HBSC Leadership Type Framework

Awareness of our leadership types allows us to choose how we show up as leaders—directly influencing our mission, expected follower behavior, and use of power. While no ideal leadership type crosses all domains and situations, a leader’s ability to adapt their demeanor, language, and style to a particular situation increases their probability of success. The ten leadership types are defined as follows:

  1. Dictator: A leader who seeks absolute power and control and desires complete autonomy from oversight—typically acquiring power through force, inheritance, or treachery.
  2. Commander: A leader with positional authority and strict hierarchical control who gives orders, expects compliance, and rewards or punishes subordinates based on outcomes.
  3. Decision-maker: A leader who is solely responsible for important decisions after researching or soliciting feedback from experts.
  4. Change Agent: A leader who inspires, motivates, nudges, or in some cases coerces followers to adopt large-scale transformation.
  5. Ideologue: A leader who motivates and controls followers through a collection of shared beliefs, values, and ideals—viewing the world as black and white without shades of gray. 
  6. Builder: A leader who plans, recruits, develops, and nurtures people while enhancing organizational expertise, scaling operations, and shaping the moral culture.  
  7. Team Captain: A competitive leader who represents the group’s identity with the drive, expertise, and influence to unite team members, structure efforts, and increase performance.
  8. Visionary: An innovative leader with critical insight who creates a crystal-clear picture of the future while evangelizing and inspiring its achievement.
  9. Spiritual Leader: A religious or inspirational leader who serves, guides, and controls followers based on a claimed righteousness, connection with a higher power, or knowing the way. 
  10.  Martyr: An inspired leader who is willing to sacrifice their own needs and endure hardship or even death for their beliefs and the benefit of others.[1] 

In general, we are best able to lead when a particular leadership position and organizational culture align with our dominant leadership type(s). Our analysis shows that each of the ten unified leadership types can be displayed on an authority and inspiration continuum.

[1] The martyr’s death eliminates their direct leadership impact but often inspires significant outrage that attracts additional resources to join the cause. The word martyr is derived from a Greek word meaning “witness,” as in giving testimony. In biblical times, being a witness to an unpopular god or prophet could be hazardous to your health. 

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