Who will you choose to become?

Credit: Hugh MacLeod

Leadership is extremely messy and all of us spend the better part of our lives trying to reverse engineer the behavior and mindset of a successful leader. However, we fail to recognize that life is a carousel of people and experiences, and all of these shape us in some way or the other. So, after meeting tens of thousands of humans over the past few decades I have found that there are essentially 4 types of leaders. Only once we learn to identify these archetypes can we begin to become them based on our own realities and flaws.

1. The Indomitables

Steve Jobs

Indomitable humans are those who want to win at any cost. They are completely enamored by success and crave the money or power that comes with it. They have such naked ambitions that they can come across as charming, authentic or abrasive based on their personality and the context. They have this natural reality-distorting mind field around them that can either excite your soul or crush it just so their expectations are met.

2. The Responsibles

Malala Yousafzai

Responsibles are people who are committed to winning but only as a means to doing good in the world and realizing their purpose. They aren’t motivated purely by material pursuits although their realism ensures they are content on that front as well. These humans operate within a strong ethical framework and are able to consistently demonstrate servant leadership. They have the potential to better others in the process of achieving their own vision which naturally motivates them, but this collaborative approach can take a longer time to deliver results.

3. The Gamechangers

Elon Musk

Gamechangers have an unflinching desire to win and view society from a systems-thinking perspective. They understand that in order to achieve success they must make the existing way of doing things obsolete and irrelevant because only then would their solution become the norm. Their success can, in turn, spawn entirely new industries and carve out a new world order. Thus Gamechangers are driven by their worldview and are excellent high-level thinkers who learn over time to effectively delegate to get things done.

4. The Contrarians

Muhamad Yunus

Contrarians are skeptics by default. They view a lot of what normal people believe to be laws as just beliefs we’ve all grown accustomed to. They question these real-world practices exposing ugly biases and power structures along the way so they can suggest new, hyper-efficient and often counter-intuitive approaches. These people are greatly concerned about unlocking and maximizing existing value, and consistently do so by being activists and calling out those in power.

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