4 Types of Leadership

4 Types of Leadership

How to be a Navigate Leader

Recently, I was riding in the car with a consulting client field shadowing and listening to him coach his newly-acquired team.  He is a classic Top Producer who was promoted into sales management without any leadership training.  (I see this happen all the time!  Why do we put so much effort in recruiting the right sales person, getting them on-boarded, continuing training them and coaching them to ensure they are successful?  But when we promote someone into a leadership position, we just throw them into the fire and say, “good luck with this mess”.   What’s ironic for a top producer is that usually becoming a manager means a decrease in pay!  Yet this conundrum happens all the time.)  This rookie manager was talking with new salespeople, veterans, top producers and average producers and was managing them all the exact same way.  After listening to four calls, my coaching radar was going off that this new manager needed some leadership coaching on the 4 types of Navigate Leadership.

One of the most important things I learned on the topic of leadership early in my career was from a book I read by Ron Marks called Managing for Sales Results.  It the book Marks talks about the fact that there are four different types of leadership that different team members need based on where they are at in their career.  A common mistake is to treat every team member the same way, or treat them the way you would want to be treated.  The best leaders understand you have to be a Navigate Leader and manage each person on your team the way they would want to be managed.

4 Types of Leadership

4 Types of Leadership

There are 4 types of team members that need 4 different types of leadership that you need to understand to become a Navigator Leader.

4 types of team members:

1.  Low Motivation and Low Skills and Knowledge.

2.  Low Motivation and High Skills and Knowledge.

3.  High Motivation and Low Skills and Knowledge.

4.  High Motivation and High Skills and Knowledge.

Now that you know the 4 types of team members, take a moment and create a flow chart of your entire team and categorize every person into one of the 4 categories.  Now that you have an understanding where each team member is, it’s time to Navigate how you lead each one of them.

4 Types of Navigate Leadership:

1.    Directive Leadership:  For people with low skill and low motivation.

When someone knows hardly anything about how to do the job, the product or what to do… they need to be told what to do!  Most leaders make the mistake of thinking people don’t want to be told what to do, and that is not true for this group of people.  Rookies need directive leadership on a regular basis.

This can be difficult for leaders who are naturally macro-managers.  I remember the first personal assistant I hired.  I didn’t want to come across as “bossy” so I let her set her hours, keep track of her to-do list and come to me when she needed help.  Well, that lasted for about 6 weeks and she quit!  Then I hired another assistant and she quit!  Then I realized they were quitting because they were not feeling supported.  During someone’s first year of being on your team, they need for you to hold their hand, help them over come the inevitable challenges and figure out how to be successful at their job.

2.    Inspirational Leadership:  For people with high skill and low motivation.

Old dogs can learn new tricks… you just need the right bone to throw them. When working with a group of seasoned veterans, one of the biggest challenges a leader faces is keeping them motivated.

This seems to come from two areas:


1. Ego – Top dogs want to remember the good old days.  Usually they have been successful in the past, and they are trying to save face by always talking about their years of experience and how they’ve always done things.  When someone keeps doing things the same way they’ve always done, they will always get what they’ve always got… and most of the time that is not growing or moving forward.  We call this common trend “not being coachable”.  Sometimes the best way to cure, this is the follow the veteran in the field and ask them after the day is over what they think they are doing right and what they are not doing right.  Usually they will give you an excuse as to why they do things the way that they do.  When they do this, smile and ask them how that is working out for them?  Usually it’s not.

The next step is to show them how to do the job the right way.  Either you personally run the next meeting and close it by the book or you have them follow a top producer.  There is nothing more inspiring to a veteran who technically knows everything there is to know about the job, but is just too stubborn to follow the proven system, than seeing a live presentation where someone who has less experience than they do close a deal with ease by following the system.

2. Complacency – We see this all the time in businesses that have residual pay.  Once someone has been selling insurance or doing financial planning, they are making so much income from residual pay they stop working.  The best way to identify if someone is complacent is to look at their income over the past 3 years and if it hasn’t grown by at least $10,000 – $20,000 then they probably are complacent.  The best thing to do with someone who is complacent is to promote them as a new in-field trainer.  It’s amazing how hard working and re-invigorated someone becomes when they know they are the example other people are following.  Set up a follow schedule of having rookies follow someone who is complacent to “show them how to work hard at the job”.  Make sure you coach this team member in how important it is that the rookies see a really solid day of work and to be following the processes by the book.

Another great idea is to create an incentive plan based on activity.  Then create a leader-board that you publish every week with everyone’s activity.  Veterans usually hate being shown up… and when you send out everyone’s activity and who is leading the company in each category every week your competitive team members will rise to the challenge.

3.  Coaching Leadership – For people with high motivation but low technical skill and knowledge.

Average producers usually have one of two issues.  Usually it’s a lack of skill or it’s a lack of will… sometimes both!  If someone doesn’t have skill or will, at some point you have to be willing to just let them go be successful somewhere else.  So, let’s assume most of your average

producers have a high will and motivation to be successful, but they are just lacking the knowledge it takes to be a top producer.  These people don’t need “pump up calls”.  They need coaching, role-plays, video taping of their demos and having you review it with them.

Coaching is the greatest form of results-driven spaced repetition training a leader can provide.  Classroom training is what most leaders utilize; yet it is the least effective in getting real results in their team members. You should have a regularly-scheduled coaching session with each one of these team members weekly or bi-weekly.  On each call, you should review their activity numbers with them and be prepared to coach them on one thing technical and one thing emotional to help them be more successful that next week.

4.    Servant Leadership – For people with high motivation and high skill and knowledge.

Nate Vogel said it best, “Top Producers are like top of the line sports cars.  They go real fast, are expensive to fix and they really make you look good.”  If you have a Ferrari, you wouldn’t drive it the same way you would drive a VW bug.  Literally, your Ferrari can go faster and do things that a VW bug could never do.

When it comes to leading your Ferrari’s/ race horses/ Top Producers, doesn’t it make sense that they need different maintenance than your other producers?  A contest for a Top Producer should be different than a contest for your average producers.  The way you lead your Top Producers should be different than how you lead your average producers.  Typically, the best way to lead a Top Producer is through Servant Leadership.

Servant Leadership is simply being a servant to the people on your team.  While you should be a servant leader for everyone on your team, this should be the only type of management you provide to Top Producers.  Top Producers do not want to be told what to do.  They typically don’t need someone to pump them up everyday.  Top Producers who have a high motivation and high technical skills just need someone to help remove the barriers that might slow them down.  A great question to ask a Top Producer is, “is there anything I can help you with?”  If they say, “nope, I’m all good” then just make sure they are happy and having fun doing the job and let them go along their merry way.  The worst thing in the world you can do with a Top Producer is to find the one or two things they are doing wrong and try to fix them.  They just need to feel like everything they are doing is right and keep on doing what they are the best… Producing!

My wife Kyah tells me stories of when she was breaking the company record at Southwestern and she was feeling burned out from working 85 hours per week she’d call her manager and say, “I’m thinking about getting my nails done”.  Most average managers would have reminded her that would be “getting off schedule” and pressured her to keep on working, but not her manager Nate.  He was a Navigate Leader and every time she had an idea or thought he’d simply tell her “that’s a great idea.  I think you should do that.  Just call me when you’re done.”   Then she’d go take 30 minutes to do her thing, and then call him back and was refreshed and back at work.  At Southwestern, not every salesperson could handle this kind of interruption in their intense summer work schedule, but Kyah’s Navigate Leader knew that she could!

When it comes to being a “Navigator Leader”, it is important to remember to not treat everyone the way you would like to be managed.  Rather, you identify where each person on your team is in terms of their motivation and skill then you create a plan to make sure you are leading people the way they want to be lead.

For more information about the Southwestern Consulting™ Leadership Coaching program go here:  http://coaching.southwesternconsulting.com/Sales_Coaching_and_Leadership_Coaching.aspx

One Response to “4 Types of Leadership”

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Co-Founder of Southwestern Consulting™, Dustin Hillis, on The 4 Types of Leadership.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: