What Kind of Leader Are You?

We know you are a leader a leader in heels but besides your footwear, what kind of leader are you? In this article, you will gain a better understanding of leader types and how to become a stronger one.

Resonant and Dissonant Leaders

We are past the idea that leaders are simply born as leaders; the proof is in the pudding. Check out the interviews that appear in this online magazine and you will see how we all learn from our mistakes: from closely watching the actions of leaders we admire, taking courses, and constantly trying to improve ourselves every time we have a chance. Sometimes it is good to stop and ask, “What kind of leader am I?”

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Best-selling author David Coleman talks about two kinds of leaders:

Resonant leaders: Those who are in tune with their team. They are the ones that are able to motivate their team by reminding team members about the purpose of their work. These leaders achieve this resonance with team members by providing hope, compassion (understood as true empathy and care), and mindfulness. Resonant leaders have long-lasting teams, less burnout, and are more productive.

Dissonant Leaders: Their style of leadership is more authoritative. These leaders are more distant with their team members. They tend to create stress, burnout, and disengagement among employees. If you think you might be a pacesetting and commanding leader, read carefully about the kinds of resonant leaders below and try to learn from them.

5-Minute Exercise:

  1. Think of a boss you had that was in sync with the team. This is a person that you probably felt very close to, somebody you could trust, and that was able to bring out the best in each person in the team. Now, write down some of the attributes that person had.
  2. Do the same for the worst boss you ever had; somebody that might have achieved results in the short run but wasn’t getting anywhere after a while. Write down his/her attributes.
  3. Now, try to define your style of leadership; are you leaning towards the resonant leader or the dissonant leader? What defines you as a leader?

Types of Resonant Leaders

Most of us fit into only one of the categories below, which means there is a lot of room for improvement. When reading the categories, you will soon identify with one. Read the others as well and learn how you could use abilities that you don’t yet have to improve your leadership style:


Visionary leaders see the big picture. This is why they are the ones that discover business trends and foresee opportunities. They tend to connect their emotions with their personal and organizational values. They are the most charismatic and innovative of the leaders.

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  • Use this style when changes in the organization require a new vision or radical changes.


This is the type of leader that focuses on the development of the team and is not shy about investing time to make others better. They bring enthusiasm to the team, sing constructive feedback, and give support. Teams with coaches will have high performance.

  • This style is appropriate in empowering competent employees to improve and build long-term capabilities.


They are concerned with the harmony of the team above all other things. They invest in personal relationships and emotional goals. Affiliators are great at developing a team environment but have a hard time bringing constructive criticism, so team members can sometimes feel lost.

  • Use this style of leadership during stressful times and when connections between team members need to be strengthened.


They encourage participative leadership and look for employee input and feedback. This is how they demonstrate confidence in their team members; as a result, they have empowered teams. They are great at teamwork, all forms of collaboration, and conflict management.

  • Use the democratic style to achieve team consensus and get valuable input from team members.

What kind of leader are you? What can you learn from the others? Tell us in the comments below!

The above classification is taken from the book Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence., by David Coleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee.

Anna Danés worked in the web sector before founding Ricaris in 2009, a successful services company providing distributed solutions for companies in the web sector. Managing Virtual Teams is a new consulting product bringing together all of the experience across the distributed teams of Ricaris, and putting it into bite-sized courses, virtual team activities, and consulting packages. Follow Anna @virtualteams