Types of Leaders

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Different types of leaders will emerge depending on the needs of the company or organization. Often, leaders can be benevolent dictators or extremely consultative. Learn about some famous leaders with advice from a business management consultant in this free video on leadership.

Part of the Video Series: Leadership Skills
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Video Transcript

So I'd like to talk to you a little bit about types of leaders. Now this is quite a difficult area, because there is no one type of leader that's appropriate for an enterprise or a business. The whole point of leadership is it matters about noticing what the particular situation is. So in some cases, being an outright dictator is useful, and in other cases it's necessary to be terribly consultative. You have to decide, of course, which of those alternatives are right for you. However, you can learn a lot about the types of leadership by looking at particular leaders. I think we'll look at three. Sir Richard Branson, who runs the Virgin empire, is a kind of benevolent dictator in so far as he's a very hard taskmaster, but he does allow people to bring their brains to work and to put themselves into an enterprise...into the enterprise. A good example of how that has happened is, a few years ago one of the employees thought that Virgin ought to have a bridal wear organization, and she managed to get a word with Richard Branson, and low and behold, Virgin Brides was born as a concept. That wouldn't have happened if he was simply a dictator. If we look at someone who's, perhaps a little more, sort of driven in the direction of, sort of, dictatorship, but in a, sort of, a good way, Anita Roddick, who ran the Body Shop, is perhaps, probably driven, and has hired a bunch of people around her who share the same vision, by being of an extremely effective communicator. But the Body Shop clearly does what it does, and she, perhaps, wouldn't break off and diversify in the same way as Sir Richard Branson. So she's perhaps more of a sort of driven person, verging on the sort of question of dictatorship in terms of the mission of the company, but being very tolerant and encouraging to people who want to actually work with that vision and mission. Finally, perhaps a more consultative leader comes in the form of Bill Gates, who runs MicroSoft. Now, MicroSoft has a very clear ambition and makes a number of products which we all use. But Bill Gates was wise enough to realize that he wasn't an expert in everything, and the smart thing he has done above all else as a leader, has been to surround himself with the people that made up for his own deficits and weakness areas. And that's a rare skill, indeed, is to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, and then to go and seek out people and resources to fill those weaknesses. So, I think that Bill Gates is actually a good example of a more consultative leader that knows their own mind but, as in fact, gained the cooperation of a lot of other people to build an organization as large as MicroSoft. So there can be no one type of leader. And I think the types vary from being didactic and perhaps a benevolent dictator, through to someone that's extremely consultative. It's only you that knows your organization and company, and can work out what your style should be.


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