Leadership can change the world. People underestimate the impact of being a great leader. No matter what you do for a living, the truth is you are a leader of some sort.
Good leadership principles are transferable from one area to another. Whether you lead an organization or lead your children, the people that are in your sphere of influence need your best leadership.
I love studying leadership. Jesus was an incredible, empowering leader. I believe that His leadership is like a magnet that attracts and empowers people.
When I find people that teach really good leadership principles I get so excited. This is one way to walk with the wise and become wise.
Recently I came across a podcast about the six types of leaders. It was such wisdom that I just have to share it with you!
Here are the six types of leaders he discussed and what we can learn from them. The first four types are extremely unhealthy types of leaders.
1. The Unpredictable Leader
The unpredictable leader is the type of leader who is always changing course. Nothing is predictable. You never know what they’re going to do or how they are going to react.
Unpredictable leaders produce hesitant followers because those under their leadership never know what to expect. Their followers became afraid and tentative, never knowing whether they are doing what’s expected or not.
Unpredictable leaders shift with the wind and change course often. There’s often no focus and no consistency. Without predictability, people become very hesitant under their leadership and the organization becomes frail.
This type of leadership is extremely unhealthy. To avoid being an unpredictable leader, work on consistency. When you say the same thing over and over, it builds trust. When your actions are consistent with your words, that builds trust.
Consistency matters so much in leadership. Successful people do consistently what normal people do occasionally. Being a leader with a consistently average plan is better than being a leader with a plan that is always changing.
2. The Domineering Leader
The domineering leader is one who thinks “my way or the highway”, or “because I said so”. They do what they want to do, and communicate the message to their followers that nobody else’s voice matters.
A domineering leader produces compliant followers. They may scare, intimidate, coerce or threaten people into following them. They may get short term results because people are compliant, but over time it is always devastating to the organization and the people involved.
Domineering leaders create weak teams. People don’t think for themselves. They don’t become better leaders. They don’t build confidence within the team or take any ownership. They simply do what they’ve been told.
Domineering leaders may get compliance in the short term, but they will never get commitment. Their people never develop an ownership mindset that serves the vision of the organization.
Jesus is never, ever a domineering leader. We must work hard to make sure we are never this type of unhealthy leader.
A great way to stay away from being domineering is to always ask questions and listen to people’s answers. Ask ten times as many questions as you give directions. This communicates that people’s ideas and opinions are valuable to you. Some types of questions to ask are: What do you think? What ideas do you have? If you were in charge what would you do?
3. The Secretive Leader
Secretive leaders keep certain things “secret” within their organization. They communicate to those under their leadership that they are not important enough to know certain things. They believe that some information is only for the top people to handle and that the rest of their team can’t handle it.
Secretive leaders produce guarded followers. If the leader keeps all the information, or only shares it with a few people, they communicate that they don’t trust the people that are serving their organization.
The reality is that if the leader can’t trust their team, how can they expect the team to trust them as a leader? A team is not a group of people who just work together, a team is a group of people who trust each other.
If the leader is guarded with information, then they are not communicating that they trust. If the team is guarded, they won’t give the leader feedback. They won’t bring about suggestions to make the organization better. They won’t feel trusted to share valuable solutions to problems.
Make sure that as a leader, you are surrounded with people that can tell you the truth. You will become a much more effective leader this way. Become transparent with what’s going on in the organization. Be honest. When you communicate information, you are communicating that you trust your team. This creates vision buy-in from the team. The more your team knows, the more they will care.
Refuse to be secretive in your leadership. Don’t assume that people know things. Communicate and then communicate some more! One of the greatest ways to create ownership in an organization is to communicate as much information as you can.
4. The Passive Leader
A passive leader is one who might know about a problem or challenge but they don’t do anything about it. They ignore or don’t even notice the problems that exist. They stand by the wayside and think “I hope this thing gets better” but they refuse to address the issues. They are conflict avoidant.
Good leaders work and dive into problems. When a leader doesn’t address the problem, the problem is no longer the problem. The problem becomes the leader.
Passive leaders produce disengaged followers. The followers think “if my leader doesn’t care enough to get involved in this, why should I?”. They become disengaged.
Passive leaders may feel discouraged, overwhelmed, helpless, or just don’t know what to do. This can be overcome by first acknowledging the problem and deciding to do something. Any kind of plan will produce forward momentum. An average plan is better than no plan.
Begin to engage. You don’t have to have the solution yet, but when you at least acknowledge that there is a problem, it will let your team know that you care.
5. The Healthy Leader
The healthy leader is going to be the opposite of the four negative types of leadership we talked about.
Instead of being unpredictable, they are predictable. They have a plan. They have a vision. They have direction. They are constantly working on the culture. They are aligning values with the direction of the organization. Their actions line up with what they say they believe.
Instead of being domineering, the healthy leader listens. The healthy leader collaborates and has vision buy-in from their team. The opinions and ideas of each team member matters. They give credit to others. They create an ownership mindset in those who are serving on the team.
A healthy leader is transparent rather than secretive. They trust their team and are trustworthy themselves. They extend trust to others but never demand it in return.
A healthy leader is active rather than passive. They know the mission and are engaged. They don’t always have the solutions, but they always acknowledge the problems.
The healthy leader produces faithful followers. The healthier the leader becomes, the healthier the organization is.
When an organization, team, or family has a healthy leader, everyone gets better and better. There is forward movement and growth.
6. The Empowering Leader
The empowering leader produces other great leaders. This is a step beyond the healthy leader.
The goal of an empowering leader is not to produce faithful followers, but to produce great leaders. An empowering leader does everything that a healthy leader does. They plan, listen, and serve. They are transparent and active. But an empowering leader is all about the people in the organization.
An empowering leader’s goal is to give responsibility away. They want to empower others to do more than they can do. They give away ownership and authority. Empowering leaders build others and then give them significant leadership responsibilities.
Empowering leaders don’t just tell people what to do. They give them the freedom to create and thereby create leaders.
How do you know if you are an empowering leader? Ask yourself this question: “how deep within the organization are people empowered to say yes?”. Can people deep within the organization say yes to a new hire, a new idea, or a new product line?
An empowering leader pushes the ability to say yes deep within the organization, rather than just allowing top or middle leadership to make these decisions. All members of the team feel empowered to make decisions, create change, and implement new ideas.
Empowering leaders don’t say “do what I do”. They say “do things I can’t do and our whole organization will get better”.
How to Lead Like Jesus
If you want to lead like Jesus, study how to become an empowering leader. Jesus is the most empowering person you will ever meet. He never beats you down. He never condescends or dishonors people. He values people at a level we can’t imagine.
When you’re around Jesus, you become a better leader. Jesus believes in you more than you believe in yourself. He gives you responsibility to make decisions and freedom to implement ideas. He gives away authority and ownership. He trusts and values you with all His heart!
Jesus lets you make mistakes and grow without condemnation or shame. He sees the positive in you to an extreme. This is why people want to be around Him and why His leadership is so incredibly effective. He is an empowering leader.
Becoming an Empowering Leader
To become an empowering leader, start by getting some honest feedback from your team.
To avoid being an unpredictable leader, ask your team questions such as: How am I unpredictable as a leader? What are one or two things I can do to build trust with predictability? Just by asking them, it gives them the freedom to bring insight to you.
To avoid being domineering, ask questions such as: how am I domineering? What can I do to make sure everyone has a chance to offer their wisdom? Do I let you do things I can’t do? Do I delegate well? Do you feel allowed to make mistakes and grow?
To avoid being a secretive leader, ask your team things like: what are three things I could share that will help people feel valued and care more about our mission? What do you not know that you want to know?
To avoid being a passive leader, remember to engage. Even if you don’t have the solutions, refuse to ignore the problems. Resist a victim mindset that says you’re helpless. Step up and take action.
Getting insight from your team matters more than you can imagine. If you are the only one bringing direction and ideas, you will be the ceiling on your organization.
Become an empowering leader by leading yourself first. Wherever you are, begin to grow as a leader in the areas where you need to grow. Study the leadership of Jesus. He is the ultimate example of an empowering leader!