I've recently been working on a new novel, one that features several hard-to-work-for leadership styles. That manuscript has gotten me thinking about the many different types of extreme leadership styles exist, and how many flavors they come in.
My initial investigation on the web shows little material on this subject (of course, I might just be typing in the wrong keywords -- more thorough research will follow). So I've decided to take a different tact, by taking a leadership guide published by Darrell Zahorsky, and imagining what could happen to the"successful" leadership styles there when they are pushed to the extreme.
What I've developed is a list of ten extreme leadership styles -- of the type that cause partial or total failure of the executive in their job. I think as you read the descriptions, you should think of these as extreme CEO leadership types, as that is where the failings will be most evident in any corporation. I've seen several of these types, and a couple of them I'm intimately familiar with.
So without further ado, here are the ten extreme leadership types that fail:
1. The Super-critic -- In this leadership style, the CEO become so critical of everyone's efforts that no one can do anything to his satisfaction.
2. The Micro-manager -- Micro managers take the super-critic one step further, substituting the CEO's judgment for...everyone's. The Micro-manager sees himself as a genius among morons, and won't allow anyone else's decision to stand.
3. The Burnout -- This leader has had enough of everything. Enough struggle, enough competition, enough conflict. He should retire, but keeps hanging on, much to everyone's chagrin.
4. The Diva -- Really isn't interested in what he can do for his company, only what the company can do for him. He is focused on money, power, prestige or a combination of the three.
5. The Oddball -- Locked onto outdated or ineffective leadership paradigms that seem to have little or nothing to do with success or failure for the company. Stays with them in the mistaken belief they actually matter.
6. The Blame-gamer -- Every problem or shortcoming has a name attached to it, and it isn't his. He'll make sure to position any risk so that someone else can take the fall.
7. The Procrastinator -- Unable to make a decision without perfect information, this leader is perpetually stuck in neutral hoping someone else will step forward and take a stand.
8. The Regurgitator -- A variant on the Procrastinator, this leader decides, reconsiders and then decides again in a seemingly endless loop.
9. The Screamer -- Gets his way through intimidation and brow-beating. Usually dramatic, and often reacts just for show.
10. The Gentleman -- Can't imagine doing, saying or deciding anything in a way that might offend someone. Has a tough time making decisions that might impact other's opinion of him.
Now these types are not necessarily exhaustive, nor are they even necessarily definitive -- any given leader may demonstrate characteristics of several of the extreme types, while also doing some or even a lot of things right. This blog has room for comments, and I would love to hear from other students of Corporate America about the extreme types they have seen.