What Kind of Leader Are You?

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Man behind a podium

The most popular leadership style in this country for many years has been authoritarian. It’s the top down style where one man or woman is in charge, and hands down the orders as they see necessary. Their subordinates really have little or nothing to say in the decision making process, and most of the time are more concerned about pleasing the boss then the customer.

This style of leadership, although it can get the job done, stifles creativity and productivity. Now I can see how this style of leadership would be important in the military, but in a business environment, it can stifle the soul of the business and, its employees.

I’ve seen various people in business and organizations promoted to positions of authority for doing a good job. That is probably one of the worse reasons to promote someone into that roll.

If someone does a good job, reward them, give them a raise, involve them more in the creative process, invite them to meetings for their input; but don’t put them in charge of other people.

I’ve been around people who have been good leaders throughout my life. They bring out the best in people, and make you feel like you matter and have a stake in the success of the organization.

The more authoritarian leaders I’ve been around tended to have the, “it’s my way or the highway” attitude. They didn’t make you feel needed or appreciated, but rather treated you like you’re replaceable and lucky to have that job.

The authoritarian may get the job done, but again, they stifle those that could help to make a service or product even better. Plus the best and brightest will leave as soon as a better opportunity comes.

The authoritarian model acts the same whether it’s in business or family. Hold your children down, dictate their every move, stifle their imagination and creativity; and the first chance they get, they will rebel and leave.

The authoritarian leader often leads from a distance as well. He or she might have little or no direct contact with the people in the trenches making their company money. They make decisions from a distance, and dictate what needs to be done from their viewpoint.

Have you ever watched the show Undercover Boss? It was great to watch the big boss from corporate headquarters dress up as a regular guy and go to work in mostly entry level positions within their company.

They had an opportunity to see things from the other side. They got to see how many of their decisions caused hardship on some employees. They also got to see how much more their employees had to offer if given the opportunity.

The really awesome part of the show was when the boss had that epiphany; and saw how their leadership style contributed to holding their company back. They also had the chance to see that the people working for them were real people, with real lives; and not just people filling positions and doing a job.

The other and much better leadership style is the servant leader.

A servant leader is one who believes in and encourages you to live up to your potential.

A servant leader is one who works to make sure that nothing stands in the way of you doing the very best job possible.

A servant leader inspires instead of threatens, encourages instead of demeans, listens instead of ignores.

A servant leader knows that the way they succeed is by helping their employees or subordinates succeed.

A servant leader, because of their leadership style, easily earns the respect, loyalty and admiration of those they lead.

Jesus Christ, without a doubt, was the ultimate Servant Leader. Although He was the Son of God, He didn’t speak, or look down on people. He did what any great servant leader would do; He brought out the best in people. While the Pharisees intimidated people into submission, Jesus encouraged, taught a better way, and was all about service.

If we are Christ’s, then we must follow His example, and treat others as He treated others. If you had a choice of Jesus or a Pharisee as a boss, who would you choose? Of course, the answer is obvious.

With that said, what kind of leader are you?

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