I want to talk about leadership. Often you hear and you see a lot of things for leadership training or how to be a leader, etc. Just like everything else, just like in business you have many alternatives. There are many different types of leaders that have been incredibly successful in life. What I want to do is go over some of the differences. I’m going to point you in the direction of a particular blog post that was done that really does a nice job of showing the differences with some examples. Now, I haven't done research and analyzed all the other research in this area. This episode is just to point out interesting leadership styles, done very well. For you, it is an opportunity to understand that there really can't be only one type of training and there are different styles that will appeal to different personalities. I was particularly impressed by research done by one individual.
This all started because I was getting a lot of information and hearing a lot of statements that I really had trouble believing. Remember, I’m always asking: “Why? How? What causes this?” questions of that sort. When it doesn’t make sense, I keep asking questions. I ran across this article as I was researching ideas on leadership. It’s by Suzanne Vickberg, PhD, so Dr. Vickberg. She’s a Social Personality Psychologist with very good training. She also has done a great deal of research, statistical and otherwise that gives her a very nice measurement and characteristics that are attributed to four different types of personalities that are leaders.
I’m not saying that there are exactly four types of leaders. What I’m saying is this is what she’s done is good and should be motivational. I’ve also seen examples in other studies and other research of seven, or five, or something, and people make up different categories. What I like is as an example, something to show you that yes, you can become a leader. You don’t necessarily have to be an outgoing, dynamic personality. You may be somebody who has a completely different set of characteristics. You may be that mathematician/engineer that could still be a leader.
Let me first go through an overview of some of these and what they are, and some of the examples that she gives. As I say, keep in mind there are many different types of leaders, so some of these would in a sense turn me off or may turn you off, others are people that you would follow. Just like we have different personalities, we have different products that go to different people. The idea of how to be a leader is a really loose concept because there are different types. Think of it very much like niche marketing or marketing across the internet. You can pick your industry, you can pick your market, and you will have people follow or buy your products. That’s what you have, in a sense, in a leader. It doesn’t mean that everybody in the world is going to follow you. It means that people that fit into certain norms or certain personality groups will follow you.
Forgetting training for a minute, let’s just talk about what compromises a leader. First of all, the four types that she mentions are a pioneer, a driver, a guardian, and an integrator. What does she mean by each of these? As a pioneer, it’s somebody who’s outgoing, somewhat adverse to detail. You know that person who stands up and is the life of the party? Think of it in that way. Spontaneous, willing to take risks, etc. Jump outside their comfort zone (see Comfort Zone). They don’t really seem to have fear. That may be good or bad in many situations. The driver style, what is the driver? Quantitative, logical, focused, competitive, scientist-oriented, so things that really are much more detailed. There will be many, many people that will follow that direction or leadership style. You can see immediately if you think of the different people who have been around you. You can think of those different types of personalities. I’ll give you four examples that she has on four quick, one-minute videos as examples each.
The guardian, is somebody who’s methodical, reserved, detail-oriented, protective in a sense. You’re thinking of somebody who values loyalty a great deal and wants order. The integrator is the diplomat. They’re empathetic, traditional, but they really have a desire to have that peaceful, non-controversial background and thought.
Examples that she gives on these, and this really shows the type and this is what really struck me. Do you remember the story of Ernest Shackleton? This is the guy who went to Antarctica. When tragedy hit, he left his people behind protected on an island where he went off all the way back to get other supplies and support. Another example was Queen Victoria who took her throne at 18 years of age and how thoroughly detailed, coverage of everything, and how she tried so much to make sure that she did everything that needed to be done for her . Some thought she would never read some of the things that was signed for her, but yet she did. She tried to greet everything that there was that she had to, and tried to be a guardian of her legacy and throne. Then Dr. Vickberg also gives an example of Teddy Roosevelt and Nelson Mandela, which you can listen to those to see how they are and what they are as examples (See the article and videos here).
Keep in mind the main focal point of this is to let you know, just as I tell you that there’s lots of opportunities in business in many different categories in many different ways, there are also different ways to be a leader and to be accepted as a leader. Don’t think in terms of: “Oh, that person is a leader.” Yes, they might be and maybe you feel very comfortable following them, but there may be some other situation where you might be the leader. What you have to do is examine what it is that you do, what it is that you need. Some of it will be things such as communicating well, whether that’s written or verbal communication. Others is making sure that the way you’re doing it well. If you’re that person, for example, she designates as the driver, you better have your logical things in order to have logical-following people behind you. The same would apply with a guardian personality.
What is your natural personality? Your natural personality may fall into one of these. The idea that if you’re going to start a business or be in business, part of that success is you’re going to have to lead. That means also you may need to hire people that will follow and will absorb, and will believe in what you’re doing. There may be people from a much broader spectrum that you really need in your company and you can get them, but they have to be amenable to the type of leadership you have. This also means the type of direction that you’re going to give them and the type of expectations you’re going to have of them. That really gets into how you form a company or relationship, whether it’s a virtual company or a real company where you have the right people around you that will accept and that you’ll be able to communicate with in the way that you would lead.
As I said, the link to the the site for the website blog has this information on it. Take a look at the videos, four videos, very short, only one minute each, but they really give you an intuition. Don’t just approach them as: “Can I be that kind of leader?” Also approach it from the standpoint of: “Gee, if I have a business, or am forming a business, or am growing a business, the people that I’m hiring to some extent have to be compatible with what I’m doing.” Keep in mind that I say: “to some extent,” because you need diversity. You need that person who’s going to fit into different roles, so you might need a guardian or somebody who’s really able to take the risks or spell out the risks, that they’re going to invite new ideas, imaginative ideas. As you’re doing each of those, they must understand you and you must understand them because you don’t want splits inside your company.
Good luck, whichever you do. If you have questions, thoughts, or ideas to extend – let me know, be very interested in hearing how you might apply this. Thank you very much.