Leadership Style: Ringleader

[Part 3 of a 6 part ongoing series] There are many different types of people in the world, and many different types of leaders.  Unfortunately, most do irreparable harm to those they surround themselves with.  But, what are the different kinds of leaders?  What, if anything, can we take from them?  And is there a better approach to leading people?  Take a look. Styles already covered: Lone Wolf , Trophy Hunter

The ringleader is everyone’s buddy.  They are able to win people over by sheer force of personality, and when people aren’t certain if the next proposed move is a good one, the ringleader is there to assure everyone that only good things will result from this latest decision.

Ringleaders aren’t necessarily interested in developing people beyond where they are because they simply like everyone as they are already.  Individual growth isn’t really desired because it implies one is looking to expand beyond the perfect bubble the group already exists in.  The ringleader tends to focus on four different areas. Maintaining status quo, keeping relationship statuses intact, coming up with new and exciting things for the group to try, and damage control when things inevitably go awry.

The damage being done here is that as everyone’s best friend, the ringleader hasn’t set themselves up to be able to encourage positive growth, and objectively correct where their team has fallen astray.  After all, we have relationships to maintain, right?  And so, what happens instead is a circle of positivity and encouragement, regardless the outcome. The only times there are flaws that must be addressed are done as a group, and the group deals with the outcome to become a better, well, group.  Otherwise, the ringleader is satisfied to simply “be together” with his crew. It’s likely that very little actual work is getting accomplished, and the ringleader believes he is pouring into his team with meaningful investments. But the team members will eventually grow weary of the “fun” and leave to find more depth and development elsewhere.

Unlike the trophy hunter (who has usually sensed danger and bailed long ago), the ringleader will often go down with the ship if something major goes awry.  This is sometimes because of loyalty to the crew and sometimes because they were just plain oblivious to what was going on around them as the ship took on water.

I’ve seen this happen, and usually it’s just a matter of time before the Ringleader tries again.  Their heart is most often in the right place.  But the trouble is, they’re convinced that’s all it takes.  And so they’re destined to fail again- and the rest of their team along with them.

How can the Ringleader better approach the people around them and build them up to do great things rather than simply “have fun” with them?  Is this really so bad?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

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