This article identifies different types of leaders and the followers they create. In addition to this, it also mentions how each kind of leader can grow.
- Unpredictable leaders produce hesitant followers. If you ever have the misfortune of working for an unpredictable leader, you never know what they’re going to do next. Since you don’t know what to expect, you inevitably become hesitant, fearful, and tentative. It’s impossible for the team to find consistency. If you think you might be an unpredictable leader, work on consistency. When you say the same thing over and over again as a leader, that builds trust. When your actions are consistent with your words that build trust. Consistency matters in leadership. People would follow a leader rather with a consistently average plan than a leader with a great plan, bad plan or a mediocre plan that changes all the time. Successful people do consistently what normal people do occasionally. Don’t be an unpredictable leader.
- Domineering leaders produce compliant followers. These leaders will have the attitude of my way or highway or because I said so that’s why or we are going to do what I want to do or your voice doesn’t matter. Finally, This is the way it is going to be. Domineering leaders create week teams. These types of leaders will intimidate or threaten people into following them. This might produce short-term results, but long term, they can be devastating. Domineering leaders foster a culture of ‘yes’ people. They might get compliance, but not commitment. The bigger your organization gets the more people are likely to fear you. Be intentional about not bullying your team or organization. Ask questions and really listen. A good rule of thumb is to ask ten times more questions than you give directions. Getting the insight and the wisdom from your team matters more than you can imagine. If you are the only one bringing direction, ideas, you will be the ceiling on your organization.
- Secretive leaders produce guarded followers. If you as a leader, keep all the information or there are just a few people at the top know what’s going on then what we are doing is that we are communicating to people that we don’t trust the people that are serving our organization. And the reality is if we don’t trust them then how in the world can we expect them to trust us? If your people are guarded, they’re not going to give you feedback. And if they don’t give you feedback, your days as an effective leader are numbered. That’s why transparency, vulnerability, and honesty are so important for leaders. Simon Sinek said it this way: “A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.” Be sure to use this as an opportunity to identify where you are and use it as an opportunity to have an honest conversation with your team. As leaders, we only see the organization in one direction. The people that are on the front lines are thinking about solutions to the problems that we do not even know exist. We have to engage their minds, their heart and their commitment to contribute to the organization or we are always going to be limited by what we know and what we can do. As a leader, if you are surrounded by people that cannot or will not tell the truth, your days of effectiveness are very numbered. We need to be transparent and we need to be vulnerable. We need to be honest when we communicate the information so that people can trust you. So we need to refuse to be secretive in our leadership. One of the biggest problem in a growing organization is that we tend to assume that people know everything. We should never assume. Communicate, communicate and communicate. The more they know the more they care.
- Passive leaders produce disengaged followers. If there’s a problem everyone can see, but the leader doesn’t fix it, eventually the problem is not the real issue—it’s the leader. In other words, when a leader doesn’t address the problem, the problem is no longer the problem. The problem becomes the leader. If a leader doesn’t care, the team isn’t going to care and they will become disengaged. Acknowledging the problem is the first step to overcoming passivity. If you’ve been a passive leader, start by doing something. If you find yourself being more passive right now, it might be because you are discouraged, you feel overwhelmed, might be because you feel slightly helpless or might be because you don’t know what to do. But if you are a leader, you are the one capable of making changes. If you are not supposed to be the leader, I believe you would be replaced as a leader. As a leader, it is your job to make changes. It’s OK to admit I don’t know what to do, I am not even sure what step to take next? Acknowledging the problem is the first step to overcome passivity. Then start doing something about it. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. Once there is forward momentum, it’s easier to adjust a moving car than it is one just sitting still. An average plan is better than no plan.
- Healthy leaders produce faithful followers. Instead of being unpredictable, a healthy leader has a clear vision. Instead of being domineering, a healthy leader listens and collaborates. Instead of being secretive, a healthy leader is transparent and trusting. Instead of being passive, a healthy leader is active. A healthy leader is engaged daily in the organization. If you work for a healthy leader, you’re going to want to follow, sacrifice, and give your best. The next type of leader, however, is a step beyond healthy.
- Empowering leaders don’t just produce followers, they produce other great leaders. Empowering leaders are going to do all the things a healthy leader does, and then do more. Empowering leaders are not focused on themselves. Instead, they empower people with the ability to say ‘yes’ to opportunities and vision. If people deep within the organization have the ability to say ‘yes,’ you have an empowering culture. People often ask how do you get and keep great staff members? I say you don’t just get them, you build them. You don’t find them, you mould them. The way you keep them is by giving them significant leadership responsibilities. If you just tell them to do what I tell you to do, they are going to be followers. I always tell team members that as a leader you can have control or you can have growth, but you cannot have both. If we delegate tasks, we are actually creating followers. We are creating people that only know how to do what we have directly asked them to do. That’s why as leaders we don’t just delegate tasks, instead, we delegate authority. If we delegate tasks we are creating followers but if we delegate authority we are creating leaders. Listen, if you wonder why you don’t keep some of your great employees. I will tell you why you don’t keep some of them. Because you have not let them soar. You have been a lid on them. You have told them what to do but you haven’t given them the freedom to create. When they create they don’t always get it right. But they learn and get better. As leaders we are going to do is that we are going to make decisions that only we can make and we are going to delegate the other decisions deeper into the organization. The better you become as a leader the fewer decisions you make. Your favourite words should be: “I trust you.”, “I believe in you.”, “You decide.”
Remember you don’t have to know it all to be a great leader. Be yourself. Why, because people would rather follow a leader who is always real than one who is always right.
If you have a team, then gather them and ask these questions:
- How unpredictable am I as a leader?
- What are one or two things I can do to build trust with predictability?
- Am I ever domineering? or How am I domineering?
- What can I do to make sure everyone has a chance to offer their wisdom?
- What are the 3 things that I could share that will help people feel valued and care more about our mission?
- Ask them what do you not know that you want to know?
- How deep into our organization have we empowered people to say yes?
Resources: Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast