Not another Leadership article

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Yes, the title is inspired by the satire “Not another teen movie”, which is a sendup to a whole bunch of teenager movies, with the scope of building a parody. I’m not saying that I’m trying to build a satire of my own with this article. No. Although I plan to sum up a a lot of leadership related posts which are constantly being uploaded online, some of them being a bit cringy (e.g.: a picture of nature with the text “YOU CAN DO IT, BELIEVE“, quoting great leaders and tagging them in a post, hoping that maybe some attention will be given back etc), my final intent is to build a summary of the meanings behind certain posts.

My personal belief is that a great percentage of people who attend to such a practice, do not have a strong understanding of the examples of leadership that they post, some of them being way out of context. Therefore, it wouldn’t hurt to bring some structure to those thoughts and build an ordered list. This isn’t innovative at all, this aren’t new discoveries or studies but it’s far better to have a bored audience rather than an uninformed one.

Here are the 6 types of leadership:

  1. Transactional
    • Transactional leaders or “Managers by exception “are a type of project leaders who strongly emphasize on the project goals and not the project teams.
    • Constantly analyzing the input, output and outcomes, they rely only on the KPIs. Thus, it makes sense for them to reward the (over)achievers and punish the underachievers. The mid-layer is ignored.
    • This is why they are called Managers by Exception, they focus only on the exceptionally good and the exceptionally bad.
  2. Servant Leader
    • The Servant Leader is most common in the Agile environments, being the building block of a Scrum Master.
    • Their approach is to make sure that the team has everything they need in order to complete their goals. They provide opportunity for growth, education, autonomy within the project and the well-being of others.
  3. Laissez-faire
    • The name comes from French, which would translate like “let things be done” or “let them do it“.
    • This type of leader has a “hands-off” approach to the project, leaving decision in the hands of the team and letting them create their own goals.
    • Although the team has a high level of independency, in time this type of leader might seem absent.
  4. Transformational
    • Transformational leaders are always driven by the need to continuously improve or find innovative solutions.
    • They seek to inspire and motivate the project team to achieve the project goals.
    • The team is empowered to take action, be innovative in the project work and accomplish through ambition
  5. Charismatic
    • Remember the learner types? The charismatic leader is a very good example of an Activist.
    • Loves to lead by the power of example.
    • Highly motivating, high energy and inspires the team through strong convictions about what’s possible and what the team can achieve.
  6. Interactional
    • Hybrid of all the above.
    • A coach who motivates the team to act, is excited and inspired about the project work, yet still holds the team accountable for their results.

This is the “science” behind it. This is the approach. This is what you have to know.

You can not choose what type of leadership you want to learn and apply. These types are strongly related to your organization, your personality and your emotional intelligence. That’s right. The degree of a human being being you choose to (or can) be. Before trying to lead somebody, to inspire, to motivate or to control, you first have to asses the degree to which you are capable of human interaction, of understanding a feedback, a reaction or an emotion.

In the list above you might recognize traits that make a good Project Manager and traits that make a good Leader. Depending on your personality and the choices you make, you might become:

  • a project manager with leadership skills
  • a leader with project management skills
  • a project manager with no leadership skills

For some, these are innate skill. For others, well…it’s more than obvious that they strongly rely only on books, articles, paragrapsh, quotes etc.

Remember: Be nice, have empathy. Listen. Be human

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