Driven or Called: What Type of Leader Do You Want to Be?

Driven or Called: What Type of Leader Do You Want to Be?

As an executive coach, I’m often asked about different leadership styles. Power and influence are two common leadership traits. When used properly, these qualities drive effective leaders to be assertive, confident, and capable. However, the way power and influence are used define two very different styles of leadership. As you read about these two styles of leadership, think about what type of leader you are, and which one you’d rather be.

Styles of Leadership: The Driven Leader

When looking at different types of leadership styles, one tends to stand out: the driven leader. This style of leadership can be very aggressive, wanting to lead and win at all costs, delivering solid short-term success. However, these accomplishments may come with heavy costs down the road, eroding confidence and trust with others.

Driven leaders:

  1. Are obsessed with accomplishment and rarely satisfied. They tend to wield power like a broadsword, continuously hacking their way through any roadblocks they encounter with little regard for anyone or anything that gets in their way.
  2. Burn out people around them. Not only do they constantly push themselves, but also everyone else as they try to reach for the top.
  3. Are abnormally busy and have trouble sleeping or relaxing. This can lead to rocky relationships with others and even health problems.
  4. Possess pockets of anger. Power-driven leaders are known to lash out at others even when the object of their ire hasn’t done anything wrong.

Styles of Leadership: The Called Leader

On the other side of the leadership traits spectrum you’ll find a very different person: the called leader. Called leaders are driven by a desire not to lead through absolute power, but to influence others. They’re much more likely to work well with others and lead by example. Short-term success may take a backseat to long-term relationships.

Called leaders:

  1. Understand that life and work are issues of stewardship. The called leader knows how to use resources, both personal and professional, in responsible ways.
  2. Walk with peace and joy most of the time. They always wear a smile and exude happiness and confidence.
  3. Understand the difference between “who I am” and “what I do.” What someone does for a job does not dictate who they are as a person.
  4. Have an unwavering sense of calling and purpose in their life. A called leader knows what his or her purpose is and doesn’t let anyone else define who they are.
  5. Maintain a sustainable work pace that does not destroy themselves and their families. Called leaders know when to work and when to rest. They maintain clear divisions between work time and family time and understand how to balance the needs of both.

After reading these two different styles of leadership, what type of leader are you? Someone who leads through power? Or someone who leads through influence? If you’ve had success working with different types of leadership styles, I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

–   Dennis

P. S. For help developing effective leadership skills, get in touch with a leadership coach. When you run into a sticky situation that challenges your leadership skills, give me a call or drop me an email. Regular executive coaching sessions can help overcome the loneliness of leadership and aid in having both a successful and fulfilling life.


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