By Dave Beeson, Member, Executive Leadership Alliance International
Almost everyone is asked to lead at some point in their career, whether that is to lead a group discussion or to manage a Fortune 500 corporation. Whatever the extent of the leadership tasks requested of you, knowing your leadership style can make it easier for you to formulate your plan and work with others.
There are a lot of ways to define leadership style, but for simplicity, leadership can be defined using four general personality types. Knowing them can help each of us define our own management style. Those types are Commander, Peacemaker, Wizard and Rainmaker.
COMMANDER – The commander leads by giving orders. The orders are followed and results are achieved. Input is accepted, but the Commander is the Boss and will lead the group where it needs to go. Similar to a Dog Sled Team, all the members work hard and pull. But only the Lead Dog can control where the team is going.
PEACEMAKER – The Peacemaker leads by building consensus. Input is solicited from the team and a group plan is developed. The leader considers personalities and opinions in developing their leadership plan. Much the way a Shepherd guides his flock. The Shepherd knows where they need to be and when, but allows the flock to move somewhat freely in that direction. As long as the result is achieved, the group will have flexibility in its movement.
WIZARD – The Wizard leads because they have extensive technical expertise or have specific creative abilities needed to achieve the goal. The team follows because they have a far better chance of success by following the leader than by striking out on their own. An example might be the lead design engineer, who is now the President of a division. No one else knows the product or systems like they do.
RAINMAKER – The team follows the Rainmaker because he/she has a strong relationship with the customers. The strength of the relationship can be a key factor in the success of the team. Think of a top sales person with years of customer contacts now in charge of the company.
In many cases, you may be a combination of more than one of these types. For instance you may find that you are a Commander/Rainmaker or a Peacemaker/Wizard. Knowing your leadership style can give you an advantage over your competition. You will start to see these traits in others. You may find that as you hire management talent, one style fits your company better than another. You may find that different groups within your company respond better to one style than to another. All of these are possible benefits to knowing what kind of leader you are.