By definition, a leader has followers. A leader influences other people.
If you have people following you, whether you’re leading a sports team, a business team, or your family, you are a leader if others depend on you to make decisions and look up to you for directions.
The opposite is also true. If you think you’re a leader but there’s nobody following you, you will need to find out why.
You can also be a leader in the online community. You can be a thought leader through your blog, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, or podcast. If you have many people who keep coming back to your blog, Facebook page, or your Twitter tweets, you are a leader. Other people are interested in what you have to say.
A leader has to be people-centered. He or she has to think about the greater good of the organization or team, sometimes put his or her own interests aside.
The authoritative leader
There are many types of leaders and leadership styles. Some leaders are more authoritative. They feel comfortable giving direct orders and speaking their mind directly. They have a keen sense of vision, and they take others with them on the journey to success.
Steve Jobs was such a leader. If you’ve read his biography, you will know that Steve Jobs had an interesting personality and often didn’t get along well with his business partners or employees. He was a true genius, with a clear vision and goal and a creative mind that few people can compare to.
The collaborative leader
Other leaders may be more empathetic. They are people-oriented, and choose to make decisions in a collaborative manner. They tend to be well-liked and people feel valued and comfortable around this type of leader.
I like to watch the TV show MasterChef. The chefs are often divided into 2 teams for their team challenges, with the 2 chefs who cooked the best dishes in the previous challenge appointed as leaders of the two teams.
Quite often you will see the two distinctive leadership styles at work in the two teams. One team leader would quickly decide on the menu by himself or herself, and give orders to the teammates on which chef handles which station: meat, vegetables, garnish, plating, etc.
The other leader, on the other hand, will gather his or her team, and ask for suggestions. After the menu has been decided, the leader asks each team member what station they want to do and ask for volunteers.
A team may throw its leader under the bus
If a team wins, usually the team will credit the whole team. They will say they had great teamwork.
If a team loses, a very different scenario happens. The team leader who used the authoritative approach is often faced with resentment from his or her own team. The team leader is often thrown under the bus when the team fails, and the most common explanation from the team is “The leader made the wrong decisions, causing our team to fail.”
On the other hand, the team leader that used the collaborative approach usually doesn’t face such hostility from the team members despite the team performance failure. The team members would blame the whole team for its failings, and not point fingers at the leader.
People like to have their say in a group decision
One explanation for this difference is because people like to be given ownership of what they do. If they are ordered to do something by their leader, they often feel resentment.
If the leader empowers them to make a group decision and also the choice to volunteer for tasks, the team member will be more willing to shoulder responsibility when the team performance fails to live up to par.
A leader with the ability to use both styles is likely to succeed
Both leadership styles can be used effectively. A leader that can develop traits of both styles can be more flexible in his or her leadership and adapt to the particular situation.
Which leadership style are you? Let me know in a comment below.
Today I looked at Google Analytics for my website, and I saw these interesting stats:
I had visitors to my website from 5 different countries: Vancouver (Canada), Beijing (China), Dusseldorf (Germany), Philadelphia (USA), and Nashik (India)! A very multinational, diversified audience indeed!
Calvin K. Lee, MBA, CPA, CA, CPA (Illinois) is a website owner and tech enthusiast. He’s interested in website building and creation, how to get the most out of a website by using SEO and social media, graphics design, and more. He can be found on Twitter @calvinklee2010 and YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/1R8rF9w