4 Kinds of Leaders


4Do you know what kind of leader you are?  Do you know the difference between how you are naturally wired to lead and how you choose to lead?

There are myriad models explaining the various kinds of leadership styles, management roles, and types of leaders there are.  Many of these reflect your natural propensity, wiring, or gifting as it pertains to leading others.

Two models I’ve greatly appreciated speak to how each of us is naturally wired to lead.  The Adizes model outlines the 4 Management/Leadership Roles that every company needs to grow to maturity:  Producer, Administrator, Entrepreneur, and Integrator.

Likewise, Bill Hybels in his book Courageous Leadership outlines 10 different leadership styles people naturally demonstrate when they lead.  The 10 styles are: Visionary, Directional, Strategic, Managing, Motivational, Shepherding, Team-Building, Entrepreneurial, Re-engineering and Bridge-Building.

I’m not going to dive into the specifics of these kinds of leadership styles and roles.  My point is simply this: these models help us discover the style or role we will naturally adopt when we lead.  For example: no matter where you put me, I will be an entrepreneurial, motivational and visionary leader.

What I want to present to you is 4 kinds of leaders you can choose to be.  Yes, you have leadership styles you naturally operate in.  In addition to that, you can choose to be 4 different kinds of leaders as you’re operating in your particular leadership styles.

These 4 kinds of leaders represent the various combinations of how supportive you are, and how directive you are in your leadership.  The 4 types of leaders are:

  1. Accelerator
  2. Motivator
  3. Dictator
  4. Spectator

An Accelerator is a leader who accelerates growth.  They provide high support and high direction.  They’re motivating their people well and they’re providing clear direction in regard to what needs to be done and the standard to which it needs to be done.

A Motivator is a leader who motivates their people.  They provide high support and low direction.  Another name we could use is a cheerleader.  They’re a great support to their people but don’t provide much direction.  Their people have a fair degree of freedom and autonomy.

A Dictator is a leader who dictates to their people what needs to be done and how it needs to be done.  Not much support is provided, and very little collaboration takes place.  The Dictator know what’s best and tells their people what they should be doing.

A Spectator is a leader who’s watching and aware of what’s going on with their people, but does not engage.  They leave their people to work through things on their own.  There is very little support and very little direction, if any, provided.  Their people are highly autonomous with lots of freedom to make decisions, and mistakes.

Can you choose to be any of these 4 kinds of leaders?  Absolutely.  No matter what your natural leadership style is, you can be any of these kinds of leaders.

I have no doubt that most of us would suppose the “best” type of leader is an Accelerator.  I would agree.  However, a great leader is also able to effectively operate as any of the other 3 kinds of leaders.

Are there some circumstances when a leader needs to be more of a Dictator?  Yes.  There are crisis situations when time is of the essence and a leader needs to clearly and decisively point the way.

Likewise, are there other situations when a leaders needs to “spectate” and allow his/her people to find their own way, and develop their own motivation?  Yes.  And, are there still other situations when people need support to enable them to test out new ways of doing things with little or no direction?  Yes again.

Different people, at different times, in different situations require a different kind of leader to enable them to achieve their best results.  Let’s choose to vary our level of support and direction appropriately to maximize the growth in our people and in our organizations.

A strong and mature leader understands how and when to be an Accelerator, a Motivator, a Dictator, and a Spectator.

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Leading and Living on Purpose.