of leader are you?


The John Wayne model makes people roll their eyes. The South American dictator model inspires passion, but getting passionate for a cause is a bit out of fashion at the moment. The eccentric football coach? Works for Belichick and Maradona, but their status came after the fame…no causality there. The media darling soon gets exposed as less than ideal. So who are the leader prototypes du jour?

1). The great orator – never really went out of style, but is definitely going strong at the moment. What  you say accounts for less than 10% of the message transmitted to the audience – a fact that certainly works in the orator’s favor.

2.) The business leader who looks the part – well-dressed, appears to have his/her life in order, is tall, doesn’t say anything remotely controversial, and appears to be good at making decisions (makes decisions by apparently considering all the options…but then does what he originally intended to do). Also known as the empty suit.

3.) The detail-oriented guy – heroically points out small errors that others made with little creative contribution of his own. Also prone to Monday morning quarterbacking – i.e. “if only I had controlled that decision, it would have turned out better.” Can cause entire corporations to grind to a halt as no one wants to make a decision that our hero has retrospectively predicted would turn out badly!

4.) The manipulator – people are not as clueless as this guy believes.

So, if those are some of the non-leader prototypes, what makes a good leader?

5.) The listener – does not just listen, but actually remains flexible enough to change based on feedback.

6.) The unifier – brings people together to solve a problem.

7.) Action Jackson – (pause for eye roll). Yep, this is the guy that turns plans into action. Understands that planning is only the first step and launches himself into execution. Prone to sudden outbursts of “get’er done!”

8.) The Danielson – Focus Danielson, Focus! The person that knows what’s important and what’s not, and allocates resources accordingly. Prioritizes rather than throwing lots at a wall to see what sticks.

9.) The realist – Not convinced that his judgment is always right, but not lacking in confidence either. Realizes that some of his good decisions were based on luck, and some bad decisions were his fault. Knows that it is all part of the game.

There’s plenty others…let’s see who can be the most creative in the comments section.


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4 Responses to “Which type of leader are you?”

  1. didntseethat Says:

    Hmm this is something which I have been wondering about myself. Over the last year and half Ive been working hard to listen to people more- and feel I am almost there (infact I do a bit too much now). I think I am between the manipulator and the realist. But I’d love to be the orrator! I feel like Dale Carnegie can perhaps lead me there- that is of course if such leader qualities can be learnt.

    Interesting post

  2. David Rajakovich Says:

    You have hit on a key issue, didntseethat…can leadership be learnt or not? There is a school of thought that says that a great deal of our behavior (if not all) is determined either by our genes or by our environment. However, I’d like to think we can improve ourselves through conscious effort to at least some extent.

    Also, I think each of us has a little bit of a few of these leadership types in us…hopefully more good than bad, but I’ve seen the whole spectrum!

  3. wally sanabria Says:

    David should agree, since he and I share a somewhat common leadership experience (courtesy of the US Army). I’d like to think that I learned at least four rules about the subject there:
    1) The right place to lead is from the front (thus the Infantry’s motto – “Follow me”).
    2) Never be afraid to admit a mistake, but learn enough from it to make different ones in the future.
    3)Encourage and allow other members of your team to assume the leader role when the opportunity arises.
    4)Be humble in accepting credit for things that turn out well and generous in sharing that credit with your team; also be ready to accept blame for when they don’t go well. [Remember Truman’s “the Buck Stops here” and Eisenhower’s D-Day letter that he wrote but never sent.]

  4. David Rajakovich Says:

    Thanks, Wally…wise words from a man who has a great deal of leadership experience.

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