Four styles of leadership for the modern workplace

Published: 01 November 2017 By Harvard Business Review 2016

Four styles of leadership for the modern workplace

Business chiefs range from tough-minded pragmatists to risk-taking missionaries

 

The late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Business leaders who are modern missionaries aim to build something original and meaningful. Photograph: David Paul Morris/Getty Images

The late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Business leaders who are modern missionaries aim to build something original and meaningful. Photograph: David Paul Morris/Getty Images

 

Do you want to be part of a great success story? If so, you will have to wrestle with the question of what kind of leader you are, no matter where you are in your career.

Take a look at these four leadership styles, and see which one you most identify with.

1: The classic entrepreneur: these leaders care about the values their companies stand for, but it’s the dollars-and-cents value proposition that matters most.

They love to build killer products and butt-kicking companies. When faced with decisions about launching a new product, dealing with a disgruntled customer or selling the company to an eager suitor, they focus on tough-minded calculations and no-nonsense financial returns.

2: The modern missionary: these leaders aim for more than beating the competition; they want to build something original and meaningful. These leaders may take risks that classic entrepreneurs won’t, because the financial payoffs are not as important as the broader impact they hope to make.

3: The problem solver: they worry less about dramatic impact than about concrete results. They believe in the power of expertise and the value of experience.

These top-down, take-charge, the-buck-stops-here executives may be the most recognisable sorts of leaders, in terms of the image we carry around of what it takes to get things done.

4: The solution finder: this style is about incremental results and concrete solutions, but these leaders believe that the most powerful contributions often come from the most unexpected places – the hidden genius of their colleagues, the collective genius that surrounds their organisations.

These modest leaders believe that humility in the service of ambition is the right mindset to do big things in a world of huge unknowns. – (CopyrightHarvard Business Review 2016)

 

Previously published in The Irish Times.

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