Leadership Types: The Tyrant, The Diplomat, and The Drunk // Which one are YOU?

Getting to the heart of it today, talking about leaders.  Instead of that boorish, cheesy and clichéd style of talking about leadership, I am going to take a FRESH NEW TAKE on talking about leadership…Yes, fresh, original, uncanny…yady yady yada (Seinfeld Show reference).  In reality, the descriptions below are to help one recognize these people exist and yes, they have become leaders for better or for worse in many organizations around the globe.  The underlying principle that describes these three leaders is rooted in Theory X and Theory Y as proposed by Douglas McGregor in his book The Human Side of Enterprise (1960), which falls out of scope for the discussion here at hand but feel free to ponder away on your own with uncle Google’s help.

So, here we go,

Presenting our actors, the Tyrant, the Diplomat and the Drunk, starring as… … … themselves.

The Tyrant aka the authoritarian leader is one who generally is pessimistic about his subordinates and “motivates” them primarily with the carrot and stick model.  If they do a good job, the leader gives a carrot, otherwise a stick is used to achieve an outcome desired by this type of leader.  Workers are considered lazy, unmotivated, and don’t like work.  The are focused on job security and not moved by responsibility, and therefore require micromanaging.  However draconian, this approach tends to accomplish a lot of work and surprisingly is efficient.  Though in the long-term, burnout can occur, dissatisfaction with the leader and pessimism can grow among staff.  This style gets its badge of honor primarily from Theory X.

The Diplomat aka the democratic leader employs a strategy to leading which embraces workers are considered more as teammates rather than “subordinates”.  This type of leader treats their stature as one with the team rather than authoritative and decidedly above everyone else.  They seek to develop their teammates to be motivated in the work they do by self development through their daily routines.  They seek to foster relationships with the staff and genuinely care about staff perspectives, morale and tend to form an inclusive environment.  They see workers as persons who generally like work, are self-motivated under the right conditions, and require less management.  This style produces a welcoming environment for workers to operate and thrive in.  However the draw back is the amount of effort and time it takes for this type of leader to continually maintain such an involved method of leading.  In doing so efficiencies are lost and the amount of work produced tends to be less than the Tyrant approach.  However, it does not suffer from the same drawback of the Tyrant model and staff satisfaction is generally high under the leadership of a Diplomat style leader.  Style points mostly come from Theory Y.

Thë Drunk aka the laissez-faire style leader is essentially a non-leader.  This type of leader does not micromanage nor does expend any effort on developing the true potential of workers.  This is the most hands-off approach of the three leader types and effectively leaves things up to chance.  What else can be said about this approach that one cannot assume and rightly be correct.  Anything that can happen due to the intrinsic personality differences of each working in the team will happen.  This style of management usually does not produce a lot of throughput nor is efficient.  There is no regard to even establishing a philosophical description of workers as there is simply no need, or no desire as work will get done one way or another….or maybe none at all.  This leader doesn’t care about Theory X, nor Theory Y and if there was a Theory Z (there isn’t) it wouldn’t care at all.  The theory employed should might as well be labeled as “Null-Theory”.  If there isn’t such a thing, then you read about it here first, and TYHE claims all rights, and accolades that are forthcoming.  Please address the Nobel prize in management to …. what do you mean there isn’t a Nobel prize for leadership?!?


As a YHE which one of these are you now or are going to become?  Do you think a good leader would have to strictly prescribe to one style or another?  Or can there be some mixing of traits?

In today’s healthcare climate, which leadership qualities show promise?

Live long and ponder.