Which Type of Leader Are You?
By Kristine Steinberg, CEO of Kismet
Evolving as a professional is oftentimes burdened by overt and covert messages that success hinges on becoming a “leader” with acumen for leading the vision, inspiring the masses, advancing on strategy, and growing the business. But what if you don’t excel or have interest in that kind of leadership? What if instead, your ideal career trajectory involves managing and operationalizing the day-to-day work that actualizes that vision?
While visionary leaders and tactical managers are equally critical to any business’s success, the importance is not as often placed on managerial excellence, nor the career paths relevant for these roles.
It’s true that there are some crossover traits between visionary leaders and managerial leaders, but the foundational skills of each are very different. Here are some distinctions:
A visionary leader lives in the present and the future, all at once. They see where a business can go and mobilize people towards that vision. Visionary leaders communicate the meaning behind the organizational direction and by doing so, they create collective purpose and group momentum. Naturally skilled at transparent communication, they drive alignment, manage change, and foster trust through even the murkiest moments. Relationships are their forte; they build community and carry the culture. All of these qualities attract and retain top talent and generate loyal followers.
If a “visionary leader” is ultimately thinking ahead and creating a vision for where the organization is going, the “managerial leader” is the one who will figure out how to get there.
A managerial leader is “on the ground” and focused on the immediate reality that enables a business to function and move into the future. They develop timelines, workflows, and processes while also committing to developing their people. Managerial leaders provide coaching, training, and feedback along with resources that allow employees to excel in their roles. Goals, targets, day-to-day operations, a sense of accountability — these are the activities that get a managerial leader up in the morning. They commit to creating a high functioning environment where people can connect their individual work to the bigger picture meaning and purpose of their organization.
Are You a Visionary or Managerial Leader?
Reflect on your own natural skill set. Are you better suited to visionary leadership or managerial leadership? Consider which of the following phrases sound more like you. You’ll then discover which traits you have more of and where your natural inclination lies.
Kristine Steinberg is the CEO of Kismet. She believes that your life should be deeply fulfilling — not tolerated. Partner with Kismet to dismantle fear, define your path, and lead with courage. Start your transformation today: www.thisiskismet.com.