4 Types of Leaders

4 Types of Leaders - Connected Leader

As you rise in an organization your success will depend more on how well you lead and develop people than how well you can still build a widget.  The higher you climb in an organization the more crucial it will be for you to make this transition and apply yourself in a healthy mix between the people and the projects. In this post I will describe 4 types of leaders in organizations, only 1 of which I believe builds strong leaders, team engagement, and long term success.

I can remember when I first took a leadership position at work as an entry level manager. I was fortunate to have a great boss leading me. He taught me the importance of “getting out of the weeds”. I learned about delegation. I learned to communicate at a senior level. The next few years were a tremendous learning opportunity and brought growth. While some entry level managers never make it out of the weeds, I was fortunate enough to make it through this challenging test.

If you are in leadership at any level I challenge you to think about the amount of time you spend on simply two activities; doing the work and developing people. To be successful and create the growth your team needs you must have the ability to differentiate the two activities above.

The higher you climb in an organization the more you should remove yourself from doing the work and add yourself to developing people Click To Tweet

So here they are, the 4 types of leaders.

The Micro Manager Leader

This leader is in the weeds! He spends most of all of his time doing work, and very little to none of his time developing people. This type of leader is often disconnected from the vision of the larger group. They are consumed with getting the work done and may not be aware of the team they have to help them get it done. This leadership style can be stifling to talented team members.  Often this leader thinks or projects that the team isn’t capable of success without their significant input.

As a leader, if you focus on doing work over developing people you are paying for a short term win with the steep price of your long term success Click To Tweet
The Maxed Out Leader

This leader still does a tremendous amount of work, but also spends a little time developing people. She likely understands and values her team members but because of the time spent doing the work, she has little time left for growth. As a result, the leader and her team are MAXED out on growth. If this team is asked to build new products, create positive change, there will be rough waters ahead. The team likely respects this leader, but turnover could result just purely based on lack of growth and opportunity.

The Out of Touch Leader

This leader spends ZERO time doing work, but also spends ZERO time developing people. As a result this leader is officially out of touch. The role of “Manager” has made him large and in charge.  He will struggle to represent the team to senior leaders. This leader will not have the respect or trust from the team and will soon find themselves disconnected from both the vision of the organization and the team members they lead. Turnover will likely be high with this type of leader. This is the worst place for a leader to be. Team results will quickly suffer and organizational accountability will likely be handed down.

The Connected Leader

This leader understands the healthy balance between work and people. She spends most of her time developing people and stays connected to the work through her team. This leader does not do the work but stays connected to it through the people. By building relationships, this leader coaches and advises on challenges that arise. They empower their teams to make decisions and create positive change. They are connected to the vision of the organization and to the hearts of their team members, because of the time spent genuinely developing them.  This leader and her team grows. Turnover is low on under this leader. Outstanding short term results turn into sustained long term success.

Final Thoughts:

If you are reading this you are probably looking for ways to become a better leader! Being a connected leader is the sweet spot and where we should strive to be as we lead our teams and organizations.

  • Poor leaders do the work (steal growth opportunities from your team members)
  • Average leaders delegate the work (hand out to-do lists)
  • Good leaders empower people (give responsibility and decision making)
  • Great leaders build leaders (grow other leaders who can do the same)

If this has helped you at all please leave us some feedback in the comments. If you have a team that would benefit from a teaching on this you contact us here to setup a quick conversation. We would love to connect with you.


8 thoughts on “4 Types of Leaders

  1. Troy says:

    This is a great read on leadership! Definitely seeking to be a connected leader but admittedly get caught up in the work all too often!

  2. Brayden says:

    Aaron – Lots of good stuff here. I would add that many managers fall into the trap of spending most of their time on their lowest performers (which is backwards). Not everyone can be developed into a great leader, but if you hire great people, it is amazing how much better your leadership skills get!

  3. Jack says:

    Excellent in content and wonderfully concise! Always good to be reminded of how vital great leadership is to the achievement of any team.

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