The Catalyst – Our chemistry lessons from school define the word as ‘a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change’ That description holds true for this leadership style as well. The Catalyst is a self-assured individual who takes the collective into account and heeds team opinions, but retains his or her control over decisions.
I saw this in play while working on the commission for Prince Pipes. It represented a passing of the baton, so to speak, from the leadership of the father – to his son. Ordinarily, a power-charged and volatile time for any organisation, at Prince Pipes the transition was respectful and smooth. Which is a hallmark of Catalyst-style organisations – a collaboration of equals, where egos are kept in check, and importance is given to not rocking the boat.
The Amplifier – This is the ideal kind of leadership style – to be a leader who has the big visions and an inexhaustible forward-drive, but unlike Prime Movers, to lead the team from within. She/he amplifies, not only her/his own vision throughout the team, but also teammate’s efforts to other team members and outside stakeholders. What this does is create a multiplier effect of efficiency, by echoing the team’s goals and successes widely.
I have the privilege of presently interacting with just such a client (a detailed post about the commission will follow). Brookfield Asset Management came to us with an office fit-out commission, but the rare and telling difference, is the deep level of trust they placed in our expertise. Once they saw our presentation (which was received with an engaged and interested hearing), they clarified a few queries, approved the recommendations, and that was it. They did not get into micro-managing a project – all Amplifiers function from a similar zone of trust abundance.
So, there you have it, the 4 styles of collaboration that a leader creates around herself/himself. Each, with its efficiencies and areas of improvement. Recognising your own type, or that of your boss, is a critical piece of information with which to proceed into collaboration. Prime Mover, Seeker, Catalyst and Amplifier; whatever the style, identify it using this simple questionnaire. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the tool, or the results.