CEO & Founder at THE HR ICU. Providing simple, affordable and time-efficient HR tools for all levels of people leaders in an organization.
Leaders have existed for decades, yet the definition of a leader has altered based on developments in society, studies and also by adapting to modern analogies of what being a leader entails. Many people who become leaders never truly set out on this path, however, it’s important to understand what type of leader you are.
When it comes to defining a leader, the resources are endless. But I tend to focus on these four categories, as they seem to sum up the leaders I have encountered in my 20-plus years working in the human resources field.
The Laissez-Faire Leader
This type of leader likes to let employees flourish on their own. They like to provide support by offering the necessary tools and resources; however, their overall leadership is at arm’s length. They let staff figure things out for themselves not because they don’t want to help but because they believe this style develops strong relationships with people, as it gives them space. They tend to get along with everyone and avoid ruffling feathers.
On the other hand, this can also mean they don’t stand up for things because it could be seen as confrontational. They are highly motivated by being a team player and being a consensus builder. They can, however, be perceived as not assertive enough, too agreeable or perhaps even avoid conflict altogether.
As you would assume, a visionary is great for coming up with ideas and feeling inspired. They are the type of person who tends to have a progressive look toward the future, and they engage well with others to get them to buy into their vision.
Since they are the creative type, they could be impulsive in their decision making, which can sometimes result in poor follow-through. They have an abundance of ideas, but they may need some help getting those ideas onto paper so they can be investigated and perhaps implemented. They can also have the “squirrel syndrome,” as they get easily distracted. Their laugh is contagious, and they tend to smile a lot.
The Analytical Leader
This type of leader needs everything written down step by step so they can process the information and make the best recommendation after reviewing all possibilities. They tend to write out their to-do list just so they can scratch things off because of the feeling of accomplishment it gives them.
This leader’s attention to detail also helps them be organized and thorough. They are the person you want reviewing that document before it gets released to the whole company. They also like to tally up employee’s opinions, as it makes both the leader and employee feel that they are being inclusive.
Sometimes being too detailed can hold them back from making a decision, which leads them to being risk-averse. They also tend to not be good leaders in emergency situations because they are not comfortable making hasty decisions.
The Dominant Leader
This person may sometimes be called a dictator and often has a “my way or the highway” attitude. They are often more military in their style but are known to be great in times of crisis. They do their best thinking under pressure and thrive on being sent in to clean up disasters, restructure, etc.
They do not like explaining themselves or the process; they simply want action and they want it yesterday. This means they focus on the end result and are not bothered by the minutiae of how they will get there — they just know they will. They can also be seen as insensitive, lack empathy and are known to be impatient. They tend to not discuss pleasantries with people and like to get straight to the point.
Now that you have read these descriptions, which do you believe best describes you? As a recap, the four main types of leaders are:
• Laissez-Faire: Focuses on the impact on people.
• Visionary: Likes to be inspired and inspiring.
• Analytical: Needs to have all the facts.
• Dominant: Likes to be in control.
Or shall I rephrase and ask you what type of leader you want to be? Are you stronger in one style over another? Do you think you have some traits from each style?
What it boils down to is that most of us have one style we lean more toward. This style defines who we are. It’s how we wake up in the morning, it’s how our brain is wired. However, we can absolutely sway from one style to another based on the situation, the people around us or even based on personal developments we are going through.
What’s important is that we identify and know who we are so that we can adapt our style to the person and or situation. If we want to be great leaders, it is not the responsibility of others to adapt to us, it is our responsibility to adapt to them.