Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it."
But he took off his coat and took off his hat
And the first thing he knew he'd begun it.
With the lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

boss vs leader 800x800

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle right in with a bit of a grin,
Then take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That cannot be done, and you'll do it.’’

(Available online at

What is leadership and what makes an individual a good leader? When we think of leaders we generally think of an executive of a company or a Politician or a big personality who has made a difference in lives of thousands. We read about them, watch movies about them while in real term anyone can be a leader. A leader in simple term is someone who influences others to achieve a set of goals. A mother is a leader. A father is a leader. A child can be a leader.

Businesses face myriad of challenges on a daily basis but a good leader is someone who can see the opportunity in the challenge and depicts the same to his staff.

There are many types of leadership style but we will focus on four today:  transformational, charismatic, servant and transactional. Although leaders do have a prevalent leadership style, a good leader needs to adjust his style based on the situation at hand.

Transformational leadership

Having a transformational leadership style should be what leaders aim at and develop. It is a collaborative approach where leaders work and motivate staff to identify change and create a vision. Transformational leaders enhance motivation, morale and job performance. It is the style that followers follow easily as they are convinced that the leader has their interest a heart.

Nelson Mandela is the perfect example of a transformational leader. He took the interest of both Afrikaans and British to bring peace, at a time when most individuals would not have done so. Through his leadership South Africa got its independence.

One of the biggest challenges of transformational leadership is however the inability to make quick decision when an emergency occurs. Because leaders prefer having the consensus of team members it is not advisable to use this leadership style when time is a constraint.

Charismatic leadership

Charismatic leadership is quite similar to transformational leadership as leaders’ primary goal is to inspire and motivate staff. Unlike a transformational leader whose aim is to transform teams and organizations, a charismatic leader use charisma often focusing on themselves and their ambitions.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a charismatic leader who used his influence to initiate change and create hope. His motivating speech, personality and engagement contributed to his charisma.

Servant Leadership

A servant leader is, as the name implies, someone whose primary objective is to please the team by ensuring they meet the team’s need.  They lead with generosity and humility. As much as they tend to get along with the entire team, their limited vision can be a challenge when a task is at hand or when you need to beat a deadline.

In his August 2010 article ‘’Why servant leadership is a bad idea,’ 30-year veteran executive coach Mitch McCrimmon says servant leadership simply does not align with basic business structure. Managers serve the primary purpose of representing the interests of owners and top management, not employees. While part of the manager’s job is to motivate and support good employee performance and behaviour, literal service to employees goes against inherent business structures.’'

Jesus is a great example of a servant leader. Despite experiencing many challenges, he preached love, peace and humility.

Transactional Leadership

Leaders who portray the transactional leadership style believe that employees have to obey their leader when they accept a position and have the right to punish if need be. Transactional leaders also believe in external rewards when employee performs exceptionally well. Researches have however shown that such leadership style leads to high staff turnover.

‘’Bill Gates is considered as a transactional leader when he used to visit new product teams and ask difficult questions until he was satisfied that the teams were on track and understood the goal.’’

Leadership style

Psychologists have developed several frameworks to help individuals know what leadership styles describe them better and how to use them.

Time and time again leaders have however shown that it is possible for individuals to possess many leadership skills and use it based on situations. Nelson Mandela who was described above as a transformational leader, has also used his charisma to influence South African people. His movie also showed how in certain cases how he was forced to use transactional leadership and also servant leadership to pass his message across. However it is also true that certain people will be more confortable adopting a particular leadership style as it depicts their ‘true self.’

Irrespective of the choice, a leader must be inspiring, a motivator and an achiever.