Steve Jobs. Jeffery Immelt. Jack Welch. Sheryl Sandberg. Sunder Pichai. Mark Zuckerberg.
Why the arbitrary list of names, one may wonder? It isn’t. Arbitrary, that is. These folk have had one thing in common – leadership. Each one of them, in their own way – get-work-done, hard taskmaster, people person, compassionate, pragmatic, young and aspirational – is a leader.
The thing about leadership is – it does not have a definition. It has attributes. It is a process. Leadership is not influencing people. It is the combined influence of the leader and her followers towards their environment. Leadership is not goal-oriented. Although, it may contribute towards achieving those goals, but it is not dependent on organisational goals. It is cause-oriented.
People are unique, as are their leadership styles. This is not to say which is correct and which is wrong, but broadly, empirically, management has categorised leadership into various forms depending upon the attributes and personality traits associated with those styles.
However, also broadly, there may be two types of leaders.
A people person, as the description may suggest, keeps people at the pivot point of every decision. This person strongly believes his people to be catalysts to organisational growth. His ethics are strongly bound by people, as is his moral compass. He is compassionate towards people and his emotions more or less drive his decisions. This does not, however imply that this is the best kind of leader. The cons, of course to being a people’s person is that one is unable to take difficult decisions during grim times. Ones that may involve looking towards organisational growth by being pragmatic and unemotional towards people.
Management leadership styles that may be attributed to a people’s person are transformational leadership, servant leadership, laissez fair leadership and democratic leadership.
A growth hacker is someone who would be determined to drive and lead the organisation towards exponential growth. Hypothetically, where a non-growth hacker is capable to reaching a goal in seven years, a growth hacker will accomplish the same goal in three. For a growth hacker, people are tools for growth. This of course, does not imply growth hackers are doing something wrong. They are only emotionally uninvested in people, or anything else, that they may deem to be a distraction from their goals. The personality type of a growth hacker is extremely pragmatic, logical and focused.
Categorically, the management leadership styles that may be attributed to a growth hacker could be autocratic leadership, charismatic leadership, bureaucratic leadership and transactional leadership.
Having said that, every organisational leader in his or her own capability wants the best for their organisation. After all, if the organisation grows, they grow. A leadership style may define one, but even people evolve. Evolution is only possible through learning, both in academe and from your environment.
That you believe yourself to be an effective leader or not, matters not. There is always something new to learn from being involved in academia. Courses such as the Senior Leadership Program from XLRI, in conjunction with The Second Wind by The Times Group help understand established leaders intensive leadership development, guide them on building growth momentum and teach them how to take on new challenges.
Sheryl Sandberg said it best when she quoted, ‘The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have’.