Leadership Styles and Leveraging Yours

Bill Hybels in Courageous Leadership lists 10 Leadership Styles he has observed in leaders.

Many possess more than one style, but often there is a primary style or a cluster of 2-3 that stand out. As you look at each of these, ask yourself, “What style(s) most describes my approach to leadership?”  If you truly are courageous, pass this along to teammates and fellow leaders (or a mentor) and ask them to choose the style(s) that best describes you. These are defined with Christian leadership in mind (especially Pastoral Leadership), most apply to any leadership context in which you might find yourself.


The 10 Leadership Styles:

Visionary Leader 

Has a crystal clear picture of the vision, is enthusiastic about the vision, casts the vision continually, is future oriented and believes the vision will occur if you discuss it enough. Not easily discouraged by set-backs, defections, etc. Gifts of faith, evangelism, prophecy.


Directional Leader 

Has the innate ability to choose the right path at critical moments. These moments can paralyze an organization, but these figures can do the right thing at the right time. This type of leader may or may not be a public figure. Sorts through the complexity of mission, resources, personnel, timing, external forces, etc. to make the right decision. Gifts of discernment, word of wisdom.


Strategic Leader 

Has the ability to breakdown the vision to a series of sequential, achievable steps. Followers respond when they see progress toward the vision by achieving these steps. Develops a game plan that all the players can understand and find their place in. Keeps the organization on cadence and aligned. Fights off fads and vision drift by highlighting the “fundamentals.” Gifts of teaching, discernment.


Managing Leader 

Able to organize the people, process, systems, and resources to achieve the vision. Monitors the whole system and measures progress according to appropriate mile-markers. Manages and analyzes details, sees critical resource shortages, etc. The natural complement to (and sometimes adversary of) the visionary. Gifts of administration, helps.


Motivational/Inspirational Leader 

Has the gift of inspiration and can transfer that to followers. Has the ability to know who needs training, encouragement, cheering on, refocusing and, when morale sinks, they think of new ways to inspire their followers. Sees lack of morale as a challenge to inspire rather than a defeat. Into “hanging”, training, helping people review and reflect. Gifts of exhortation, pastoring.


Shepherding Leader 

Has the ability to build a team (usually slowly), and the leader cares so deeply for the team and builds a strong sense of community. The vision gets accomplished because the team wants to respond to the leader’s love. Gifts of pastoring, exhortation, mercy, healing.


Team Building Leader (Talent Scout) 

Knows the vision and has a plan to achieve it, but understands that it takes a team of leaders to achieve it. Has the ability to put the right people in the right positions to achieve the right objective. This leader is driven by their insight into people. Values the precise placement of gifts/people for the achievement of the mission. Maximizes each

individuals greatest gifts and recruits others to fill the holes. Gifts of discernment, exhortation.


Entrepreneurial Leader 

Possesses some of the all of the listed styles, but functions optimally in a start-up mode. Once the organization gets too complex, this leader loses energy, focus and confidence and starts to look toward the next thing to start. Gifts of faith.


Re-Engineering Leader 

Possesses some of the above listed styles , but their challenge is to turn around an organization. Loves to find a situation that had bad leadership and revitalize it. Once an organization is fixed, they may or may not want to continue to lead. Keeps what is best of historic values, structures, etc. and is able to bring the fresh direction that the organization needs. Adept at change dynamics, refocusing and healing individuals, bringing in new players, etc. Gifts of pastoring, healing, discernment.


Bridge Building Leader 

Ability to bring a wide variety of people together. This leader is diplomatic and negotiates well. Has the ability to persuade each group to feel like they are getting their individual needs met while the entire entity achieves its vision. Works to bring a wide variety of constituents together so a complex organization can achieve its mission. This leader loves to work with a very wide variety of people and be the advocate for all of them.


How does your style interact with other leaders on your team? What kind of leadership is required now, and who are the right people to bring that leadership to the issues you face?


NOTE: For the full explanation of each style, here is the extended 6-page article by Bill Hybels




We would like to encourage your feedback as it helps us to identify the issues that are important to you. It also helps others who are searching to develop new creative ways of leading. Thank you in advance for your comments.

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