Different Leadership Style Definitions

Description and list of various leadership styles based on personality traits and historical figure examples.

Theories on leadership styles have been around for a while.The Classic Theory breaks down the styles into three basic categories; Autocratic, Democratic and Laissez-Faire.More recently though, there has been at least one major movement towards linking personality traits with leadership styles.Based on the works of Bolivian psychiatrist Oscar Ichazo in the 1960's and expanded by others, this leadership theory breaks the styles down into 9 categories;Idealists, Mentors, Achiever, Innovators, Synthesizers, Partners, Cheerleaders, Challengers, and Diplomats. Each of these categories is associated with a different central fixation or passion in people's personalities. It is wise to note that no style reflects better leadership capabilities than any other.There are equally successful as well as ineffective leaders within each style. Each leadership style is examined below in greater detail.

The Idealist:

The Idealists are leaders whose fixation is perfection.At their best, Idealists will focus on high standard of excellence.They are seen as wise and discerning leaders with strong personal convictions and are extremely ethical.A highly developed Idealist can provide a proper vision for those they lead, and can be excellent teachers.

But the idealist can often lack patient and chastises those around him for falling short of perfection. They can lapse into self righteousness and intolerance. Anger is said to be the motivating force behind their personality. Since the Idealist is susceptible to anger, he can at times erupt with out warning when someone fails to live up to his high expectation.

Example of an Idealist:Mahatma Gandhi

The Mentor:

The leadership style of the Mentor can often be characterized as compassionate and caring.They are highly empathetic individuals who are able to see the best in others. They are champions of customer service in the work place, and gain their deepest satisfaction from helping to develop others.

The Mentor is motivated by a desired to be loved, needed and appreciated. When this desire is not met, or they perceive they are being betrayal, they can become vindictive.Mentors may also have trouble saying "no" to others.To be at their most effective they need to set clear boundaries with those they lead.

Example of a Mentor: Mother Teresa.

The Achiever:

Having vanity as their driving force, the Achievers are often go-getters who are willing to take risk to ensure success for the projects or organizations they lead.This type of leader is extremely efficient and goal oriented as well as a great self-promoter. The Achiever is often seen as charming and gracious.

Yet for all his ability to drive toward the goal, the Achiever can at times be blinded to reality or to failures along the way.They may also be viewed as exploitative and opportunistic, setting their personal goals ahead of those of the team.

Example of a Achiever: Bill Clinton.

The Innovator:

Every Organization can use an Innovator in a leadership role.With his unique ability to see things from a different perspective, this style of leadership will usually bring a fresh new outlook to a project or a problem. They are generally able to learn and master most skills that interest them. The Innovator is fixated on dissatisfaction, and as such always wonders if there is a better way of doing things.

Yet dissatisfaction may at times cause Innovators to be unable to live in the moment, and often times they have trouble seeing things the way the rest of the team or organization sees them. Left to their dissatisfaction for long periods of time, the Innovator may withdrawn and become reclusive.

Example of an Innovator: Albert Einstein

The Synthesizer:

Often capable of exerting influence on those around them, the Synthesizer has the ability to see the big picture and quickly find ways to integrate various elements of a project together. This type of leader may exhibit great insight into problems and the intelligence required to find the proper solutions. At their best, they can be leaders of great vision and strategy.

The fixation of the Synthesizer is detachment from emotions.This serves him well in the ability to integrate complex components, but it may lead him to be less than sympathetic to those around them.This trait may also cause the Synthesizer to be poor at giving positive reinforcement to those he leads.

Example of a Synthesizer: Richard Nixon

The Partner:

With fear as the chief driving force of their personality, the Partner tends to be a highly team oriented leader who bring out the best in others.Their worries can translate well into the ability of challenging others in ways that makes them accountable for their role within the team.Partners are seen as trustworthy, reliable, and capable of sacrifice for others.

Fear though can also cause self-doubt within Partners, and they may put off decisive actions on issues that trouble them.Some may take up the habit of looking for hidden agendas within the sub-ordinates they lead.

Example of a Partner: Colin Powell

The Cheerleader:

The charms and easy going nature of the Cheerleader can play a vital role in an organization. The Cheerleader are generally multi-talented and able to achieve distinction in various roles.Their fixation is on enthusiasm, and their optimistic nature may lead them to focus mostly on the good instead of the bad in a situation.

Because of their reluctance to see the bad side of a situation, the Cheerleader may become a poor contingency planner when leading a team, project or organization.At times they may gloss over details and not be as analytical as the task may require.

Example of a Cheerleader: John F. Kennedy

The Challenger:

With their extreme self confidence and rather soft heart, the Challenger can inspire loyalty from those he leads.The Challenger is driven by a fixation on power. They can take on vast amounts of responsibility, are highly independent, and show great courage in the face of adversity. Chalengers are willing to get in harms way in order to accomplish their goals and objectives.

Yet this need for power can sometimes result in the Challenger being viewed as a tyrant.They can also have problems admitting to any personal weaknesses, and have a tendency to become self absorbed.

Example of an Advocate: Fidel Castro

The Diplomat:

The Diplomat is a leader capable of building cooperation within a project or organization.They are the organization's referees.Challengers are also gifted at resolving problems between those who work for them, fostering group unity.Diplomats also have the ability to get along with anyone and are trusting of those around them. They are champions of diversity within the work place.

Often the draw back to their abilities to see all sides of an issue is that they may become out of touch with their own wishes.Motivated by a need to find harmony within their environment, the Diplomat may also become neglectful of real problems.

Example of a Diplomat: Abraham Lincoln

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