What kind of a leader are You?

A 7 Minute Read Work Article by Adrian Goh

Profile of Adrian Goh, Baptized name: Barnabas
– A family man and a Christian who volunteers overseas (Indonesia, Myanmar and other countries)
– Highly experienced in physical security, workplace safety, facilities management and human resource management. He is also workplace safety and fire safety certified
– He is equally comfortable in handling major operations and administrative work

His other articles, for sharing, can also be found here:

In the modern context, leadership and management have evolved to encompass a wide range of approaches, each suited to different organizational cultures, industries, and challenges.

Here’s a deep dive into some of the different ways of leadership and management in the modern context:

Transactional Leadership:

Definition: Transactional leadership focuses on the exchange of rewards and punishments to motivate followers. It emphasizes clear expectations, task-oriented leadership, and performance-based rewards.

Example: Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric (GE), is often cited as an example of a transactional leader who implemented performance-based incentives and strict performance evaluations to drive results within the organization.


Bass, B. M. (1990). From Transactional to Transformational Leadership: Learning to Share the Vision. Organizational Dynamics, 18(3)

Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Moorman, R. H., & Fetter, R. (1990). Transformational Leader Behaviors and Their Effects on Followers’ Trust in Leader, Satisfaction, and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors. Leadership Quarterly, 1(2)

Transformational Leadership:

Definition: Transformational leadership inspires and motivates followers to achieve higher levels of performance by appealing to their values, emotions, and ideals. It emphasizes vision-setting, empowerment, and individualized consideration.

Example: Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, is often cited as a transformational leader who inspires innovation, challenges the status quo, and fosters a culture of bold experimentation and visionary thinking.


Avolio, B. J., & Bass, B. M. (1988). Transformational Leadership, Charisma, and Beyond. In J. G. Hunt, B. R. Baliga, H. P. Dachler, & C. A. Schriesheim (Eds.), Emerging Leadership Vistas (pp. 29-49). New York, NY: Pergamon Press.

Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2006). Transformational Leadership (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Servant Leadership:

Definition: Servant leadership prioritizes the needs of others above self-interest, emphasizing humility, empathy, and stewardship. It focuses on serving the needs of followers and enabling their growth and development.

Example: Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, is often cited as a servant leader who demonstrated humility, empathy, and a commitment to empowering employees throughout her leadership tenure.


Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. New York, NY: Paulist Press.

Spears, L. C. (Ed.). (1998). Insights on Leadership: Service, Stewardship, Spirit, and Servant-Leadership. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Authentic Leadership:

Definition: Authentic leadership emphasizes self-awareness, transparency, and integrity, with leaders acting in alignment with their core values and beliefs. It focuses on building trust and credibility through genuine interactions.

Example: Oprah Winfrey, media mogul and philanthropist, is often cited as an authentic leader who openly shares her personal experiences, values, and vulnerabilities, connecting authentically with her audience and employees.


Avolio, B. J., Gardner, W. L., Walumbwa, F. O., Luthans, F., & May, D. R. (2004). Unlocking the Mask: A Look at the Process by Which Authentic Leaders Impact Follower Attitudes and Behaviors. Leadership Quarterly, 15(6), 801-823. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2004.09.003

George, B. (2003). Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Democratic Leadership:

Definition: Democratic leadership involves shared decision-making and collaboration among leaders and followers. It values input from all members of the team and promotes a sense of ownership and empowerment.

Example: Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc. (Google), is often cited as a democratic leader who fosters a culture of openness, transparency, and inclusivity, encouraging employees to contribute ideas and participate in decision-making processes.


Yukl, G. (2010). Leadership in Organizations (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Lewin, K., Lippitt, R., & White, R. K. (1939). Patterns of Aggressive Behavior in Experimentally Created Social Climates. Journal of Social Psychology, 10(2)

Situational Leadership:

Definition: Situational leadership adapts leadership style to match the developmental level and readiness of followers. It involves assessing the situation and adjusting leadership behaviors accordingly.

Example: Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, is often cited as a situational leader who adjusts her leadership style based on the context and needs of the organization, whether it’s driving innovation, navigating crises, or fostering cultural change.


Hersey, P., & Blanchard, K. H. (1969). Life Cycle Theory of Leadership. Training and Development Journal, 23(5), 26-34.

Blanchard, K. H., Zigarmi, P., & Zigarmi, D. (1985). Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership. New York, NY: William Morrow.

Coaching Leadership:

Definition: Coaching leadership involves supporting and developing employees through mentorship, feedback, and skill-building. It focuses on unlocking potential, fostering growth, and maximizing individual and team performance.

Example: Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, is often cited as a coaching leader who provides guidance, mentorship, and feedback to empower employees, encourage innovation, and drive organizational success.


Goldsmith, M., Lyons, L., & Freas, A. (2000). Coaching for Leadership: How the World’s Greatest Coaches Help Leaders Learn. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Clutterbuck, D. (2004). Everyone Needs a Mentor: Fostering Talent in Your Organisation (3rd ed.). London, UK: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

In the modern context, effective leadership and management require a nuanced understanding of the organization’s culture, goals, and challenges. Leaders should be adaptable, empathetic, and strategic in their approach, leveraging a range of leadership styles and techniques to inspire and empower their teams to achieve success.

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