Everyone speaks. Not everyone is heard — why different types of leadership are critical to successful decision making

Different Types of Leadership

Do you really know what your team is thinking? Anyone who has taken silence as an indication of approval could probably admit they might have been wrong. But there are more subtle ways to misinterpret, or distort, what your team is telling you – and if you can’t be sure you’ve truly heard them, then it’s very difficult to be sure you’ve made the right decisions.

Below we take a look at the 5 different types of leadership styles — the distinct voices within yourself and your team — and how the strengths of each one can help your organisation to be more effective.


Allow space for every style of leadership

Every voice is equally important to the group dynamic, yet in most teams certain voices tend to get the most airtime. The most charismatic can inspire everyone to follow their vision, but they can also become overbearing and unintentionally aggressive; often drowning out the quieter voices at the expensive of relationships and great ideas.

It all comes down to creating an environment in which each person feels safe, respected and understood. The goal is to allow everyone to feel able to fully contribute in their unique voice. If you can create a common vocabulary and language where everyone knows his or her voice, it becomes an amazing accelerator for creating harmony and productivity.

Most teams we work with function at about 50 percent of their true potential because they don’t appreciate the power and contribution of all 5 Voices. Most Nurturers, for instance, are rarely fully understood or valued in the way they should be, unless someone creates the right culture.

Different Types of Leadership

So here’s a snapshot of the 5 leadership voices and the unique strengths each brings to the table:


Nurturers account for almost half the population. They shy away from conflict, but can provide invaluable benefits to the team:

  • They intuitively feel how an organization will react to a new idea
  • They defend values; people will always come before profit
  • They function as the relational oil inside teams and organizations
  • They are pragmatic realists who ask — “has this really been thought through?”
  • They take genuine delight in celebrating the achievements of others and are natural team players.


Creatives often go unheard because they can’t fully communicate their ideas. But when given the opportunity, they can dramatically alter the shape of a discussion:

  • They are the Conceptual Architects and love to think outside the box
  • They function as an ‘early warning radar system’ for teams, often seeing opportunities and dangers long before everyone else
  • They are never satisfied with the status quo — they inherently believe things can always be better
  • If the vision is compelling, the word ‘can’t’ is not in their vocabulary
  • They exhibit a strong social conscience and desire for personal and organizational integrity.


Guardians interrogate the dreamers and bring everyone back down to earth. Their focus is on ensuring every solution is workable:

  • They have a relentless commitment to ask the difficult questions
  • They will always seek to honour the past as teams look towards the future
  • They take personally the commitment to deliver projects on time and on budget
  • They have the ability to detach decision-making from personal sentiments
  • They respect and value logic, order, systems and repeatable processes.


Natural people pleasers (who often need constant reassurance in return), their passion and charisma are powerful tools:

  • They are persuasive and inspirational communicators — rallying people to causes and things they believe in
  • They are incredibly resourceful — ‘Whatever we need, I can get it or know someone who can’
  • They have the capacity to maintain a large number of relationships
  • They know how to connect with people and their aspirations.


Natural leaders who can be inspirational or overbearing… It’s the Pioneers’ challenge to sit back and let their team contribute first:

  • They approach life with an ‘anything is possible!’ attitude
  • Visioning and shaping a scaleable future is always the highest priority
  • Their strategic military thinking makes them incredibly effective at aligning people, systems and resources
  • Winning is a massive driver, they hate to give up and will drive their team long after others would have backed away
  • They are powerful communicators, using logic and rationality to provide an attractive and compelling vision of the future.
The 5 Voices
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