Six Spectrums of Leadership Style

Choosing a leadership style that is best suited to advance the business may not always be the most comfortable for the leader.  Leadership styles span a spectrum from authoritarian to collaborative.  Whichever style is selected, it should be honed and perfected to amplify its strengths and minimize its weaknesses.   

I embrace a servant leadership style and with it have found great success with and for people.  Servant leadership reverses the traditional notion of leadership from a top-down orientation to the people at the top working for the benefit of everyone else.  The goal is to empower people with freedom and flexibility, then inspire achievement without coercion and fear.    

Every leadership style exhibits variations of these six characteristics: 

Leadership Vs. Management 

Be a leader rather than a manager.  Both have a place.  Managers get things done tactically by moving people and resources.  Leaders establish a vision then influence people to enthusiastically invest themselves in realizing shared goals.   

Authority Vs. Power 

Rely upon authority over power.  Power is using might to compel people to do something they would otherwise not do.  Authority stimulates achievement on the strength of healthy personal relationships. 

Inspiration Vs. Motivation 

Use inspiration rather than motivation.  Motivation techniques are based upon “carrot and stick” compulsion, it’s animalistic.  Inspiration is sharing the vision of a worthy goal and helping people understand the power of their contribution.  

Commitment Vs. Cooperation 

Cultivate commitment over cooperation.  Cooperation is short-term focused and expires once a task is completed.  It is compromise made for a reward.  Commitment is internal, long-term, and sustainable.  Commitment to your people yields their commitment in return. 

Caring Vs. Listening 

Develop beyond just listening to caring.  Hearing is only part of listening; and listening is only a fraction of the more powerful – caring.  Listening results in understanding but caring results in a relationship.  Listening is issue-focused while caring is people-focused.   

Faith Vs. Optimism 

This distinction may appear synoptic, but it goes much deeper.  Optimism hopes for the best, while faith drives action in the expectation of success.  When you inspire faith in the company’s purpose, your people will ensure their work is accomplished. 

Successful leaders assess these characteristic differences and lift people by creating strong relationships,  commending, inspiring, and being genuinely authoritative.   

For more on servant leadership, get the book: Paul Sarvadi, (2019) Take Care of Your People, The Enlightened CEO’s Guide to Business Success, ForbesBooks. 


Paul Sarvadi Blog Strategy #8 – Organization and Leadership 

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