Leaders are complicated people. And to think a single word can describe us would be the definition of over-simplification. But we all do have patterns and tendencies that result in a word or two (or three) becoming the labels for which we are known. Here are 7 of the most common leadership labels we have seen. Some are not so nice. Others are much more appealing. Which ones best reflect you?
“There is something exciting ahead, and we can attain it!” Inspirational leaders are known for using the power of vision, words and stories to motivate others to accomplish something great. Their charisma is motivating and the picture of the future is energizing – resulting in a lot of energy and passion.
“I am more powerful than you.” Leaders who lead by way of intimidation are known for using anger, threat, and general meanness to get you to do what they want. This may not sound appealing, but it’s more prevalent than you may think.
“I value you and enjoy connecting with you.” These are leaders who use care, truth and connection to form relational capital. This capital allows people to follow them and want to support them by choice rather than by force.
“I am the expert here.” Knowledge-based leaders have expertise, and it is that expertise that provides them with the ability to guide others. In other words, they know something others do not, and everyone is not an equal when it comes to knowledge.
“I am the boss.” If you have ever heard a leader say, “You report to me so do what I tell you!”, this is a leader who is using his or her position as the primary motivator to get a team member to act. Positional leaders have a legitimate claim since they do have the position, but it seldom will result in long-term health and performance.
“Policies are vital and must be followed above all else.” These leaders are policy-centric – they feel strongly that policies are there for a reason and everyone must follow them. Period! No exceptions!! Such leaders have a point. There certainly are some policies that should never be compromised… never! However, not all policies are equal in importance. And if all we needed was policies, there would be no need for leaders or discernment – all we would need is a policy manual and policy enforcers!
“My primary goal is to help you to be successful.” Leaders who lead by way of service really aren’t as concerned about position, title or policy. They just want to help those who report to them be their best and help the organization or team they lead to be its best. What they may lack in charisma, they make up for in service.
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center Consulting Group and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of organizational assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include an M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Design from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership from The Union Institute.