Value Talks Podcast Episode 14: The Six Types of Leaders

Hosted by Travis Tasset, the Value Talks podcast explores a range of topics that matter to people, including healthcare, leadership, and culture. In this episode, Travis and I discuss the six types of leaders, including the most important quality of being an empowering leader.



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Transcript of Episode 14

Dan Tasset: Be transparent and help people see what you see. Be empowering– not only be healthy– be empowering but help them see what you see and the only way you can do that is to constantly communicate and share with people what you are thinking and what you are seeing and what is just around the corner and anticipate their questions and answer them before they even ask the question. 

That, to me, is what transparency is all about, it’s really just helping others see what you see. That is what leadership is about. 

Intro: Welcome to another episode of Value Talks with your host, Travis Tasset.

Travis Tasset: Welcome to this edition of Value Talks, this is your host, Travis Tasset along with Dan Tasset. Dan, thank you for joining me today. 

Dan: You are welcome, glad to be here again, Travis.

Travis: We are going to talk about leadership and this is a 12-month series that we will be doing this year, along with some leadership training. So, any thoughts or comments on that, Dan?

Dan: Well, a week ago today we started our first series on leadership training and I am just excited about not only that leadership training 12-month course, but also the podcasts that we are going to be doing a week later after each of those courses and mostly excited about it because we have a big challenge in front of us as an organization, as many people do this year with the changing economic environment and the growth of the US economy and everybody wants to do well in this changing economy.

So, the only way we really do that and meet our full potential is that we develop leaders and I do not think leaders are something you hire, I think you develop them and we are devoting a lot of time to it this year. 

So, I hope that the content that we have come up with over the leadership training as well as today and subsequent months and these podcasts are going to be valuable. 

Travis: Absolutely. I mean, we will be talking about strategies, principles and tactics, things that people can actually implement and put into place. 

So, this first episode we are going to talk about the six types of leaders and kind of go into that a little bit. Let us just run through those, the six types.

Dan: Yes, the first four types are really undesirable characteristics or traits or types of leaders and the last two are more desirable. So, just real quickly– The first four are unpredictable leaders and a domineering leader, a secretive leader and a passive leader.

An unpredictable leader is somebody that you just really never know what they are going to do, on any given day when they come in they do not do things consistently and that produces a really hesitant follower, we do not want hesitant followers, we want confident followers, people that will do and be everything that they can be.

The second type that we lectured about last Friday was domineering leader and a domineering leader, although produces compliant followers, in the long run– and you may even get short-term good results– but in the long run it’s a failed leadership strategy and so, you do not want to be domineering, you want to be a listener. We talk about listening 10 times to every time that you make some sort of comment or a statement.

The problem with the domineering leader is that the more you are even respected the more that people will begin to listen to what you are saying and thinking, “This is gospel and this is what I need to do,” and so, the more you are even respected and the larger your organization gets, the more you grow stature as a leader the more you have to be diligent about asking more questions than you do statements.

Again, I like the ratio of 10:1. I think sometimes even just asking questions period and never really making a comment to avoid being a domineering leader.

The third type of leader is a secretive leader, it’s, “Well, you do not really need to know this or that,” and the problem with a secretive leader is you produce guarded followers and what you really want to be is transparent with information, you want to over-communicate, communicate, communicate.

Then the fourth type of leader is a passive leader and that type of leader produces disengaged followers. So what you want to be as a leader is you want to be engaged, you want to be there. 

So, the undesirable characteristics of the undesirable four types of leader is, again, unpredictable, number two, domineering, number three, secretive and number four passive. 

Travis: If we are all honest with ourselves, I mean, these may be aspects to our own leadership, you know, if we have self-awareness and we are really honest with ourselves we may have some of these qualities. Would you agree?

Dan: I would even take it further than that and say if you do not have some of these qualities and see yourself in some of these, if not most of these, you are not being really real with yourself and certainly you will see this in other people around you. What is most important is what you see in yourself so that you can improve and get rid of undesirable characteristics and develop desirable characteristics.

Travis: Absolutely. So, those are the first four types, more of a negative connotation with those; what is the fifth type? 

Dan: Well, the fifth type is a healthy leader and as you would expect it would be all the positive characteristics of the four negative ones that I just said. So, rather than being unpredictable, domineering, secretive and passive, a healthy leader is actually predictable. He or she comes to work and even to the point of being boring, people can say, “Yeah, he’s so predictable, he just does the same thing, says the same things, is always consistent.” That is actually a compliment, not a negative. So, you are predictable. 

Number two, you listen. Again, listen at a ratio of at least 10:1. 

Number three, you are transparent. You are a transparent communicator in all that you do, everything is on the table.

Number four, a characteristic of a healthy leader is you are engaged. You are there, you are present, you are right in the middle of everything and always engaged with what you are doing.

Travis: So that is the fifth type, we call it a health leader and it’s the positive aspects of the first four, it’s kind of the opposite positive aspect. Let us quickly mention the sixth one and then I want to come back to that healthy leader for a moment. But what is the sixth type? 

Dan: The sixth type is an empowering leader, which really has all the characteristics of a healthy leader but also gives away responsibility. So, if you kind of follow what I said earlier that an unpredictable leader produces hesitant followers and a domineering leader produces compliant followers– you might get short-term results– secretive leader produces guarded followers and a passive leader produces disengaged followers.

A healthy leader actually produces faithful followers, but we want more than faithful followers, we want to develop leaders who are leading leaders and that is what an empowering leader does, has all the characteristics of a healthy leader but gives away responsibility.

Travis: Great, thank you for that. Let us go back a minute to the healthy leader and you talked about those four qualities; being predictable, being a listener, being transparent, being engaged. Out of those four qualities, what do you feel like is the most important?

Dan: That is an interesting question, you could look at each of them and make an argument that every one of them is most important. But the one that I really hang my hat on most- and maybe it’s because of my own personal experience– is being transparent, not secretive, being transparent. Being a transparent communicator I believe is the most important.

But I kind of follow this train of thought, if you will follow a minute here; you want people– other leaders that you are leading– to care. Caring people, caring other people, caring leaders comes after trust, you will not get people that care if they do not trust. Trust comes after transparency and that is why I think transparency, not being secretive is most important.

But you have to take that a step further and say transparency is built on truth and so, truth is only existing when integrity exists. So, it kind of starts with having integrity, making sure you always tell the truth, making sure that then develops transparency which then develops trust, which then develops caring people.

Travis: I mean, that quality of being transparent, over-communicating, I think sometimes as leaders we want people to think like us and act like us and handle a situation the way that we would handle that situation, but we cannot do that, those people around us, those team members cannot do that unless they themselves see what we see, know what we know, so, that is a critical part of being transparent, do you not think?

Dan: It’s interesting because you almost look at this sometimes and you think people need to have their own mind and they think for themselves but if we have a vision mission purpose as an organization and along with that comes a strategy and we have just had the Super Bowl and we have got the football field being us here and just if you could equate it to a football game and the Kansas City Chiefs, the Super Bowl champions, you have to have a game plan.

The reason you exist, you have to have a game plan and then you have to, “Okay, what are we thinking here? What are we going to be doing?” and the more that the coach and the other leaders on the team, the defensive coordinator, can transmit what he is thinking and how he thinks to the rest of the organization the better chance the other leaders have a change to actually execute the game plan. 

So, I look at transparency and I just say it’s giving the people around you– when you are trying to develop leaders who are leading leaders ad being an empowering leader, not just a healthy leader but an empowering leader is that you are trying to give everybody the answer before they even ask the question and so, you are constantly communicating to them about what you are doing as an organization.

People cannot execute on a football team and your team as an organization, even in your family, they cannot act and do like you want them to act, execute on our vision mission purpose if they do not know what you are thinking. So, they want to think like you, you have to share with them what you are thinking and if they think like you then they can see what you see. 

So, to me, transparency is about being transparent and helping see what you see. Be empowering– not only healthy– be empowering but help them see what you see and the only way you can do that is to constantly communicate and share with people what you are thinking and what you are seeing and what is just around the corner and anticipate their question and answer them before they ever ask the question. 

That, to me, is what transparency is all about, it’s really just helping others see what you see. That is what leadership is about. 

Travis: Do you not think that also extends to the mission vision purpose and being transparent and communicating that aspect? You know, like if we have a team, whether it be a football team or a family or a business unit in a team, there is a purpose for that business or that family or there is a mission at hand and often times I think leaders do not always address that and it’s not cascaded throughout the organization.

If we asked everybody in the organization, “Do you know what the mission is?” How many of them would actually be able to articulate that, say that? So, does that not extend to the same–? 

Dan: Well, you know, again, we have talked about this many times, vision is what you want to be, what you want to do, what you want to have at some point in the future, the purpose is why you exists and were created but equally important is the mission and it’s the battle cry. 

So, not only do people have to be able to say and repeat what that is but they have to have that battle cry every single day when you get up. This is our battle cry; this is what we are doing today and this is the why behind what we are doing today. 

That constant reinforcement of your mission, your battle cry, helps people see what you see and you have got to constantly talk about what you are thinking, what you are seeing so that they can sense what that is so that they can do what you do and see what you see and act the way you act so that you together are moving forward and the end result is you win the championship, you win the Super Bowl. I mean, that is just the way it works in life. 

Travis: That purpose mission vision is like you just said, it’s part of the way that a leader sees things, how they view the world, so, critically important. I just wanted to make sure that we connected those two dots.

So, we have talked about the first four leadership types rather quickly, more negative traits and we talked about the fifth type being a healthy leader; let us now kind of unpack the empowering leader. So, what is an empowering leader? I know you address it earlier but let us unpack it a little bit.

Dan: Okay. Again, as we said earlier, it’s giving away responsibility but it’s much-much deeper than that. In the simplest form if you ask yourself and did a self-assessment in your organization, “Where have I given people the authority to say yes?” So, I am not qualifying that by saying yes to what, yes to this, yes to that, the question is have you empowered anybody, giving them the authority to say yes to anything without you having to be the one that gives the nod? Can they say yes? 

Again, we will go back to football, Andy Reid, when their defense is on the field he is sitting on the bench talking to Patrick Mahomes, which means he is empowering the leader, he is empowered and he is giving somebody the authority– the defensive coordinator– to say yes to this defensive play, to that defensive play, to this substitution, to that substitution. He has given away that authority.

Travis: I know he has given Mahomes the authority to change the play at the line of scrimmage if he sees a certain defensive stance. 

Dan: Exactly. So, there is other characteristics that encompasses an empowering leader, that go along with being an empowering leader and probably the most important of that is this; if you are going to give people the authority to say yes then you have to be able to be a good coach to them so that if they make mistakes– and they will– or if they are in tough situations– and they will be– or even in successful situations, you have to be a good coach to be able to say.

So, let us go back to Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. He is giving him the authority to do audibles at the line of scrimmage, you have seen it over and over again with him, but do not think for a minute when they are done with the series of plays if it did not result in a first down or a touchdown that he would not have Patrick Mahomes sitting on the side-line on the bench coaching him through what maybe might have been different or what he could have done better or could have done different.

So, it’s almost like the opposite side of the same coin; if you are going to be an empowering leader, which has all the healthy characteristics, you also have to be a good coach because one without the other will not work.

Travis: I mean, we have talked about this before is that all of us have the potential to be a leader whether we are in a leadership position or not and there may be many leaders on one team but a leader also has to be able to receive feedback, not just give feedback in terms of a coach but think about the Mahomes, who is the leader of the offensive team, the quarterback, he has to be open to feedback himself.

Dan: Exactly. There is an interesting dynamic there and since we are talking about football and we have got the football field behind us and we are talking about Patrick Mahomes I just want to throw out, age, gender, other things are never an excuse for not being an empowering leader or for not being a healthy leader in general. It’s just not an excuse.

You see Patrick, particularly in the AFC championship game, this kid is 24 years old and he is leading people that are at least a decade– on some cases a decade and a half– older than him and so, it’s just fascinating to me that even in my own life I have always looked and said, okay, I never felt quite right age to be leading, I always felt to young or always felt too old.

So, my question is exactly when is the right age to be leading? The answer is there is never the right age, a leader can be any age, can be any gender, can be any socioeconomic background, whatever that might be and so, do not ever use an excuse. Everybody has insecurities along with what they have, you have to fight through it.

Back to your question. So, it really is not having any excuse for not being a leader but what you were talking about I think is critically important is that you cannot really coach somebody if they are not in a frame of mind to accept coaching, right? So, again, an empowering leader must be a good coach, a characteristic of a good coach is to basically understand when the person you are trying to coach is going to be willing to accept.

Because if they are not willing to accept it hardly ever results in growth, it just does not. So, you have to be able to identify when that person is willing to accept coaching and learn and grow and if they are not you have to either go away and start at a different time or try some other tactic to get them into a mindset to accept coaching. 

Travis: So, what we are really talking about is this dynamic of wisdom as it relates to coaching, meaning there is a time and a place to coach. There is, you know, when to coach? Where to coach? Do I coach in front of other people, do I coach in private? Is this person in the right state of mind? What are your thoughts on the wisdom of that, anything in addition to what you have already said? 

Dan: There is a lot of different categories here, I personally think that unless you are invited to coach a peer you do not do it. So, it’s different when you have somebody that you are leading and you are responsible for, be it other team members, employees, your own kids, children, whatever that might be, but I am always very cautious about somebody who is a peer and offering them coaching.

You have got to be really cautious about that, so I think the wisdom comes in saying it out. If they ask for it, “Hey, give me your thoughts on what I’m doing here, what might I have done better,” that is a whole different– now the gate is open, now you have that coaching.

So, the first piece of wisdom is that, know what the org chart looks like and the reporting authority looks like. Secondly, again, know who you are sharing information with. You have to look at it and say, “Is it going to be helpful to them or am I just spewing information?” and really, they can’t do anything with it anyway, they cannot learn from it. So, knowing what to say is important, knowing when, are they in a coaching mood? Are they willing to accept coaching? Then what you are saying.

When you are coaching it should always be helpful, never hurtful. If it’s hurtful then there is no reason to say it and so, there is a lot of who? When? How? What do you say? How do you say it? The more you do it and the better you practice it the more intuitive it will become. 

You generally do not want a coach, particularly if it’s a difficult coaching when emotions are running high. You see this mistake again on the football field happening all the time and some player did something and he got a penalty called against him and you know, a good coach will always just leave him go sit on the bench and cool off and then will have a conversation with him later about, “That just cost us 15 yards, what is that all about? You gotta get a hold of your emotions and not let that happen again.”

A bad coach will start screaming at him when he is coming off the field and emotions are high and they start yelling back at each other and sometimes even getting physical, that is not a sign of a good coach or a wise coach, I guess we would say. But the wisdom comes in time of knowing what to say, who to say, who to say it to. I will just say this as one last thing–

We talked earlier about transparency and truth and how that develops caring people, regarding coaching, just because something is true does not mean it needs to be said. 

I would just put it this way; transparency is not all or nothing. Transparency can mean I might have to not say that even though it’s the truth, I may have to withhold that, maybe say it at another time or never say it at all. So, transparency is not an all or nothing proposition.

Travis: I think that is a mistake that a lot of leaders make is, “Oh, I’m transparent, I’m authentic, I say anything and everything,” but the question is did that have a positive impact?

Dan: Exactly. You will even hear people use it as they are proud of that.

Travis: Their justification.

Dan: Yes, “I’m not afraid to say anything, I just say what’s on my mind.” Well, good for you, but did it help? Did it really do anything? Did you say it to the right person? Were they open for coaching? Did it really accomplish anything? Was it helpful, was it hurtful? So, when I hear people say that I do not see that as a good thing at all, it does not impress me whatsoever.

Travis: We have shared this comment saying that strong leaders want results, weak leaders want to be right and sometimes our own need to express and share what we are thinking to prove how right we are in the situation may not actually produce the results that we want. So, just something to keep in mind for leaders that are listening in, do you want to be right or do you want to get results?

Dan: Yes and I will just add another one to it and it helps me constantly think about it. Everybody wants to follow somebody that is real rather than somebody that is always right and if you are real you are doing it to get results. So, I just constantly remind myself you do not have to be right, you just have to be real so that you do get results.

Travis: Absolutely. So, for our listeners, those questions of before you share feedback, the who, what, when, where, why, how? Those are great questions, why am I coaching? Is it to actually make an impact in a positive way or am I just doing it because I have to get this off my chest and it’ll make me feel better but it will not make the other person feel better? So, the who, what, when, where, why and how are great questions to filter ourselves. 

Let us come back to this topic then, well, continue the conversation about the empowering leader. We talked about what you felt was the most important quality of a healthy leader, which was that transparency piece, what about the empowering leader? What do you feel is the most important quality or aspect of being an empowering leader?

Dan: In addition to just being healthy and being able to be a coach at the same time you have to lead yourself first. So, I would say the most important characteristic of not just an empowering leader but any leader is the ability to lead yourself first.

Travis: So, what does that mean to you? I mean, I think I know.

Dan: I will draw an analogy, it’s not exactly like this but it’s the closest I can think of off the top of my head. If you are on an airplane and you hear the flight attendant say, “Before you put the oxygen mask on your children if it’s deployed put it on yourself first,” how do you lead somebody else when your own life is in disarray?

You are not even truthful and transparent with yourself; you are not even engaged yourself, you are passive about your own life, you are undisciplined, you do not have vision, mission, purpose for your own life, you have not developed good habits in things that you do. 

It’s just not possible. You cannot be a leader that empowers others to lead others, teams of leaders leading other teams of leaders, if you cannot even have the discipline to lead yourself and your own life and all aspects of life and growth of your own life, whether it be mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, it just does not work that way.

So, I think the most important characteristic is being able to lead yourself, leading yourself and growing yourself and accomplishing the same thing that you are asking your organization to do, your leaders to do, which is grow towards vision, mission, purpose for your own life.

Travis: I mean, leadership starts with you, it starts with me, it starts with each one of us and I just could not agree more to that. For the time being I forget who said this quote but I will remember it here in a minute. “The two most important days of your life are the day that you were born and the day that you find out why.”

Dan: That would be Mark Twain. 

Travis: That is Mark Twain, there you go. That is a beautiful quote, because it’s really starting with your own purpose mission vision and if you are not clear on that yourself then to your point, how are you going to help engage and develop other leaders to find their own mission vision purpose or to be aligned with the collective if it’s an organizational mission vision and purpose. 

Dan: So, next month in the leadership conference and subsequently in the next podcast we are going to be unpacking this idea of leading yourself; what are the steps to doing that and we are going to give some very practical in the leadership series and we will follow it up with a podcast next month, giving real practical steps on how you actually lead yourself, which is the most important characteristic, the first thing you do to become any leader at all, a healthy leader, let alone an empowering leader, we are going to give you the steps to become that leader in leading yourself first. 

Travis: Great, Dan, I look forward to that and one last thing we can leave with the audience as a takeaway is, do a self-assessment based on these six leadership styles. Are you predictable? Just reflect and ask yourself, ask others for feedback. Are you a good listener? Are you engaged? Are you developing others? Are you empowering others? Where are you domineering? 

So, I think it’s a great takeaway, everybody should self-reflect, self-assess on their own leadership styles and where they are at today so you can work on adding skills and abilities to get where you want to go.

Dan: Because when the leader gets better everybody gets better.

Travis: Absolutely and that is why we are going to make leadership matter.

Dan: Thank you.

Travis: Thank you, Dan. Appreciate it. 

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