If someone were to ask you why you want a leadership role, what would you say? Furthermore, if they were to ask you what motivates or drives you as a leader, how would you respond?
Consider three primary, overriding possibilities that we see in existence today
1. The Authoritarian Leader: This individual has a real desire to be the “boss”. He/she wants to be the authority figure of the group and can be on a self-serving power trip if the truth were really known. They are fueled by their ego and need to constantly be in control. They are self focused in ensuring results are meeting expectations and put extreme pressure on others to ensure the leader get’s what he/she “needs”. They expect everyone to fall in line and take direction without question. The atmosphere can be confrontational at times and results are a primary focus.
2. The Popularity Leader: This individual has an overriding desire to be liked. He/she wants to be appreciated and strives to have a harmonious atmosphere at work. They like calm, non-challenging discussions and avoid confrontation at all costs. They can be taken advantage of at times and can be influenced by stronger personalities and not even realize it. From time to time, this leader can get too close to individuals or groups and lose perspective
3. The Follower Driven Leader: A new term for most that basically indicates that this individual has the follower as their primary focus. More specifically, this leader is driven by a sincere desire for the collective best interest of the group being led. This leader takes input from valued advisors or followers and makes decisions that are in the best interest of those being led. The leader is not looking to make popular decisions, but, again, decisions that are in the best interest of the followers. The leader is not self-serving, but is a servant of the people. This leader takes responsibility and accountability as well as holds others to the same level of expectation. Poor performance is addressed directly and timely because it is an issue impacting the “best interest of the group”. People are engaged to share ideas and opinions, even though not all can be acted upon. The leader shares openly and is very honest with operational assessments. The leader invests in and develops other leaders to further this focus. This leader truly cares about the people but is not soft in expectations. He/she is fair, consistent, and has a strong drive for success because people benefit from the group’s success
Where do you see yourself as a leader. We can easily place people that we have worked for into one of these categories, but the problem lies with where we are in this analysis. The real problem though, for many of us, is that we jump into the role without giving any thought to the matter and have not established ourselves clearly in any category. Give it some thought. What kind of leader do you want to be? What actions do you need to take to start down that path? We will talk more about that in coming months.