Business Management

Three Leadership Styles That Don’t Work [and One That Does]

Author Randy Nelson breaks down leaders into four types — only one of which is likely to thrive. Do you recognize your boss’s style below? Or could the author be describing you?

“Good leadership is paramount to business success, but not all leaders are created equal,” says Randy H. Nelson, author of The Second Decision — The Qualified Entrepreneur. Nelson breaks down leaders into four types — only one of which is likely to thrive. Do you recognize your boss’s style below? Or could the author be describing you?

1. Urgent/Reactive. The “urgent/reactive” leader thrives on an almost crazed atmosphere where she can ride to the rescue, put out the fire, and move on to the next problem. There isn’t much time for introspection or real vision.

2. Ever Optimistic. The “ever optimistic” leader starts from the belief there is nothing she can’t do. “Yes, we can do that!” is the typical answer from this type of leader — leaving it up to her staff to figure out how, even if the new ideas take them away from their core focus.

3. Reflexively Pessimistic. The “reflexively pessimistic” leader plays to survive, not to win. This leader has been toughened by hard times and always worries about the economy’s effect on the business. In some industries easily battered by a downturn, this style can be effective. But if maintained too long, the pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

4. Steady/Proactive. The “steady/proactive” leader is the one every business person should strive to become. This type of leader values productivity and profitable growth above all things, knows how to achieve both, and can course-correct no matter the difficulty. “They understand both offense and defense, and can shift between them as cycles dictate,” says Nelson.

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