Boss Lady

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what type of leader you are?


We’ve heard about quizzes and analytics that measure our personality type, our strengths, our emotional intelligence, our love language, and so on. These all provide an incredible treasure trove of insights that can be a gold mine for those who enjoy self-development and self-awareness. One of the areas of deep understanding that often go overlooked, however, are those specifically devoted to helping individuals understand their leadership type.

Why is it important to know your leadership type? For one, your team will naturally begin to emulate your leadership style in the workplace the more they work with you. An organized leader will typically encourage organized workers, just as a disorganized leader will encourage disorganization. Or, another example: a leader who encourages collaboration and input will often see employees who freely share their ideas and bounce projects off each other. On the flip side, a leader who repeatedly shoots down ideas or criticizes his team’s contributions will find his workers to be tight-lipped in meetings, unwilling to offer their thoughts for fear of reproach.

Knowing just how much your leadership style effects your team, their productivity, and the overall workplace as a whole, then, you can begin to see why knowing your leadership type is essential.

For the most part, over the course of developing your skills and talents in the workplace, you tend to come into your leadership style on your own, but we often carry with us the behaviours and leadership practices that we’ve learned from others—which isn’t always a good thing. Below, you’ll find four types of leaders you don’t want to become.

1. The ‘micromanager’ leader.

The micromanaging leader is perhaps one of the ones office workers most complain about. This leader is very detail-oriented and has a specific vision for how he wants an end result to look like. It’s not enough to give his employees instructions. He has to tell them exactly what to do and how to do it and maybe even when to do it. This stems not only from a dedication to make something the best it could be, but also a lack of trust in others and their ability to perform to your expectations.

If this sounds like you: It may be hard to completely give up the reins for a project, but the simple truth is that holding on to them isn’t doing your workplace any good. Not only are you spreading yourself thin by insisting that you closely supervise every project, but you’re prohibiting employees from stepping up to the plate to shine and grow.  Furthermore, micromanagement typically suffocates employees. In the absence of autonomy and creative license, employees can feel like their creativity is crippled and as if there’s no room to take ownership of a project. When you begin to fully delegate projects (even if you only take baby steps at first), however, you’ll be surprised by how people shine—and the end product might even turn out better than it would’ve had you done it yourself!

2. The ‘hands off’ leader.

This leader is the complete opposite of the micromanager. Instead of holding the reins tight and keeping a close eye on everything that’s going on in the office, she instead gives her employees all the freedom and flexibility they want! This might sound like a dream come true for some office workers, but those who’ve actually had such a person as a boss will probably tell you otherwise. That’s because this type of leader rarely gives directions for completing a project, guidelines for her expectations, or even assistance along the way. While it may seem empowering to set your workers lose in the office, you may find that productivity levels slump in the absence of direction and that delivered results don’t quite match what you were hoping for.

If this sounds like you: It’s possible to still empower your employees with freedom and flexibility while still giving them general guidelines for their work. While it may be uncomfortable at first to intervene in projects in this way, keep in mind that most of the time, your employees will actually appreciate your input and feedback. Further, they’ll get a better idea of your expectations and, moving forward, will consistently deliver better quality results that improve over time.

 3. The ‘shiny object syndrome’ leader.

This leader is something like a visionary. She’s creative, imaginative, and a stellar problem solver. Despite her unending supply of energy, however, her priorities shift regularly. One day, she may be excited about a new marketing campaign and roll out a robust set of goals and objectives…only to completely change her mind later that week and go with a new project! While there’s certainly nothing wrong with coming up with one great idea after another, it can be exhausting for employees to constantly shift gears. The absence of focus and consistency can make for an unpredictable workplace where workers become resentful because projects they spent time and energy on are no longer relevant.

If this sounds like you: It can be difficult to overcome ‘shiny object syndrome’. When a new idea comes to you, it’s tempting to run with it even at the expense of throwing away everything else you’ve been working on up until that point. However, employees may not feel as carefree about tossing projects that have taken a great deal of their time and energy, and it’s important to recognise that. One of the best things you can do is to communicate regularly with your team about shifting priorities, and to implement a system to test metrics between projects. As tempting as a project might be, metrics may show that you’re already on the best track for your company and don’t need to change gears at all.

4. The ‘workaholic’ leader.

There’s always someone in the office who’s a workaholic, and sometimes it’s the very leader of the pack himself! This person is all work and no play. You’ll even find them working outside of normal office hours, chewing away at tasks late into the night and over the weekends. They might even work on the holidays! They’re passionate, ambitious, and driven, but their focus is entirely on nothing but the jobs that need to be done, often at the expense of their very own wellness as well as the wellness of their employees.

If this sounds like you: It’s not a bad thing to care so much about your work, but it’s essential to master the art of balance. Arianna Huffington realized this when her workaholic habits caused her to collapse from exhaustion one day. Now she speaks out about the importance of taking care of mind, body, and spirit. Demanding that your employees work long hours and/or constantly make themselves available even outside of office hours can result in a toxic work environment where your own team members resent you and their job. The fact of the matter is that people have lives outside of the office: families, friends, hobbies, passions, and more. When you honor that and respect people’s down time, you give them the space to recharge, meaning they’ll return to the office ready to give a task 100%.

What’s important to remember is that leadership is an ongoing journey. We’re always developing ourselves and acquiring new talents and skills along the way. If you’re not satisfied with your leadership style, or you know it needs some fine-tuning for the benefit of your employees and workplace, it’s never too late to turn a new leaf. One particular great idea is to hire a high-level coach who can help you step into exactly the type of leader you want to be. With their guidance and insights, you’ll not only shorten your learning curve—you’ll be surprised by how your employees and workplace change right along with you.

About Rosalind Cardinal

Rosalind Cardinal, known as ‘The Leadership Alchemist', is the Principal Consultant of Shaping Change, a consulting practice in the field of Organisational Development and Human Resources. She has coached clients at Executive and Senior Levels in government agencies, private enterprises, and the community sector and is a sought-after speaker and expert at conferences and events. Visit Shaping Change to learn new strategies and game-changing ideas toward becoming a better leader and to download Ros’ free e-book on leadership.

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