How to Recognize and Work With Different Types of Leaders

By Lesley Vos

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

You are a competent and successful manager, and your tight-knit team works like a clock. One together and all for one.

Are you sure? Chances are, your team members don’t follow you, but that guy whom psychologists call a natural-born leader.

“The leader leads, and the boss drives.” These words of Theodore Roosevelt describe such people best, though it doesn’t answer fundamental questions:

  • Who are leaders?
  • How do you recognize them on your team?
  • How do you cooperate with them to avoid unsound competition, influencing workforce productivity and the overall atmosphere?

Let’s figure this out.

Who Is a Leader?

In plain English: ‘A boss; is assigned to senior positions, while a natural-born leader might be an assistant, a new-starter, or a middle-rank manager. What matters here is personality traits, life experience, and authority, not rank.’

Every team is like a mini-society in need of stringing along. That’s where a person’s authority plays a more critical part than a position in the office.

As a team manager, you should understand how to cooperate with such people for better results.

First, recognize them.

Developing Leaders

How to Find a Leader in Your Team?

The most accurate method to use here is a sociometric test most of us had in school; it discovers a group structure: its sub-group organization, behavior, friendship patterns, and more.

If you don’t have an opportunity to hire a specialist who would conduct such tests, you can try to analyze a team single-handedly.

Nancy Christinovich, content team manager, suggests answering the following questions:

  • Who do your team members talk to when discussing issues unrelated to work?
  • Who do they ask for professional advice?
  • Who on the team communicates complaints?
  • Who introduces ideas and makes proposals?

Strong chances are someone on your team voiced collective opinions or stepped into controversy during brainstorming sessions. Get a better look at them and their behavioral patterns.

There are two types:

  1. Constructive: When a leader generates ideas, organizes a workflow, and motivates colleagues.
  2. Destructive: When this person drives a wedge into your team and generates an adversarial atmosphere.

The constructive ones benefit your team and business, so it’s important to cooperate with them.

Everything is more difficult when it comes to destructive leaders, but you can manage their energy.

What you need to do is recognize the real motives of this person: is it a will to power or self-actualization? Once you understand what makes them tick, you’ll know what to do.

6 Types of Leaders

A wise boss can manage and build trust-based relations with different leaders. The below descriptions will help you identify different types of leaders and understand how to work with them.

1. Innovator

Emotional and creative, they are able to motivate others and challenge stereotypes for innovations. Their ideas are original. But if facing criticism or finding no support, such a leader may give up too soon.

How to work with them:

  • Confer with this leader when your business needs a sharp intake of breath. People are ready to follow innovators and bring their ideas to life.
  • This person takes pride in searching for and implementing new concepts. So invite them to brainstorming sessions or let them manage one.
  • Their emotional approach can help to discover problems on your team.

2. Coordinator

An organized person in business, this person is ready to plan and synchronize processes. They have well-reasoned answers to all questions.

How to work with them:

  • Assign organizational work to them, as they’ll do it with pleasure.
  • Make them your right-hand man, and don’t be afraid of delegating duties and promoting such a person.
  • Use their authority to strengthen yours: they can become your voice and advocate for your business decisions.

3. Shadow Director

This fellow knows everything: who doesn’t meet deadlines, who has family issues, and who is looking for a new job. However, a shadow director never gossips or stabs in the back.

How to work with them:

  • Respect this person and make them feel it. In this case, they won’t play against you.
  • Be careful: shadow directors may influence business decisions. So analyze their every piece of advice, even the most rational ones.
  • Such people will never take responsibility for your actions, even if they influence them drastically.

4. Revolutionist

Rebels and critics are people who lead the complaints on your team. They don’t like anything, but they also don’t propose any solution. Such behavior may become a reason for conflicts and group formation.

How to work with them:

  • Propose them to solve a problem rather than speak about it. More likely than not, it will baffle them. And meanwhile, team members will get a chance to understand that your revolutionist might be speaking claptrap.
  • Funnel their energy toward social work.
  • Assign more projects or send this person to another department to minimize their contact with team members.

5. Humorist

A people person, charming and charismatic, this fellow leads others because it’s not boring to work with them. Under their informal guidance, others are ready to complete any task, even monotonous ones.

How to work with them:

  • Cooperate head-to-head. Your team members trust this person, so send challenging tasks through a humorist or make them a project manager.
  • Assign them to coordinate newcomers. A humorist can help them adapt to new conditions sooner.
  • Ask them to organize team-building activities. It’s what they do best.

6. Crisis Manager

Situational leaders are quiet at daily work but demonstrate perspicacity and strong decision-making skills when unforeseen circumstances arise.

How to work with them:

  • Let them show their worth in stressful situations. Just say as it is, “You’re the boss now.”
  • Evaluate the work of your crisis manager, and thank them in front of other team members.
  • Recognition is what matters for this type of leader, so encouragement is optimal.


Cooperate with leaders and try to make them your advocates. Don’t be afraid of such people. Analyze their personality traits, competence, and authority to define what you miss yourself.

Who knows, maybe Theodore Roosevelt was right in saying that the #1 duty of a boss is to drive. Use leadership skills for the sake of business, and its success will appear on the horizon before long.

How Do You Recognize and Work with Different Types of Leaders?

If you have ideas about different types of leaders that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

Would you like to contribute a post?

Lesley Vos
Lesley Vos
Lesley Vos is a seasoned web writer who helps peers develop the confidence and skills for better articles on creation and promotion. Visit her blog to discover the world of plagiarism-free content.
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