We read for you… | The nine types of leaders

Unlocking other leader profiles is the perfect opportunity to improve your own leadership style. In this book, British financial journalist James Ashton describes nine types of leaders, each driven by their own motivation and personality.

Posted on September 14

Myriam Jezequel
Writer, HEC Montréal Management

An empire builder, the alpha leader projects the image of a dominant leader with world-class influence and control over his business, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. One thing is for sure, this type of leader has a strong character. Often charismatic, he inspires confidence. His lines of command are clear and his success is stunning, but he can also be inflexible, lacking in listening and has a weak capacity to adapt.

Lured by seemingly impossible missions, the recovering leader takes drastic measures to turn a situation around, even if it means becoming unpopular. His appetite for organizations in difficulty is matched only by the talent that he is able to simplify complex situations and summarize them in the form of a list of things to manage, but still necessary to raise the company sustainably. . Remember, for example, British entrepreneur Harriet Green, who was praised for her rescue of the Thomas Cook Group in the 2010s… before the company went bankrupt in 2019!

Stefan Bomhard, CEO of Imperial Brands, knows his product, its place in the market and the mindset of his customers himself. Like him, sales leaders excel where competition is fierce and where sales matter. Thoughtful and far-sighted, these leaders face the challenge of expanding their field of competence.

The founding leaders, on the other hand, embody the company’s brand. Rich and famous, they stand out for their creativity and risk-taking. However, “they are emotional creatures who think they are always right”, explains the author. Sometimes their taste for bold ideas can therefore mask a lack of self-awareness.

Ana Botín, of the Santander banking group, and François-Henri Pinault, CEO of the Kering group, are descendants of leaders. Now at the head of the family business, their priority is to continue the dynasty and improve it. “It’s a kind of leadership with pitfalls,” the reporter said. Is it better to continue the businesses founded by his parents or give them a new direction?

Because of his enthusiasm, the amorous leader shows his honesty and credibility, like Jim Koch, who himself appears in the advertisements for Samuel Adams beer sold by his company. However, the motivation of this type of leader can be tested.

Paul Polman, the former CEO of Unilever, has the mantra “Profit with a purpose”. Adapting the activities of his company to environmental values, the militant leader is convinced that his mandate is more than the performance of his organization. Visionary (but not all the time), he gives meaning to his mission. His challenges? Maintain tight control over budgets and build strong partnerships.

Diplomatic leaders know how to navigate their way through complex stakeholder interests, but their caution can be excessive. While they know how to maintain the stability of their business, they are not, however, good agents of change.

In addition, human leaders are determined to come down from their ivory tower to learn and become more successful for the benefit of everyone, including their employees. According to the author, they listen carefully, admit their mistakes and be honest

• This article is published in collaboration with the magazine Management HEC Montrealwhere it first appeared.

The Nine Types of Leaders

The Nine Types of Leaders

Kogan Page, 2021

288 pages

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