Understanding the 4 Leadership Types and Their Potential



“Your calling multiplies you” – Sunday Adelaja


I like simplicity; anyone can follow simple plans, simple directions, understand simple concepts, I hold to simple, unchanging values that I pass on to others. Yet, if we’re not watchful, leadership can sometimes become so complicated that we lose sight of the unchanging foundational principles that govern it. Believe it or not, the most difficult part of good leadership is learning how to keep it simple.


The Simplicity of Leading with Shared Values


The law of addition states, “Leaders add value by serving others.” Mollie Mart says, “Allow the way to your great work to be guided by your service to others.”

Some years ago, I learned the hard way how important shared values are to keeping things simple. The organization I was leading was growing, numbers were up morale was high, and life was fun. Delegating some responsibilities, I know my team members could handle, released me to focus on the next steps.


While focusing too much on the next steps, I lost sight of the most basic principle of leadership which is influence, nothing more, nothing less. I was confident in my leadership style and the influence I have on those who work with me, my problem at that time was not understanding the hidden values of one of my potential leaders and the influence his values would have on people.


Ed (not his real name), is a likable guy, a good communicator with good potential, I had him leading a small weekly meeting on several occasions while I was away. Within a few weeks, I’m hearing from several members who were sure that I wasn’t saying to Ed what he was saying in those meetings.


The subtle negativity Ed was communicating stemmed from a hidden desire for control of the team. The group knew where Ed was going and how he was operating was inconsistent with our values. My mistake was choosing Ed to lead based on his skillset before understanding his values.


Understanding Values and Leadership Mathematics


“The dynamic tension between daring and serving creates the conditions for superior performance.” – Cheryl A. Bachelder


Good leaders understand risk and weigh the rewards before taking them. I cannot overemphasize the necessity of knowing your people and their values upfront. We all have four types of people in our organizations each with potential.


Multipliers: Level 4 & 5 Leaders: Transformational Mentors with earned respect.

Multiplication is the process or skill of multiplying; these are your multipliers who add value exponentially; they function from an abundance mindset and see nothing but possibilities. Multipliers produce and mentor leaders, they understand the risks as the price of growth and approach it wisely and informed. Multipliers take your organization to the next level quicker than anyone. John C. Maxwell sums up the impact of multipliers saying, “Leaders who produce other leaders multiplies their influences.”


Adders: Level 3 Leaders: People follow them because of results.

Addition is the action or process of adding something to something else. These people add value to others one at a time. Adders won’t bring you exponential growth like multipliers, but they do provide growth at a slower steady rate. Overtime, adders leave behind them numerous people who add value to others. If mentored properly, adders have the potential to be your next multipliers.


Dividers: Potential to be Level 4 & 5 Leaders

Division is the action of separating something into parts or the process of being separated. Dividers are major influencers wreaking havoc within their organizations. Because dividers are multipliers with a scarcity mindset, their negative influence will breed instability, undermine leadership influence, diminish productivity, and evaporating profitability at an alarming rate. Swift decisive action is always required.


Subtractors: Potential Level 3 Leaders

Subtraction is the process or skill of taking one number or amount away from another. Ed was a subtractor, by removing the shared values of the organization and replacing them with his own, he removed the positive influence of serving others with transparency and an abundance mindset. Because of a scarcity mindset, Ed was serving himself at the expense of the team and the organization, no amount of reasoning could change his mind. In the end, Ed had to go.


A thoroughly thought out onboarding process consistent with your organization’s mission, values and work environment is the only way to root out subtractors and dividers before having them planted in your company.


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