What Kind of Leader Are You?
There are three distinct types of leaders. Do you know which one are you? Or are you all three?
- Entrepreneurial leaders are typically concentrated at lower levels of an organisation, and create value for customers with new products and services. Collectively, they move the organisation into unexplored territory.
- Enabling leaders, in the middle of the organisation, make sure the entrepreneurs have the resources and information they need, and feed these ideas to the upper tiers of the organisation.
- Architecting leaders, near the top, keep an eye on the whole game board, monitoring culture, high-level strategy, and structure.
Entrepreneurial Leaders do not doubt their ability and are willing to act and experiment – even in the face of failure. As an entrepreneurial leader you;
- have a strategic mindset and understand the goals of your organisation, each business unit, and their teams at a very deep level. When you take action, it’s with a desire and purpose to achieve set goals.
- have ground-level exposure to customers’ needs. Through external outreach and networking, you build a great sense of potential new opportunities.
- absorb cultural norms by having the mindset ‘it’s just how we do things here’.
- are persuasive, confident and have a deep understanding of organisational strategic goals.
- take the reins, and your team follows you.
- have the ability to pull people in but can also be but open to changing course if presented with an evidence-based argument.
- have humility and respect for the people around you. You put the success of the team and the company above your achievements.
Enabling Leaders focus on helping people develop as individuals, navigate organisational hurdles, connect with others, and stay in touch with larger business shifts. As an enabling leader you;
- often act more like a coach or mentor than a traditional boss would.
- ask thought-provoking questions that sometimes challenge rather than offering explicit direction.
- tend not to jump in and solve problems as you innately understand that by allowing others to do so, you enable dependence.
- give your team the tools to solve the problems and assist along the way as required.
- match the needs of the business with employees and often see potential in people to lead a project that will stretch them and help them to develop.
- have a broader view of the bigger picture so you can identify opportunities to create value to your team and your consumers, also, you can easily spot ‘holes’ that need to be filled.
- connect people so that they can grow and develop in their roles.
- actively seek to broaden your already-wide networks and are happy to link people across functional and geographic borders.
- put great emphasis and energy into keeping your team up-to-date by sharing information about business strategy, emerging opportunities and changes in the external environment.
- involve the broader team with a “we are you and you are us” culture. Where possible you like to do this face to face.
- see the organisation you work for as an ecosystem and value every individual part in the cycle.
- operationalise the vision and values of your organisation by using them as a compass for decision making. If you damage a ship below the waterline, it sinks.
Architecting Leaders focus most of their attention on big-picture issues that require changes in organisational culture, structure, and resources. As an architecting leader you:
- recognise that the game board needs to change because of shifts, maybe in ownership or governance structure.
- quickly and efficiently respond to external threats and opportunities but also serve as caretakers of internal operations.
- tend to see and fill holes that no one else has seen.
- understand the strategic priorities and find ways to make the company more effective or efficient.
- ask the challenging questions. For example, is the investment worth it, and does it make strategic sense? Then you ask for proof, to be shown how it does.
- will most likely have an excellent personal reputation within the organisation and with external stakeholders.
- make top-down decisions when required – sometimes the band-aid needs to be ripped off.
- are prepared to lose people in the team if they don’t agree with your decisions.
You may be a natural-born leader or maybe the role and responsibilities in your organisation have taken you down a particular path – but there is one thing to remember: as a leader you also need to follow a leader, to learn and grow.