George Washington
Leadership is both and art and science. Effective leaders must have native ability, but like a diamond, this ability must be shaped and developed. The leader is like the captain of a sailing ship. These ships were signficantly influenced by tides, currents, and winds. But a good captain understood how to tack and navigate to work with or around the sea's conditions to get the ship safely to its destination.
The fundamental question for this page, then, is does the organization require a leader to achieve these requirements? If it doesn't, then how does it coordinate its efforts to meet them? Of it does, then what kind of leader does it need?

Before we can answer the question, however, we need to define leader and leadership. James MacGregor Burns and others have studied leaders and leadership. There are volumes written on the subject, some useful and some that simply pander the latest fads. I continually come back to two books:
  1. Leadership by James MacGregor Burns
  2. Barbarians to Bureaucrats by Lawrence M. Miller

Broadly speaking Burns breaks leader into two different main type:
  1. Transforming Leaders
  2. Transactional Leaders

While Miller's book is about corporate life cycles, it is ultimately about the leadership style required in each stage of the life cycle.

Life-cycle stage

Business Environment



Management Style

Nature of Organization

Prophet visionary, one product, debt passionate faith in product get organization started! single leader, many ideas, not listen well, not like details no organization!
Barbarian ideas to actions; broaden customer base success lies in faith in Prophet get product to market high control and direct action; no delegation simple, few if any systems
Builder and Explorers now showing a profit focus on efficiency; expand market and products create means to production of product; conquer market focus on detail; few focus on long-term plans; based on interpersonal relationships organization is growing rapidly
Synergist (note 1) (see list after this table)
Administrator mastered market, much profit focus on efficiency and quality maximize efficiency and full use of profit not effective dealing with people; decisions based on facts and studies very efficient and smooth; additional staff functions added
Bureaucrat now diversified; generate profit; slow growth; cost cutting professional management efficiency; less focus on customers and more on profit impersonal; like reports overly organized
Aristocrat declining; loss of creativity and investment cynical prevent further erosion aloof excessive layers of management; is an informal, underground organization
(source: Organization Life Cycles)

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