Mudassir Iqbal

In today’s world, the concept of leadership is often misunderstood. We tend to equate leadership with being at the forefront, leading from the frontlines. However, a deeper understanding reveals that leadership comes in various forms, and each individual has the potential to be a leader in their own right. This realization struck me as I was reading an article discussing leadership and stumbled upon the Coactive Leadership Model.

In my professional experience, I’ve encountered many individuals, particularly at the C-level, who hold a narrow view of leadership. They expect leaders to be those who assertively lead from the front, taking charge and pushing teams to excel. However, I’ve always believed that leadership encompasses more than just being at the forefront. Leaders can inspire, motivate, and guide from various positions within an organization. I thank my leaders for helping me see beyond titles. The position is not a prerequisite for leadership.

Take, for instance, the trajectory of leaders like Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and Satya Nadella. While Gates and Nadella are often portrayed as visionary leaders, Ballmer’s tenure at Microsoft demonstrated a different style of leadership. Despite the skyrocketing revenues during his time, many decisions he made left people puzzled. This highlights the diversity of leadership styles and the need to recognize and appreciate different approaches.

During one interview, I was asked about my aspirations for leadership. I candidly admitted that I didn’t possess the charisma or visionary qualities often associated with traditional leaders. However, I emphasized my strength in leading teams, motivating others, strategically thinking, remaining factual, and achieving objectives. Unfortunately, my response didn’t align with the interviewer’s narrow perception of leadership, ultimately working against me.

The prevalent misconception in society is that leadership is synonymous with charismatic figures like Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, or Steve Jobs. Yet, behind these iconic leaders are countless unnamed individuals whose contributions were instrumental in their success. It’s time to acknowledge that leadership is not confined to a single definition but is a continuous journey of self-discovery and growth.

The Co-Active Leadership Model

Here are five types of leaders, each contributing uniquely to the fabric of leadership:

  1. The Visionary Leader: These leaders stand at the forefront, painting a clear vision of the future. They strike a balance between connecting with their team members and charting a path forward.All of us can come up with many names one is Elon Musk
  2. The Collaborative Leader: Instead of leading from the front, collaborative leaders work alongside their team members, fostering a sense of partnership and leveraging everyone’s strengths for collective success.
  3. The Servant Leader: Leaders who embrace a servant leadership approach prioritize empowering others. They recognize the potential in their team members and work tirelessly to nurture and unleash their brilliance. The name that comes to my mind is Nelson Mandela. How he always believed in others and helped them deliver.
  4. The Intuitive Leader: Intuitive leaders navigate the complexities of the world by tapping into their instincts and intuition. They possess a natural ability to sense opportunities and make informed decisions.
  5. The Purpose-Led Leader: These leaders lead from within, guided by a strong sense of purpose and personal values. They embody integrity and authenticity, inspiring others through their actions.Here I want to take the name of Malala Yousuf Zai from Pakistan. Her unwavering commitment to girls’ education comes from her values.

Identifying which type of leader resonates with you is the first step towards embarking on your leadership journey. Remember, leadership is not about conforming to a predetermined archetype but about embracing your unique strengths and leading with authenticity. As you continue to learn, practice, and grow, you’ll discover the leader within you, ready to make a meaningful impact on the world.

Additional Reading