Peacock, Blue Collar or Under the Radar: Which best describes your leadership style?

Let me share four photos with you and then ask you to consider which word or words come to mind when you think of them as a leader:

Martin Luther King, Jr.   

Mother Teresa

Donald Trump

Omar Bradley

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes.  Depending upon our preferences we like some, tolerate some and even dislike or hate a few.  My point today is not about preference but about style.  While some well known leaders are closely associated with one or two predominant styles, the more important thing to know is that having only one style as a leader is a fast way to failure.  A leader with only one style is like a utility worker or construction worker with only one tool.  They may be an expert with that tool, but what do they do when they have a situation that requires a different tool or a different approach?

My focus today will be somewhat on leadership styles and more on the value of leaders who fly under the radar or who are lesser known.  Lesser known leaders are not less effective, but they are sometimes harder to know of or to pick out because their approach is more selfless and less about gaining attention.

When you think of a leader who worked in a selfless or servant oriented manner, who comes to mind for you?

I suspect that is hard for some of you to answer because we hear much more about leaders who are attention getters or even more who are shameless self promoters.  This post is crafted as an introduction to less noticeable leaders but it is in no way going to devalue or lessen the value or impact they bring.  To the contrary, I personally believe the best leaders are those who garner little attention and who toil on for the best and noblest of purposes.  More about that to come.

Getting back to our four photos, let me offer a word I would use for each of them.

MLK is a servant or visionary leader.

Mother Teresa is a servant leader.

Donald Trump is more of a peacock who is domineering and sometimes more focused on attention than results.

Omar Bradley is a tactical leader, or one I might characterize as a “blue collar” or “under the radar” leader.  

Each of you reading this post will have a style of leader you prfere.  I will not use the terms good or bad to characterize leadership, but some others may do so.  My intent is to begin by identifying styles leaders use and to then discuss when a specific style might be better applied.  In addition, in future posts I’ll spend time addressing how to know when you need to shift styles.  Leadership styles are somewhat like playing defense in a sport or even like dating.  You need to know that the other person(s) involved are doing and then you can react in order to be better prepared for success.

Blue Collar or Under the Radar leaders are less appealing to those who like leaders who are well known or who are good at gaining attention.

Peacocks are effective leaders when you are attempting to gain the attention of many, but remember that most stages are not big enough for more than one peacock.

I’ll be back again soon to talk about blue collar, under the radar and peacock leaders.  I’ll also cite some other writings that come from others about leadership styles you need to know about.

Which leadership style is your preferred style?

When does this preferred style help and when does it hinder your effectiveness?