The Four Public Leaders You Will Meet While Turning Curves

In community change efforts, the way leaders work with each other is an important collaborative exercise. The facilitation and engagement of leaders in the process is a critical aspect of whether the holy grail of public leadership is achieved – Measurable Impact.

The Results-Based Accountability framework, as described by Mark Friedman in the book, “Trying Hard is Not Good Enough” lays out a way for leaders to take collaborative action in a data-driven community change effort. In the framework, the notion of “Turning a Curve” is making a Measurable Impact for something important to your community or the customers your organization serves. To effectively facilitate turn the curve discussions or even get others to participate in turning curves, you need to understand how to inspire and work with different types of people.

From my experience and drawing heavily from the Temperament Types of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator2 as originally described by David Keirsey, there are four types of leaders who can help you turn a curve. The four leaders include Rule Followers, Thrill Seekers, Energizers, and Strategizers. They can be found among the world’s population and can be an asset if approached strategically. To capitalize on these leaders, not only will you need to manage your communication with them, but you will also need to manage how they communicate with each other. Here is how you know them when you see them:

Rule Followers (41% of the population)

Rule followers are typically drawn to positions that include administrators, lawyers, contract managers, and finance people. Words often used to describe Rule Followers include overseer, supporter, examiner, and defender. They like order and have a high sense of duty, responsibility, and loyalty. They prefer step-by-step instructions and want others to see them as hard working, reliable, and dependable. Rule Followers can often slow down the turning of curves by being too bureaucratic. They can accelerate the turning of curves by helping the group be prepared with the information they need to make good decisions.

Thrill Seekers (33% of the population)

Thrill seekers are typically drawn to positions that include detectives, firefighters, litigators, and social workers. Words often used to describe Thrill Seekers include entertainer, craftsman, and artist. They hate meetings, particularly repetitive and unproductive meetings that don’t facilitate mental stimulation. They are laid back, open minded, and love to live life. They need to be actively involved to meet their in-the-moment needs. They want others to see them as resourceful and risk taking and want to be known for their spontaneity. Thrill Seekers can often slow down the turning of curves by being too expedient and making quick decisions. They can use their quick wit and desire for change to positively accelerate the turning of curves by thinking outside of the box to bring new resources to the table.

Energizers (14% of the population)

Energizers are typically drawn to positions that include trainers/teachers, coaches, counselors, and spokespeople. Words often used to de- scribe Energizers include mentor, advocate, visionary, and dreamer. They seek harmony in the work place. Big ideas are at the forefront for Energizers and details or step-by-step directives tend to be of less importance. It defies their individuality. They can create a vision and easily motivate others to follow it. They want others to see them as authentic and inclusive and want to be known for their ability to inspire others. Energizers can often slow down the turning of curves by being too idealistic and by overlooking relevant details. The abilities of an Energizer can accelerate the turning of curves by inspiring others to take action and by their sheer passion.

 Strategizers (12% of the population)

Strategizers are typically drawn to positions that include judges, computer programmers, scientists, and executives. Words often used to describe Strategizers include chief, intellectual, originator, and engineer. They can be visionaries and builders of systems. They tend to be more impersonal and bring logic to ideas and actions. They want others to see them as competent and logical, and above all they want to be known for their expertise. They have the ability to strategically analyze complex issues. Strategizers can often slow down the turning of curves by being too competitive with others. They can accelerate the turning of curves by bringing all the right players to the table and by having a do-it-at-any-cost mentality.

Once you have identified the types of leaders you have around you, there are several ways to engage them to productively help you turn curves in your work. Approaches to navigating the characteristics of these four leadership types are outlined in the chart below. Understanding what drives leadership behavior and how to use this knowledge to motivate behavior is the key to collaborative action. If leaders can’t work together, they will never break from traditional stove-pipe behavior needed to attain the holy grail of solid Measurable Impact.

four types of leaders


This blog post is an excerpt from The Holy Grail of Public Leadership, by Adam Luecking.

clear-impact-adam-luecking About the author: 
Adam Luecking, CEO of Clear Impact, is an author, speaker, and trainer on topics related to Results-Based Accountability (RBA) and achieving measurable improvement. As CEO, he manages executive leadership programs, consulting services and technology deployment to agencies that serve children, families, and communities with the growing Clear Impact team. In 2013, he authored the book “The Holy Grail of Public Leadership” and was named on of Maryland’s 2015 most admired CEOs by the Daily Record.

2017-02-20T22:47:26+00:00 By |Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

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