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Which kind of leader are you?

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills,Management Training

U.S. business leaders tend to be professional managers with fewer family and political ties than leaders elsewhere, says one Harvard business professor who’s studied the issue. Because of this relative independence from family and politics in business, the research indicates, Americans use a greater variety of leadership styles.

Which one of these describes you?
  • Directive leadership is well known but out of fashion in America. It employs top-down direction from executives to subordinates. The leader is solely in charge. This style is popular in Asia.

  • Participative leadership involves close teamwork. It’s more common in Europe than in America, with some northern European countries— notably, Germany—requiring it by law. Close collaboration also defines many large companies in Japan.

  • Empowering leadership is a pretty new idea in which leaders delegate responsibility to their people. American organizations with autonomous divisions use this method, as do highly entrepreneurial organizations, whose leaders are off generating new enterprises. A handful of Asian leaders have embraced this style.

    The key to empowering leadership is the ability to energize people. It requires not only vision but the power to transmit enthusiasm and mission.

  • Charismatic leadership feels like leadership. People follow this leader because of who he is, not because of good management, bottom- line success, the chance to participate or an inspiring mission.

    The focus is human magnetism, for better or worse.

  • Celebrity leadership seeks outside leaders who will impress customers and investors. The CEO is a star, dazzling the business community and with good looks, personal flair and an ability to manage images.

    In a slump now (think Enron or WorldCom), celebrity leadership will make a comeback as marketing permeates every aspect of American life.
— Adapted from “Asian and American Leadership Styles: How Are They Unique?” D. Quinn Mills, HBS Working Knowledge, http://hbswk.hbs.edu.

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