What Kind of Leader Truly Inspires?

A series of recent studies tested two different theories on the type of leadership people really want. According to the first theory, people want leaders who represent themselves as being part of the group or organization to which they belong. These leaders are successful because they view as primary protecting the group’s core values.

The second theory poses that people prefer visionary leaders who help them identify strongly with the group, and who want to take their group or organization in a different direction. These idealistic types take risks, stand out, and are creative innovators.
These studies showed that individuals overwhelmingly preferred the visionary leaders. In fact, these imaginative leaders inspired group action and made individuals identify strongly with the group. They were able to bring about change more effectively than the leader who is representative of the group.





Is it always possible to choose one type of leader over the other? Perhaps the best way to proceed with leadership training is to assist these individuals in incorporating characteristics of both types of leaders.