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Crafting a Diverse Leadership Team

By John C. Maxwell | June 14, 2013
Crafting a Diverse Leadership Team

“I can do what you can’t do and you can do what I can’t do. Together we can do great things.” ~ Mother Teresa

Insecure leaders don’t like diversity. They shortchange their organization because they’re uncomfortable with people who have different skills than they do. They’re threatened by the thought of someone else being better than they are in a particular area of leadership. For this reason, insecure leaders design cookie-cutter teams. They want teammates to think like them, act like them, and have the same strengths as them—and to be slightly less competent than they are.

Rather than stocking a team with individuals of similar skills, wise leaders recruit teammates with diverse abilities. They bring together an array of gifts and talents along with an assortment of life experiences to create a well-rounded leadership team. A diverse team has higher capacity than a homogeneous one since it is better prepared to face the wide-ranging challenges of leadership. Additionally, diverse teams have increased influence because each member can tap into a different circle of influence.

Life experience has taught me that, on my own, my leadership skills are insufficient to accomplish my vision. To maximize my influence, I must partner with a team of leaders who possess strengths in areas where I am weak. I’ve identified ten styles of leadership that I consider indispensable to the health of an organization; a deficit in any one of them places limitations on growth. Personally, I am only strong in three of the ten styles of leadership. I have to recruit teammates to help me in the others.

10 Leadership Styles Needed for Developing a Leadership Team:

1) Visionary

The visionary supplies the team with its energizing dream. He or she sees farther into the future than others, sees opportunities and threats more quickly than others, and sees bigger possibilities than others can imagine.

2) Directional

Directional leaders point the way to the vision. They make certain that the team stays on the best road. As John F. Kennedy said, “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”

3) Strategic

Strategic leaders evaluate the present situation and then gather the resources needed at each stage of the organization’s journey. They understand the process of getting from one step to the next. They have a wide field of vision, seeing a number of contingencies, and because of them the organization is seldom blindsided.

4) Managing

These leaders know their priorities and the people who can make them happen. They set objectives and then create metrics to measure performance. Their focused leadership aids organizational efficiency.

5) Motivational

Motivational leaders firmly believe that people are an organization’s most valuable assets. They constantly encourage others, and they set a visible example for others to follow. In addition, they know the keys to the key players. That is, they understand what drives the organization’s primary influencers, and they use that information to provide personalized incentives to them.

6) Shepherding

These leaders give extraordinary care to the players on the team. They’re easy to talk to, and they have a knack for empathizing with others. They lead with the heart and have a servant attitude that uplifts everyone around them.

7) Team – building

Team-builders have an innate ability to see how people fit together so that their strengths complement one another. These leaders possess strong relational skills and readily connect with their teammates. In addition, they have very little ego and are quick to highlight the accomplishments of others.

8) Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs are self-starters who see risk in terms of opportunity. They value possibility more than security. Unafraid to fail, they’re resilient and bounce back from defeat more quickly than others.

9) Reengineering

This style of leadership loves problems. They itch to clean up carnage and repair damage. No team stays on top for long without a reengineer to identify outmoded systems and to correct them. These leaders never settle for the status quo and constantly look for ways to upgrade and improve operations.

10) Bridge-building

Bridge-builders are great negotiators. They work well with people and network continually. As inherent pragmatists, they do not view compromise as a dirty word but rather as a necessary step to move the team forward.


  1. Pick out your top two leadership styles.
  2. Ask others to name your top two leadership styles. Did they select the same ones that you did? Are you seeing yourself accurately?
  3. List your leadership team along with their styles. After the list is complete, identify which styles are missing.
  4. Commit to finding leaders with styles complementary to your areas of weakness.

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