Not a People Leader? Here are Two Other Types to Consider.

Here’s a favorite pastime of mine: When someone signs up for my newsletter and takes a moment to introduce herself.

In the first email that a new subscriber receives from me, I ask, “What is your biggest concern about becoming a leader (or being a better leader)?” I like it when they ask a real thought-provoking question, like this one from Gillian, a Marketing Specialist with a financial firm. She asked: Do you have to manage people in order to be a leader?”

In my reply to Gillian, I shared a lesson learned after speaking at a biotech company’s leadership retreat for high-potential women employees last year.

I was leading the group through an exercise to find their career “sweet spot” and identify their leadership brand. When one of the participants asked, “Can anyone be a leader?” one of the senior leaders, VP and GM Amy Butler, raised her hand and shared this thoughtful reply: “There’s more than one type of leader.”

“I once read that there are three types,” she continued. “There are people leaders, process leaders, and thought leaders. You need to figure out which one you are.”

I really appreciated that. When it comes to leadership, much of what is written, taught, and discussed is focused, perhaps too narrowly, on “people leadership”, as if leadership is limited to managing people and teams. Those who aren’t “people leaders” are oft overlooked and underrated, and may never come to realize that they, too, are leaders.

You also can’t be all things to all people. Discover what you’re good at and what you’re not good at, and find collaborators, other leaders, whose strengths complement your own. Personally, I like to think of myself as a “thought leader” or a subject-matter expert. I work with a terrific process leader. Thankfully, she is also great at leading herself, which makes up for my self-perceived deficit in the people leadership department.

Are you a thought leader, a process leader or a people leader? Read on to discover the type of leader you are.

1) The Thought Leader

What is a thought leader? I asked Denise Brosseau, author of “Ready To Be a Thought Leader?”

“Thought leaders are the trusted opinion leaders and go-to people in their fields of expertise,” she said. According to Brosseau, who I like to think of as the thought leader of thought leadership, these are more than just “ideas people.” “They galvanize and inspire others with innovative ideas, and help them scale those ideas into sustainable change,” says Brosseau. In this way, a thought leader’s reach can be much broader than their team or company.

You might be a thought leader if you’re passionate about your area of expertise, have a thirst for learning, and love to share your knowledge with others. You’re always looking for ways to apply your knowledge to make a difference, and you light up when you discover a challenging problem to solve.

2) The Process Leader

Process leaders are strategizers, planners, and optimizers. They take large, complex, business goals and show how they will be achieved. A process leader’s role is to clarify what needs to happen, when it needs to happen, and then implement it, which they do by orchestrating the right people, resources and activities, linking every part of an organization’s effort back to the shared goals. They use their influence across organizational boundaries to get the job done — whatever it takes. They take responsibility for making it happen.

You might be a process leader if you love to attack a stretch goal by breaking it down into an achievable plan. You can’t help but can see how the big picture and the finer details fit together. You have a passion for excellence, and are always looking for a smarter, faster, more efficient way to get things done.

3) The People Leader

There’s much that has been written about this type of leader, so I’ll keep it brief and share some of my favorite observations.

The best people leaders take time to understand others, identifying their strengths and exploring what motivates them. They know how to effectively coach underperformers, reward excellence, and bring out the best in people. These leaders build people up and help them grow. They also ensure that the right people are in the right roles, and that everyone’s working together as a team, focused on a common goal.

You might be a people leader if you enjoy motivating, empowering, and developing others. You care about the wellbeing of individuals and the team. There’s nothing you enjoy more than seeing others succeed.

In business, we need more than just one type of leader. We need thought leaders, process leaders, and people leaders. Which one are you, or which one would you like to become?

Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
Jo Miller

A leading authority on women’s leadership, Jo Miller is a sought-after, dynamic, and engaging speaker, delivering more than 70 speaking presentations annually to audiences of up to 1,200 women. Her expertise lies in helping women lead, climb, and thrive in their corporate careers. Jo has traveled widely in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East to deliver keynotes and teach workshops for women’s leadership conferences, women’s professional associations, and Fortune 1000 corporate women’s initiatives. Jo is founding editor of BeLeaderly.com. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.net and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

4 Steps to Becoming a Powerhouse Public Speaker
4 Steps to Becoming a Powerhouse Public Speaker

Want to expand your reach as a leader? Deloitte partner Jennifer Knickerbocker has a tip

How to Get Over Your Pre-Presentation Jitters
How to Get Over Your Pre-Presentation Jitters

It’s no wonder that for many people, the fear of public speaking registers as more terrifying

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Lisa Bogart
Emerging Leader Spotlight: Lisa Bogart

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what they’re doing to

Leaderly Quote: Find the fire within you…
Leaderly Quote: Find the fire within you…

“Find the fire within you that burns through all blocks and fears.” —Ashley Turner

10 Signs You Need a New Job—Fast
10 Signs You Need a New Job—Fast

When GoBankingRates asked about the warning signs that it’s time for a job change, I

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Cara Wulf
Emerging Leader Spotlight: Cara Wulf

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what they’re doing to

The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month
The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month

Are you looking for a little sparkle in your career? Here’s our most-read, most-popular articles

5 Negotiation Skills to Flip No to Yes
5 Negotiation Skills to Flip No to Yes

“What if they say no?” As facilitators, we hear this anxious question all the time

When I Listened to Some Unwanted Advice
When I Listened to Some Unwanted Advice

Earlier this week, I was doing my regular morning swim. I don’t always swim in

Leaderly Quote: Leading by influence…
Leaderly Quote: Leading by influence…

“There are very few roles today that have ‘command and control’ type authority. Most are

Ask Jo: How can I thank my mentor?

Question: I have an incredible mentor. She ...

Teamwork is a Skill. It Takes Practice!

Everyone wants to lead, or be a ...

It’s Worth the Risk (I promise)

This is Sarah. She’s one of my ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a ...

Leaderly Quote: Great Leaders Know When to Step Aside

“Great leaders know when to step aside.” ...

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Subscribe

captcha

PRIVACY

We will never share, rent, or sell your personal information or email address. Read more.
Copyright 2018, Be Leaderly