13 October 2006

Leadership and two kinds of it

If you want to sort leadership, one could state, that there are only two kinds. The first kind is all about the leader. The second kind is all about the succes of the organization the leader works for.
In the case of the leader who stands central, the leader and his wishes will stand as norm. Something that would not be a problem if the leader had only to lead himself. Or when his wishes and standards coincide with those of his surroundings. It becomes a problem, when this leader starts to impose his wishes and standards on his surroundings, from his believe to be more knowledgeable than everybody else. Often such an all knowing leader will look for people to surround him, that will agree with him. Or else he will use any means possible to undermine and weaken the opinion of others. If the leader has enough power he will use it to get rid of those with a opposing opinion or make it impossible for them to work, so they will choose to leave.
Such an egocentric leader will believe that all successes are his doing and will explain all failures with every possible external reason available. If that means blaming his coworkers, so be it. But failure can never be his doing.

The second kind of leader has a attitude that seeks to find success for his surroundings. He knows, through observation, what his surrounding sees as success. This kind of leader will try to gather people around him, that will be strong in the aspects where his weaknesses lie. He wil also find the means and people who make it possible to be successful. And he will look for the strong sides of the people and the means that are at his disposable to create success.
The inclusive leader will acknowledge everyone who had a part in the success. He wil look at failure from its causes and try to learn from it, together with the people with whom he cooperates. This behavior does not mean that this kind of leader is afraid to take difficult decisions. Difficult decisions are part of what a leader has to do. The inclusive leader will have less need for these kinds of decisions. And they will be taken after all other options have been tried and proofed to be inadequate.

Making such a bipartition is off course extreme, because no human is black and white in personality. However it will be much less fun working for an egocentric leader than a inclusive leader. Even if the egocentric leader is completely or partly egocentric. So all one needs to do is find a leader, who finds his surroundings more important than himself.


  1. I have often thought that great leaders have a kind of pattern recognition ability that they might not even recognize but that is clearly part of their success.

    So when I read, "He knows, through observation, what his surrounding sees as success." I thought - "yes".

    Thank you for enlarging a good conversation on leadership!

  2. Glad to have been of service.

    What I wonder about is this, do you think that only leaders have this ability?

    Because I think it is an ability everyone has, but just uses differently than altruistic leaders. Most people use it to their own advantage, probably why also so many leaders become selfish and egocentric. You could use this ability for example to survive in the struggle for live. And most people just never discover, that being altruistic is just another way to survive together with others. It does take the conquering of ones fears, that is true. But then you are free to cooperate and live in the freedom to choose your own path

  3. One major downside to egocentric leaders is they want to be the center of attention. So in a sence they create a competative, backstabbing environment, where individual strive to be one of the favorites and favoritism ensues. The work environment takes on a hostile, distasteful climate.