There Are Over 10 Kinds of Leadership: Which One Are You?

November 13, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

Dear Leadership,

You are an elusive beast. Thousands of the world’s most intelligent authors, speakers, strategists and coaches have attempted to capture you and yet you remain ever elusive. Like a snow cat hiding in the mountains we only catch a glimpse of your coat when you decide to reveal yourself to us. We observe specks of trust, sincerity, respect, and innovation. And so you have many of us repeating the same information only with different words, hoping that each article will seem novel and that we can spin respect into reverence. There must be a difference, right?

It is my impression that you are more of a work of art than a work of science. It is not about the DNA of a leader but the way in which a leader chooses to lead. And, don’t take this the wrong way, but when was the last time someone updated your definition? A leader no longer needs to follow a pyramid hierarchy. In fact, learning how to inpower your team (different from empower) can deliver some of the most stunning results. This of course only comes from another observation. It comes from the many greats who have tried to study your elusive art and came up with their own language, culture or religion. And, because today is one of your many birthdays, I will list these different dialects as an ode to you below. What I hope, Leadership, is that more of the right people will stop just studying you and that less of the wrong people stop embodying you.

Your fan,

    • The Follow-Me Leader. A leader who expects other to follow his actions and do as he does.
    • The Authoritative Leader. Guides everyone to a common leader but sets a clear line on who has the authority to make decisions.
    • The Kind Leader. Leads through sincerity and honesty.
    • The Emotional Leader. Creates bonds that bring a feeling of commonality and sharing to the group.
    • The Coach. More of a 1-to-1 leadership model where the leader not only advises on a specific subject but can also be seen as an expert or mentor.
    • The Intimidating Leader. This coercive leader demands immediate compliance and often uses tactics such as blackmailing, sabotaging, humiliation and force to get their way.
    • The Teacher. This leader uses a democratic model in which a consensus is built through participation.
    • The Cognitive Leader Instead of saying “follow me” this leader constantly empowers it’s followers by asking: “What do you think?”
    • The Charismatic Leader. Has an epiphany over a certain aspect of leadership and focuses the rest of his life on sharing his message. (This usually leads to a lot of press, Ted Talks, books and products.)
    • The Laissez-Faire Leader. Lets everyone on his team “lead” the way in which they see fit. This model involves a lot of trust in your team and an established sense of responsibility for all involved.
    • The Innovative Leader. Changes the way in which we live life through a novel discovery, invention or creation. Normally, innovative leader stand for more than just their innovation and that (plus their success) is what attracts so many followers.

Which leadership style most resonates with you? Let us know below or email us at