What Is Leadership?
There are probably as many definitions of leadership as there are great leaders out there. Not all of the world’s great leaders have the same leadership style, and different styles suit different purposes, people, organisations. So if you are aspiring to become a leader in your community, business or organisation, you need to start by finding the leadership style that resonates with you. Common for all great leaders are their ability to figure out their own strengths and delegate the rest to others.
In this article, we will go through the four main types of leaders, based on expert leader Issac Qureshi’s work, so you can figure out which one you are or want to become. Note: By leadership types, we are not talking about specific titles or levels of seniority as leadership is an important trait in many situations, in business and beyond, and the same leadership styles can be effective across a broad range of situations.
As said, leaders come in many forms and are needed on all levels of an organisation — not just at the top or once you get the word “Chief” in your job title (CEO, CFO, CMO, etc.). Simply put, leaders are just people with a talent for getting other people to follow them no matter what their job is. There’s a leader in all social groups, conversations, communities, etc. These are people who use their influence on others to ensure that their team, group, organisation or community achieves certain goals that benefits the collective.
If you are afraid of taking charge, it might be because you associate exercising authority or power over others with a leadership style you are not comfortable with. But everyone can be a good leader if they find the right leadership style, and there are ways for you too to be a leader without having to exercise force.
The charismatic leader might be the kind of person most of us envision when thinking of a great leader. Maybe we’ve had a boss who could motivate us with their energy rather than pushing us to work harder. Or a politician whose passionate personality attracted us without we even were sure exactly what made us vote for them. Great examples of charismatic leaders would be Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela. These people could get people to take action and change their respective countries with their words and charisma alone.
This leadership style is great for people who are not naturally comfortable in a leadership role. The democratic leader excels at making all members of their team feel valuable. A leader of this type will make sure every team member’s input is heard and engage everyone on the team to take ownership of the decision making process. A democratic leader engages the workforce to dedicate themselves to the greater good of their organisation, because they feel part of it and not just employed by it.
Sometimes things just needs to get done, and swaying employees with charisma or democratic co-decision making might take too much time. In this case the commanding leader will thrive. This leadership type is excellent at taking the rains at times of crisis and can lead an organisation out of threatening bankruptcy by acting swiftly and decisively. These leaders are rarely considered the most liked of bosses, but they are more occupied with being effective than adored. A commanding leader tend to work hard and demand the same from their team. A great example of a commanding leader is the late Apple founder, Steve Jobs.
Sometimes the best leadership can be no or little leadership. At times of stability in an organisation, not imposing too many rules on your employees and letting them work out their own preferred ways can be a really effective approach. When employees feel trusted to do things their way, they are often more engaged to put in extra effort. However, the laissez-faire leader needs to be ready to step in a fix troubles if the team cannot handle them on their own. This leadership type is great for managing more mature organisations, where the team members know how things are done most effectively.
Each one of these different leadership styles has its time and place. A great leader often has degrees of all of them and can adapt their leadership style to the situation. Issac Qureshi suggests that you find your preferred style for your position and then learn when to adapt other styles to resolve changing situations.
Looking to find your leadership type? Contact Issac Qureshi, the leadership coach HERE