Two Leadership Types, But Only One Successful Leader

When I watch and research changes in the workplace, I see two different leadership types.

The first of the these leadership types notices the disruptive changes as they unfold. They observe the people in their organizations, talk and listen to three generations in their offices, follow new business books and magazines, attend conferences, and are aware the business landscape is shifting. Instead of resisting changes they look for ways to embrace them.

The Heart-Centered Leader

They are visionary people who always try to do the right thing. Even if that means altering the way they do business or making new investments. They know many norms accepted for 150+ years do not make stakeholders happy anymore. These leaders value people more than daily business tasks that need to be done and understand people appreciate being treated like human beings. These leaders are happy to change their organizations to flat structures, are OK to let their people make their decisions and even form self-managed teams that need them less.

They know when the purpose of the company matches the purpose of the people who work there, amazing results can happen. Like Richard Branson defines it, this type of leader knows one element of creating a humanistic environment is Purposeful Leadership. It is the type of leaders Simon Sinek talks about in his amazing book Start with Why. These businesses are productive; people are more engaged and loyal. I call these leaders heart-centered leaders.

Then there is the second type of leaders.

The Control-Centered Leader

They still believe in controlling and managing people to get better results; if people are left alone to make decisions, the workplace will be chaotic. They think people cannot be trusted and must be at the office to do a good job.

The reality is this way of leading does not work anymore. In this command-and-control type of organization, the turnover rate is increasing, and the engagement rate is decreasing. The leaders in these organizations have no idea how the workplace is changing; they don’t listen to their stakeholders, don’t ask their clients for good feedback, and still insist on using old ways of managing.

In this command-and-control type of organization, the turnover rate is increasing, and the…

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Lost Productivity

Lost productivity cost these organizations an estimated $350 billion annually. They will spend $750,000 to $1 billion to fix the problem, yet many executives do not understand how employees become disengaged. The monetary cost bothers them most. Like the first type of leaders described above, they also realize the need for change. But in this group it’s only because they are forced to do so. It is not based on the urge to do the right thing, but of necessity to fix the red in their bottom line. They don’t ask for help right away either because they are still have a mindset that “help” means they are weak or they don’t know what they’re doing. So they fall behind in this fast-paced world while the first type of leaders move forward by embracing the new norms.

A study of nearly 20,000 employees found 54 percent feel they’re not respected by their leaders. When asked to respond to this claim, 25 percent of these leaders explained they were simply following the example of other leaders in the company. It is not that they are “bad” leaders. They simply are stuck in the old mindset. I call them control-centered leaders.

The Future of These Leadership Types

The workplace is changing dramatically. The heart-centered leadership types who are willing to let go of their egos, have high emotional intelligence, and try to do the right thing will succeed faster, and it will be easier for them to make the transition. Why? Because they understand the real purpose behind these changes. Their leadership will be more authentic. Their stakeholders will follow them willingly knowing they have everyone’s best interest in mind.




After studying Business Administration with emphasis on Marketing her first job was at IBM. She worked for 11 years there in sales, marketing, and training. She worked a few smaller companies as a sales and marketing manager in San Diego, CA. She founded her first company in 2003 coaching others find their passion to live a fulfilled life and follow their dreams. Most of her clients are professionals who are in midlife trying to make a career transition and make decisions about their next step creating more meaning in their lives. In 2010 she also started her marketing and business consultancy business where she helps companies find their unique strengths, develop their stories, create mission and vision statements that inspire and move the employees, customers and their communities, find the human factor in their business and develop their marketing strategies and messaging based on these values. She is passionate about both individuals and businesses reach their best potential in a humanistic way. She is dedicated to be part of the gradual change that is happening in the workplace; created by good leadership that has values, clear purpose and prefers participation of all employees in decision making. Any company who embraces humanistic goals and approaches.

  • Branigan Robertson

    I’ve been reading a lot lately about the different ways that ego can topple a leader (although it’s not always being reflected in the headlines of the day). I definitely agree with this piece about the changing nature of work, and the need for managers to get out of the way of their employees and let people be the best they can be. Down with micromanagers!

    • Brooke Ozlem Erol

      Exactly Branigan. I appreciate your comment.

  • Jacqueline Wales

    Only when companies see a direct correlation between people centric focus and performance will we start to change the nature of organizations and give people the support they need to grow and develop in all dimensions of their lives. Thanks for a great article.

    • Brooke Ozlem Erol

      Thank you Jaqueline. I agree 100%. I am glad to see many are moving in this direction.

  • Brooke Harper

    Thanks for sharing this. As a manager, it’s hard to know when to switch styles. I know several managers that are hesitant to switch styles because they feel that they won’t be taken seriously, but I bet this would encourage them too. Great post!

    Brooke Harper

    • Brooke Ozlem Erol

      Thank you Brooke. I know it is not as easy as it looks but it is a decision to do the right thing or going with what is accepted for too long and never questioned in my opinion.

      • Brooke H. @ Tenfold

        You’re most welcome, Brooke! I agree that it’s not the easiest thing to manage. Thanks for your opinion, my friends loved this article when I showed them this by the way. Keep it up!

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