Redefining Leadership – What type are you?

Transformational leadership is a style that either transforms the people or transforms the company. But we would argue, why not both?

In our recent Handler Report, we compared the two leadership styles of Elon Musk and Simen Sinek:

  • Elon Musk: Change The People – Start fresh with new faces that buy into the new company vision and bring new ideas to the table. 
  • Simon Sinek: Change The People – Invest in who you have to build a strong culture and avoid demoralizing staff changes. 

And, an effective approach is not limited to those two schools of thought.

Introducing Other Types of Transformational Leaders

The Harmonizer

These are leaders who view the inclusivity and relationship-building aspects of leadership as their key focus. They work on team-building skills and personal development for each person. They relentlessly pursue opportunities to include anyone and everyone in these efforts and create opportunities for everyone to feel supported and valued. 

Harmonizing Leadership Examples:

  • Satya Nadella, Microsoft – Satya is globally known for transforming company culture at the software giant to advance learning and inclusion.
  • Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo – Indra focused much of her leadership efforts on inclusion, employee well-being, and diversity.
  • Tony Hsieh, Zappos – Tony is probably the world’s leading example of how to create a positive, fun company culture. As a result, Zappos has a significantly desirable reputation as a fantastic place to work.

The Navigator

These are leaders who shine the brightest amidst company disasters. Whether that’s navigating high-visibility personnel problems, financial crises, or any significant adverse event, they confidently take control and press on. 

These leaders stand at the company’s helm, navigating the storm with a vision, giving strategic direction, and guiding their teams to safer waters. 

Navigator Leadership Examples:

  • Alan Mulally, Ford – Steering Ford through the 2008 financial crisis was no small task, but Alan succeeded and remained in place for 6 more years.
  • Howard Schultz, Starbucks – Howard worked hard to revitalize the lifestyle brand during trying economic downturns, coming back twice after his initial 14-year term to serve another 9-10 years.
  • Bob Iger, Disney – As Disney has experienced financial and market crises, Bob has expertly guided the entertainment giant through it all. But his work is not done as he currently faces pressure from mega investor Nelson Peltz to change the future of Disney and resurrect its value.

The Innovator

These are the leaders who are not bound by tradition or expectations. They think outside the box and create their sandbox to doggedly see their vision through. These are the innovative leaders who transform mission, vision, company and process all in one. 

Innovator Leadership Examples:

  • Jeff Bezos, Amazon – Jeff transformed the burgeoning online bookshop into the multi-billion dollar online marketplace, media distributor, and lifestyle platform it is today. 
  • Steve Jobs, Apple – Steve is one of the greats of our generation. He was known for revolutionizing his industry into a multifaceted entity that was more than just computers and phones – it was a movement.
  • Reed Hastings, Netflix – Making video rental stores virtually obsolete, Reed transformed the way the world consumed media and, thereby, the whole entertainment industry.

What can we learn from all of these leaders?

To learn more about transformational leadership, the qualities of transformational leaders, what local Atlanta leaders have to say on the subject, and our 2023 retrospective, read the Handler Q4 report here.