Leaders are people of high integrity, high ideals, and a high regard for their fellow man. They have the ability to empower those around them to lead better and more productive lives, inspiring trust and fellowship in their communities. How do they do it?
There are five basic leadership styles that all great men have in common -- Vision, Management, Team Leading, Encouragement, and Risk-Taking.
No two leaders are the same, of course; sometimes a man will be a strong visionary and risk-taking leader, while not being so skilled at encouragement or management.
The best leaders, however, share an aptitude for all of these ways of bettering their fellow man. Below, we'll explore the different kinds of leaders and provide examples of great men who fit each style.
Visionary leaders are those who have the ability to define the common direction of their group, whether it be their country, their community, or their family. When John F. Kennedy told the American people that they would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, he was acting as a visionary leader.
Leaders of this kind are good at deciding on a realistic future course of action for their group, based upon the resources available to their organization. They understand that different possible outcomes may arise, and have the ability to plan for them.
Managers are the classic "workplace" leaders -- people who are good with the logistics of organizing people. Often, they have a good head for details and planning, and understand that communication is the key to effective leadership. They have the ability to solve problems as they arise, and are good at delegating responsibilities and tasks to those best suited them. CEOs like Bill Gates or Michael Eisner are examples of archetypical managing leaders.
Learn more about Management Leaders.
Team leaders are often the leaders that go unrecognized. They are excellent communicators, the people who do everything they can to help their group or organization, selflessly serving for the common good. Team leadership requires a special kind of man -- one who is humble, caring little for personal prestige.
People who play team sports are some of the best team leaders - consider a man like NBA player Scottie Pippin, who teamed with Michael Jordan on the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. He was an outstanding player (an All-Star, in fact) who could have been the marquis player on any other team in the league, but chose to stay with the Bulls, taking a supporting role and facilitating their brilliant teamwork and numerous championships over the course of the decade.
Learn more about Team Leadership.
Another style of leadership revolves around encouraging and supporting the people around you when they do good things. Leaders of this kind are great at recognizing potential in others and helping it to blossom for the benefit of the group. Teachers often have these abilities in spades - think about how Jesus changed the lives of those around him through encouraging them to new ways to thinking and acting, and how his love and compassion inspired love and compassion in those around him.
Learn more about Encouragement Leadership!
Risk-taking is something that all great leaders do, at the proper time. They have the ability to recognize opportunities, and the ability to take advantage of those chances. They have foresight, insight, creativity, imagination, and a fair helping of courage.
Men like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were great risk-taking leaders. They understood that the possibility of a free democracy was worth the risk of going to war with the English Throne.
Learn more about Risk-Taking Leadership!
As you've read about these various styles, you've probably seen part of yourself in one, two, or all of them. The ones that don't seem like you may be areas you can work to develop.
As a Christian man with a desire to help his community, you have a responsibility to become a leader. By exploring these different styles of leadership, you've taken the first step -- recognizing what kind of leader you are.