Posted (binsar) in Article on February-1-2008
‘ I’ve been giving some leadership training for youth in the last two years. And based on that experience, let me share some of my thoughts about it. First of all leadership does not always come in a form of a Superman character saving the day. Sometimes, leadership comes in a very humble way like telling you to stop grumbling about your day and try to make the best of it. It is not easy to be a leader, and for some it is not easy to be lead by someone else. I’m not going to share my full research or a long discussion on what leadership is. I only want to post a little idea of what leadership is all about according to my limited knowledge.
‘ Based on my humble study, and a fruitful discussion with my friend Samantha Tan, we came up with our own theory of types of leaders. These types that I’m going to share is about the form of a leader in terms of position, work, and personality.
1. The Hero Type.
The hero type leaders are the ones who will come up front when there is trouble. They will be the one who solve the problem, the one whom you can see clearly leading the people. This type of leader is quite obvious and recognizable in our daily lives. You can point who they are easily. They have charisma and the capability to influence people to do what they want you to do. The hero type is the kind of leader that you expect to bring you out of trouble or lead you to an important project that you cannot bear to fail. If I have to give a real example, then this type would be the general in the army. You can see them, you will listen to them, and you have full faith in their abilities. This would resemblance the relation type that Ki Hajar Dewantara described as Ing Ngarso Sung Tulodho (in the front giving examples).
2. The Teacher Type.
The teacher type of leaders will not be as obvious as our hero ones. This would be the kind of leaders that you know exist but did not really play a significant role out in the public. They are not the decision taker but what they say will influence the decision. They are the leaders that are not leading in front, they lead us side by side with their experience and expertise. In the army, as an example, this type of leaders would be the people who teaches in the military academy, high in rank but not necessarily leads the battle. This would be the Inga Madya Mangun Karso (in the middle giving encouragements).
3. The Lover Type
The lover type of leaders are the ones who would be difficult to recognize. They don’t come in front and lead everyone. They would be the encourager and the ones who lead the hero type. This type of leaders are the ones who are happy to implement their ideas and goals without being recognized for it. These are the heroes without names. There will always be a great person behind a great leader, and they are the lover type leaders. They will give brilliant ideas and influence the decision taker. In the army, they are the intelligence and the important political leaders that influence all the generals. In my opinion, this type of leader is the hardest to handle because sometimes we don’t know who they are but we can feel their presence. This is not exactly the same as tut wuri handayani (in the back ready to give assistance) in Ki Hajar Dewantara’s idea, but functions more or less the same.
‘ You can lead with the three types characteristic all at the same time, and you can lead with one type as well. Not everyone are is able to have those three types. The one who draws the most attention is the hero type, and the lover type gets the less. Whatever type you have, all contributes important leading skills towards the group they are in.
‘ Those are the three types of leaders according to my opinion. We will see another classification of leaders by true leadership practitioners. Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, in Primal Leadership, describe six styles of leading that have different effects on the emotions of the target followers. These are styles, not types. Any leader can use any style, and a good mix that is customised to the situation is generally the most effective approach.
The Visionary Leader
The Visionary Leader moves people towards a shared vision, telling them where to go but not how to get there – thus motivating them to struggle forwards. They openly share information, hence giving knowledge power to others.
They can fail when trying to motivate more experienced experts or peers.
This style is best when a new direction is needed.
Overall, it has a very strong impact on the climate.
The Coaching Leader connects wants to organizational goals, holding long conversations that reach beyond the workplace, helping people find strengths and weaknesses and tying these to career aspirations and actions. They are good at delegating challenging assignments, demonstrating faith that demands justification and which leads to high levels of loyalty.
Done badly, this style looks like micromanaging.
It is best used when individuals need to build long-term capabilities.
It has a highly positive impact on the climate.
The Affiliative Leader creates people connections and thus harmony within the organization. It is a very collaborative style which focuses on emotional needs over work needs. When done badly, it avoids emotionally distressing situations such as negative feedback. Done well, it is often used alongside visionary leadership. It is best used for healing rifts and getting through stressful situations. It has a positive impact on climate.
The Democratic Leader acts to value inputs and commitment via participation, listening to both the bad and the good news.
When done badly, it looks like lots of listening but very little effective action.
It is best used to gain buy-in or when simple inputs are needed ( when you are uncertain).
It has a positive impact on climate.
The Pace-setting Leader builds challenge and exciting goals for people, expecting excellence and often exemplifying it themselves. They identify poor performers and demand more of them. If necessary, they will roll up their sleeves and rescue the situation themselves.
They tend to be low on guidance, expecting people to know what to do. They get short term results but over the long term this style can lead to exhaustion and decline.
Done badly, it lacks Emotional Intelligence, especially self-management. A classic problem happens when the ’star techie’ gets promoted.
It is best used for results from a motivated and competent team.
It often has a very negative effect on climate (because it is often poorly done).
The Commanding Leader soothes fears and gives clear directions by his or her powerful stance, commanding and expecting full compliance (agreement is not needed). They need emotional self-control for success and can seem cold and distant.
This approach is best in times of crisis when you need unquestioned rapid action and with problem employees who do not respond to other methods.
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