What kind of leader are you?-Leadership Compass

By Tracy MacDonald
Dec 2016

Even if they don’t come in the form of super strength, super speed, the ability to fly or scale walls, we all have super powers. The challenge though, can be not just discovering them but knowing where and how to use them in the work environment, and even more specifically in the leadership space. When we talk about leaders, we are referencing all people at any level; just because you don’t have Senior Vice President or Executive Director as part of your title that doesn’t mean you are not, or can not, be recognized as a leader. This is when super powers show themselves most naturally and most vibrantly.

leadership compass

Super powers can come in all manner of forms and a variety of situations. To start with something simple, we can use the super power of organization. Whether at home or at work, at the top or entry level of the corporate food chain, organization is something most people can relate to. Some people are naturally organized, others are not. Those who may not find organizational habits as part of their DNA can still learn organizational skills. However, the difference between the two is that the person who is born to organize may be better equipped to make sense out of previously disorganized processes or workflows faster, or even with little time or warning. A person who has received organization training can make sense of chaos and improve workflows, but it may take longer to design and implement the solution. In both cases, organizational skills are used to solve problems, but for the person to whom it comes naturally, there will be a passion behind the changes and a deeper level of satisfaction with the result.

In the business world, there are some key leadership styles and types that we see through a variety of business sizes and types. Each is different but in the right setting each can be incredibly powerful when creating, and maintaining, a healthy business environment. As a leader, whether you are responsible for a group of 5, 50, or 5000 people, having the right leadership style for your team and the company is critical to success for the group as wella s your own professional growth.

There are eight leadership types that we see on a regular basis. Ranging from Optimal to Untrained, each style has both positive and negative traits as wella s areas of improvement. Each style also has its place in the business world but whether or not that place and that style are a match can be a source of struggle for success.

The Optimal leader is one who is flexible enough to use any effective leadership tactic that would serve witer groups within an organization or the organization as a whole. They are able to incorporate and be flexible between other leadership styles in order to be the most effective based on the needs of their colleagues and the goals they are striving to reach. Optimal leaders are coaches, ethical, flexible, approachable and promote collaboration, professional growth and a healthy work environment.

At the complete opposite end of the leadership spectrum is the Untrained leader. These leaders who are lacking skills and training often find themselves in these roles in startups or small companies where they have fallen into a position of leadership because they have been around since the beginning. Unfortunately, these leaders can be the most difficult to train because they often feel that they deserve the leadership role as a result of being part of the building of a company. When building needs become growth, these leaders will benefit greatly from training as  they are often very knowledgeable, but can lack exemplary communication skills, may be unknowingly contributing to an unhealthy work environment and may be so focused on the start up portion of a company that they lack long term vision.

Mixed in through these two extremes are other leadership styles we reference as: Aspirational, Influential, Autocratic, Apathetic, Good and Unskilled. Each has areas of strengths and weaknesses and room to share knowledge as well as receive training. Each has super powers- even the Untrained leader has a super power of knowledge. Some of the super powers that exist through these varying types of leadership styles are  high volumes of work, dedication to deadlines, easily trainable, competent, eager to learn, ethical, persuasive, charismatic, and dedicated to a healthy work environment. It would be incredibly rare to have a single leader with all of these super powers, especially when every leader has an inherent weakness. This is why training is so important regardless of which super power have or what your natural leadership style is.

All leaders have super powers. And no leader is without weakness. The best leaders are those who can recognize both in themselves and will seek opportunities to share their strengths, receive training to address the weaknesses, and partner with others to create strong leadership teams. Without healthy and proper leadership styles, a business cannot grow and evolve. But without guidance, it may be difficult to see where the areas are in which we need training. As a leader, we invite you to identify your own leadership style, find your super powers, and invest in yourself for training.

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