What Kind of Leader Are You?

Gordon Dmytriw

Effective leaders influence others to think, act and behave differently. One way to be intentional about how you exert influence is to consider the roles you play as a leader in your organization.

Here are the eight Roles of a Leader ranked in accordance with how broadly they exert influence:

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The most influential role. Leaders set direction by creating a simple, uplifting, inclusive, vivid, challenging but believable description of the future. Fundamentally, all visions are a story of change. When leaders play the role of Visionary, they are creating and maintaining the tension needed to make change happen.


When Leaders preach, they appeal to the heart by speaking from the heart, bringing the full force of their passions and convictions in telling the company story. They never miss an opportunity to remind people of the company’s values, its mission and where it’s going.


Strategists are focused on making vision a reality, and lead by creating simple, elegant and convincing plans that succeed. They privilege rational thinking and carefully manage emotional influences in decision-making. They understand risk, challenge assumptions and don’t shy away from difficult decisions.


Teaching leaders take advantage of every opportunity to “stop and teach” and ensure their employees understand the “why,” not just the “how.” They lead by establishing a point of view and then elevating the importance of learning within their organization.


In the role of Manager, a leader’s primary focus is to staff, evaluate, develop and reward employees. They understand their stewardship responsibility towards growth and development and ensure their people have everything they need to succeed.


Coaches lead by helping others become the best version of themselves. They exert influence by empowering others and unearth the innate talents and skills in their team. Like all good coaches, they build confidence.


What the Preacher preaches, the Sergeant enforces. They not only live by the code themselves, but they lead by holding others accountable to the values, ethics, policies and standards of behavior within the organization.


Workers roll up their sleeves and take action, often at the direction of others. They demonstrate that a task is important by doing it themselves, such as looking for opportunities to take out the garbage or put away coffee cups. However, they recognize most of their time is best spent in more influential roles.

Most leaders have a bias towards a couple of roles given their responsibilities and personal style. However, by being aware of how each role exerts influence, as well consciously working to improve roles they play less often, leaders at all levels of the organization can more effectively exert influence.


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