Identifying Leadership Styles: Be the Leader Your Company Needs

In the world of professional leadership, it’s really important to understand and welcome different leadership styles in order to create a successful environment. We talked to Robert Jordan, a leadership development expert and creator of the FABS Leadership Assessment. 

Robert Jordan wrote a book called “Right Leader, Right Time” that’s full of ideas from a huge study involving 7,000 executives from 50 different countries. After all that research, they found that only about 2 to 4 percent of leaders were really outstanding, and most of them could be grouped into four distinct leadership styles: fixer, artist, builder, and strategist. 

Let’s take a closer look at the four main leadership styles that FABS talks about fixer, artist, builder, and strategist. We’ll also see how each style can make a big difference in a company when used the right way.

Group of business people talking on a meeting in the office.


What are these main leadership styles?

The FABS framework, which stands for those four styles, is like a scientific plan that’s still being tested, but it opens up a lot of possibilities. One important thing to remember is that the FABS model doesn’t try to put people into just one style. It understands that every leader has a mix of abilities.

Fixers: These are the people who jump in to solve problems, even in tough situations. You can think of them as the ones who rush into a burning building to save the day. An example is someone like John Ray, who’s great at handling disasters and getting things back on track. But sometimes, if fixers aren’t careful, their quick actions can cause problems. For instance, “Chainsaw Al” Dunlap used aggressive methods to turn companies around, but it got him in trouble with accusations of cheating in accounting.

Artists: Visionaries and creators, artists view the world as a blank canvas. They’re always coming up with new and amazing ideas. Think of Elon Musk and his game-changing projects like Tesla and SpaceX. But artists also need to learn how to work with others to make their ideas happen. Thus, being able to blend creativity with leadership is their special strength.

Builders: The ones who drive businesses to grow and become successful in the market. They’re really good at building a strong foundation and making the company stand out. They know how to make processes work well and get teams motivated. However, if builders don’t slow down, they might take on too much at once.

Strategists: At the helm of vast organizations, strategists orchestrate complex systems with meticulous precision. People like Fred Smith, who started FedEx, and Bill Gates, whose genius extended beyond programming to negotiation and leadership. They’re great at managing complicated systems. However, for strategists, it can be tricky to get things done in big organizations where they might not know everyone.


Achieving Confident Leadership

leadership styles - Businesspeople planning on a glass wall

As you explore these leadership styles across various industries, remember that embracing your unique capabilities fosters a confident leadership journey. An important aspect of this is the “highest and best use of time,” where leaders discern their strengths and nurture them to cultivate trust and respect.

Confident leaders learn how to use their strengths and work on their weak points. As leaders get better, they need to look at themselves and see how they’re doing. Being a leader is like a mix of different styles coming together to make something great. If we’re open and understanding, we can make environments where every leader can do well. 

For an in-depth discussion about these leadership styles, you can listen to the full interview about how to be the leader your company needs or watch it via The Culture of Leadership (TCoL) YouTube channel here.


Is your leadership style what your company needs?

A great first step is to do the FABS Leadership Assessment and learn about your dominant and secondary leadership styles. It shows you which styles you’re strongest in and which ones you use next. 

The FABS Leadership Assessment is a tool that can help you achieve a greater level of self-awareness, which is a critical element of becoming a more confident leader.

You can take this free assessment here.

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