Managing our leaders

From an Article at HBR:

There are essentially 3 types of leaders –

1) Sun-like leaders. The quintessential sun-like leader is an entrepreneur, one who takes the lead in everything, just as the sun illuminates everything. Their subordinates get close supervision. These hands-on leaders sometimes feel like if they’re not involved, they’ve lost control — as their follower, you need to be aware of this sense of insecurity. When working with such a leader, be sympathetic. Include him in work where he can demonstrate his ability — he wants to be useful, so give him something to do! Invite him to get involved — he will do so anyway, and bringing him in increases the odds that he’ll support your work. Make your own job easier by leveraging his experience and his insights with customers and others.

2) Moon-like leaders. The moon reflects the light of the sun; a moon-like leader reflects the light of his employees. He is more open-minded and trusting of his people. Only when you lose your way — just like someone walking a dark road at night — would he step forward to shed light on what he thinks you should do. This kind of leadership gives employees room for development. However, trust between the follower and the leader does require timely maintenance; when the leader does step forward, be willing to answer questions and open your project up for inspection.

3) Star-like leaders. Leaders of this type will only indicate a direction, like the North Star. Their teams, however, still need a light source, so star-like leaders need followers who can step up and light the way for others. Only those leaders with great wisdom have the confidence to be star-like. Their empowerment shows high recognition for your capabilities. This kind of leadership only works when the leader has built a capable team that can function with minimal supervision. As a follower to this kind of leader, you’ve got a great platform, but you have to demonstrate that you deserve the trust you’ve been given.

Now, are we behaving in accordance to our boss’ style? And what about us – what kind of leaders are we?

For myself, I know I’m the ‘Sun-like’ leader who likes getting involved in everything and definitely don’t have the wisdom (not yet atleast!) to be a ‘Star-like’ leader. Having said that, for the first time, I’m seeing a ‘Star-like’ leader in action and I do aspire to be the same, someday.

What about you? What’s your boss’ style? And yours, of course?

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