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How to be a Flexible Leader: 8 Styles for Different Situations

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How to be a Flexible Leader: 8 Styles for Different Situations

Flexibility is a necessary skill for any effective leader. A strong authority figure may have to employ a variety o leadership styles to succeed in a single mission. Here are eight leadership styles that you should be considering as you head a team effort.

1. The Idol

This is one of the most obvious leadership styles, and also one of the hardest to execute. It’s not easy to shine so bright that people will follow you into the dark. An Icon is someone who has a strong enough presence to lead by example, convincing others to live up to their standards. Not everyone is a Martin Luther King, Jr.-type who can inspire such confidence in others, though, so this leadership style should not be attempted by most.

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2. The Coach

A Coach is similar to an Idol, but has a more authoritative position. A Coach can either encourage their “players” to do their best or switch to a commanding tone, making their players run a proverbial 50 laps. Football coach Eric Taylor, from the television show Friday Night Lights, exhibits this leadership style expertly, learning over the course of the series how to give his young players the support they want and the tough love they need. When you’re in a leadership position that needs that combination of encouragement and fierceness, be a Coach.

3. The Micromanager

Some leaders like to control every part of the process, having not only input but control of everything coming out of their offices. Leadership styles like that are generally referred to as Micromanagement. Dan Harmon, the creator and showrunner of the cult sitcom Community, is notorious for being a Micromanager, making sure that every episode of his show is made as he wants it to be made. It works for him; Community is a very beloved show. If you have a singular vision that needs the assistance of others to execute, Micromanagement is likely the way to go. However, Harmon leaves a lot of his co-workers, employees and employers unhappy with his micromanagement, and leadership styles that make enemies should be used with caution.

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4. The Macromanager

A Macromanager, on the other hand, generally focuses on the big picture. A president, whether they be president of the United States or of a Fortune 500, is often a Macromanager, delegating a lot of important tasks to their staff but ultimately being the one to make the the big decisions. When there is way too much to do for a leader to be more than peripherally involved in all of it, you might want to be a Macromanager.

5. The Beloved

Oprah Winfrey is the premiere example of a Beloved; any novel in her book club becomes a bestseller! A Beloved leader is someone who can push people to greener pastures, introducing them to things they never experienced before and never would have if not for that push. If you can convince people to follow your advice off of your charm and charisma, you may be a Beloved.

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6. The Adapter

An Adapter is a professional chameleon who can transform to fit any environment. The Adapter may not be the very best at any one thing, but they’re at the very least capable in all the roles they have to take on. A good Adapter is like an impressive manager you see at a Target or Walmart who can seamlessly switch from giving sixteen year-olds their first assignments to taking care of the time sheets to running the cash register. They succeed by not limiting themselves to one skill; they wear a lot of different hats and wear them well. If your team is small and you have to take on a wide variety of responsibilities, learn to be an Adapter.

7. The Trailblazer

When your team needs to find a new route to success, this is one of the best leadership styles you can implement. The Trailblazer looks at the world in a slightly different way than everyone else and implements strategies that, though obvious in hindsight, could only have been thought up by that person. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is a perfect example of a Trailblazer, taking the customer-first ideology to a whole new extreme.

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8. The Revolutionary

A Revolutionary is a little more than a Trailblazer. A Revolutionary doesn’t just find a new way to approach an industry; he discovers new industries. Steve Jobs is in this class of rarified leaders because of his creation of new tech categories like personal computing, MP3 players, smartphones and tablets. If your team needs you to come up with ideas as innovative as those of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’re going to have to take on a Revolutionary role.

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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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