What Do Leaders Do?

CRS 16 | Leadership Styles


Carolyn discusses leadership styles from her book, Plant Your Flag: The Seven Secrets to Winning. A leader ignites a spark within others. They inspire others and that’s why people want to follow them. There’s something about them that others either want to learn from or that they believe in what they stand for. To be successful, leaders come in all shapes and sizes. No two are exactly alike. People have different passions and those passions drive them. It’s so important for you to be able to identify who you are, what type of leader you are, and what type of leader you want to be. There are varying ways to be successful in a leadership role. It’s the role that you personally will decide to take on.

Listen to the podcast here:

What Do Leaders Do?

I have to say I was a little bit stressed. My daughter is getting married and she doesn’t have a dress yet. It was a non-negotiable shopping weekend. We have to find a dress. We didn’t find anything in Tampa. We weren’t that successful, so we decided to go to Houston because a friend of hers lives there and said they have fabulous shops there and people bought dresses there. That’s where we were going to go. It was this girl’s weekend with both of my daughters. I was excited because I thought, “I’m hanging with my girls. We’re going to have fun.” She had seen their dresses and love the styles online. She had picked out maybe fifteen dresses. We went to three stores and she tried on 30 dresses and honestly, she looked great in most of them. They fit her well but she just didn’t love them. You’ve got to love it. You can’t buy a dress walking down the aisle that you don’t love. She tried on one that I thought was fabulous. I loved it, my other daughter loved it but Gabi didn’t love it at all. She wasn’t sold.

It was one that I thought was so perfect, but she wasn’t there yet. No matter what we did, it wasn’t happening. We went to this other store and we found that that dress in the previous store, we couldn’t get past it. We kept on shopping and we got to this last store. I didn’t see anything that I liked. I was tainted because I had already found something. She was getting discouraged. We might’ve been just a bit too aggressive for her on that other dress, pushing it and then everything changed. She tried on a dress at the last store and it was amazing. I was surprised at how much I loved it because I didn’t think that I could love anything better than the dress I had previously found.

At that moment, we all knew that was the dress. She tried on a few more and then put that gorgeous dress back on and it was magic. She said yes to the dress. Mission accomplished. The best part was, she loved it more than anything. It was perfect. We figured, “What are we supposed to do next?” We went out for wine and cheese to celebrate. We completed our mission. The stress level was lowered and now we can breathe easily. I was still a bit nervous because this dress is still not going to be ready. My stress level is still a little bit high, but let the fun begin. Weddings are great, but they are very stressful. A special thanks go out to Carolyn and her family from Houston because she was absolutely fabulous at finding the stores for us and being the greatest hostess ever.

What Leadership Is And What It’s Not

I started to talk about leadership and I wanted to begin to talk through what leadership is and what it’s not because there are so many people who claim to be leaders. You can claim that all you want but the real truth is, other people determine that for you. You can make that claim but if other people don’t see you that way, then you are fooling yourself. I also shared that leaders are not born that way. You can improve your skills to be a more effective leader. Leaders seek to unleash the full potential of their followers so that their followers can retire and go farther than they ever thought possible. You need to remember that leadership is not about you. It’s about how you can help others succeed. You need to be selfless in that journey. I talked briefly about the different types of leaders that I define in my book, Plant Your Flag: The Seven Secrets to Winning. I wanted to talk briefly about what those different types of leaders are and to give you some examples of that.

I wanted to paint the picture of what you personally can do for yourself and how you can begin to enhance your own skills. It’s the skills that you already have and those skills that you feel that you need to be better at. To be more effective, you need to practice. Leadership is so important in almost anything that you do. One of the things that I am truly committed to is to help people learn and grow. My book was written with that in mind and this show is an extension of that. Over the time that I’ve been on the podcast, I’ve outlined many instances where women have had to fight for what they want. They’ve had to work harder to get the same recognition that men get. It continues to be a struggle not only in sports, not only in politics, not only in Corporate America but in almost everything that we do. It’s a continuous journey because just when you think that you become more successful as a leader, your environment changes. Something changes.

I’m going to talk about the four different types of leaders and give you examples of what those things are. I want you to be able to think about who you are personally. What type of leader do you want to be? The four types of leaders are thought leaders, courageous leaders, inspirational leaders, and servant leaders. The one thing that they all have in common is that they have a message that resonates with people because people want to follow up them. They have this strong conviction about what they believe in and that comes across to others. You can call yourself a leader but if no one follows you, who are you leading? People choose who they want to follow. A leader ignites this spark within others. They inspire others and that’s why people want to follow them. There’s something about them that others either want to learn from or that they believe in what they stand for. Those are the things that you have to think of. You need to take an inward look at yourself and see where you are now.

Leadership is not about you. It's about how you can help others succeed. Click To Tweet

Regardless of what you do, you need leadership skills. Let’s do a deeper dive into the four different types of leadership skills. When you think about leadership, what comes to mind? You have to think about who you look at as a leader. When you are trying to get more skills in your subject matter, you have to do research. You have to think about where you can find the best content so that you can be the best you can be on your specific topic. I do a lot of research and I look for different places to go like the Harvard Business Review and Training Magazine to do some research on leadership. These four types of leaders were defined there. The first type is thought leaders. Thought leaders are defined as those individuals that harness the power of ideas to actualize change. They’re people that can see the possibilities through ideas, through inventions, through looking at different ways of doing things. They stretch their followers by helping them envision these new possibilities.

Thought Leader

When you open up your mind to a new idea, your mind never goes back to the old way of thinking. When the touch-tone phone came out, that dial phone was obsolete. Nobody goes back to that old way of doing things. When you are a thought leader, you’re looking at these new ideas and opening up the doors to so many different things. It becomes a paradigm shift because you’re changing the way you look at things. You’re changing what you’ve done before. We can all agree that Steve Jobs was a great thought leader. He had the vision of what could be and made it happen. He faced many individuals that didn’t see what he saw. They didn’t think this new way of thinking could work. He didn’t go to work one day and everyone was already jumping on board to his idea. He changed the way people access information, access music, and communication. He created the iPhone, the iPod, the iPad. All of which have given us more capability. He had this vision of what he wanted to create.

CRS 16 | Leadership Styles
Plant Your Flag: The Seven Secrets to Winning

By expanding his frame of reference and opening up his mind to another way of thinking, he was able to attract others to follow him. He had to put together this idea. He created his initial inventions in his garage. To envision the impossible and be able to share that with many other people, that’s what thought leadership is all about. He is still thought of as the father of the digital revolution because he changed the way business was done. He changed an entire industry based on his capability of seeing these new ideas. His journey wasn’t easy. Leaders don’t always find followers that believe in their ideas right away. There’s a process that they follow to gain that support.

Another thought leader who had a big impact on us was Jack Welch. He challenged the way work was done and how people lead their teams. He was the CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001. He adopted this quality mentality to become more effective and efficient to bring his organization to the next level and to gain the results that he dreamed of. He broke down the walls and the silos within that organization so that these great ideas that people had can come from anywhere within the organization. He embedded that process of employee development and succession planning and all of the things that would open up people’s minds to these endless ideas. He created that throughout his organization and he had his own leadership philosophy.

People didn’t jump on board and think that this was the most fabulous thing that they could think of when it first started. He thought that it was important to grow others. He said it’s all about the team and their welfare. Leadership is a tough act because you have to balance both the short-term and the long-term. Once you create or think about these big ideas, how are you going to put them into practice? What is it going to take in the short-term as you still need to continue to grow your company? That’s the balance between the long-term and the short-term. I use him as an example of a thought leader because I truly like his leadership philosophy. He says, “You have to upgrade your team to help build their self-confidence.” He talks about how leaders have positive energy and optimism. To me, that is super important. Are you a thought leader or is that something that you want to think about doing tomorrow or are you a thought leader now? You need to take that question and answer it for yourself.

Courageous Leader

Anyone who has a new idea and can attract others to share their passion can be a thought leader. People who can see all the possibilities around them can be a thought leader. People who envision a different way of doing things. Maybe they go against the norm. That in it of itself brings with a different set of challenges. Thought leaders have changed the way we do business. They’ve given us a different set of standards to work from. Once you have that vision, you can’t go back. A courageous leader is someone who pursues a vision, even in the face of opposition and risk. They have a strong conviction or a set of values that are unwavering and they stand behind them. They speak up for what they believe in and fight for their values, even if it’s unpopular. That is pretty ballsy. You have to have a set of values that you feel so passionate about that no matter what, you will stand behind them, even if everyone else does not believe it. That is powerful. We know it’s not always easy. There aren’t a lot of people that will go out on a limb to make that happen because of the unknown consequences.

You're judged by your followers. Click To Tweet

Rosa Parks was a courageous leader. She was an African-American civil rights activist. On December 1st, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, she refused to obey the bus driver’s order that she was supposed to give up her seat to a white passenger. She refused to do it because she didn’t think it was right. She had no idea what the consequences would be. Back then, there are strict consequences. She had no idea what saying no would do to her, but she didn’t care. She was arrested. Her great courage marked this moment, this pivotal point in the civil rights movement. She was already sitting in the colored section and the bus driver wanted her to give up her seat to a white person because all of the seats in the white section were taken. In those days, saying no to something like that could be life-threatening.

Courageous leaders don’t always think of the consequences. They follow what they feel is right and their own personal values. Based on the fact that she said no and she stood by her values, she became an international icon. She was part of this resistance to racial segregation and she organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders after that. Being a courageous leader is tough because you’re going against the views of others. You’re potentially putting yourself in a position to have to fight for what you think is right. You may not get others to join your cause. You have to have the courage to stand up yourself, not knowing if anyone else will join your cause. You have to have the courage to speak out. Too many times, people take the easy way out. They don’t want to take that risk. They don’t want to be bold because they don’t know what the consequences are. Courageous leaders are bold and they’re confident. They have the guts to step forward, to take risks and to lead change.

Everything about leadership is all about leading change. When you think about leadership, regardless of whether you’re a thought leader or you’re a courageous leader, it’s all about doing something different. It’s about changing what’s being done now and doing something different tomorrow. Being a courageous leader could be having an uncomfortable conversation with somebody. You’re stepping out of your comfort zone. You’re standing by something that you believe in and you’re having that discussion with somebody else. It could be communicating when you don’t have all the answers or making a decision to move forward on a project that hasn’t gotten full buy-in. It could be saying something to your boss that he’s doing or she’s doing that you don’t like because it’s going against your values.

CRS 16 | Leadership Styles
Leadership Styles: Leaders have positive energy and optimism.


Being a courageous leader is someone who is being bold and standing by what they believe in, regardless of what the outcome could be. Courageous leaders attract followers and motivate people to change because of their willingness to take risks and stand up for what they believe in. Are you a courageous leader? Have you taken risks? Think about it. Thought leaders get followers by bringing people together based on different ideas. Courageous leaders get followers because of their conviction and their ability to be brave, bold and take risks.

Inspirational Leader

Inspirational leaders promote change by the power of their passionate commitment to ideas and ideals. They open up our eyes to be able to see what lies ahead, what the future holds, what possibilities are out there. The words that they use links to what we want to feel. They strengthen us in our convictions. They have this positive attitude and their ability to move people to take action because of that attitude and because they get people to see the future. They paint this picture that people want. They want to be part of that picture. They bring out the best in all of us because they’re able to make those connections with people. It’s all because they have this positive can-do attitude of hope and they bring hope alive even during difficult times. When people are needing that extra push, they’re needing those words that will give them the ability to see something past what they’re going through. They create this sense of urgency by explaining why it’s important to take action right now, why it’s important to take action sooner rather than later. They also give the steps that you should take.

They’re putting together the recipe for what you need to do differently in order to change, in order for you to be able to see how you can change your tomorrow. They tell you exactly what they want you to do. One of the greatest inspirational leaders was Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a civil rights leader. He was part of the civil rights movement. What he believed in was this nonviolent civil disobedience. All of that was brought about because he was trying to change the status quo. He was trying to change the way things operated back then. Everything leaders do, they do it to bring about change. Martin Luther King, Jr. led these protests against the treatment of African Americans. We all know about his, “I have a dream,” speech. His words in that speech were so powerful. They connected with so many people.

Leaders don't sit in the status quo. They’re always looking at the future and devising a plan to get there. Click To Tweet

The people felt empowered and they wanted to live in the world that his words were painting the picture about. He didn’t paint this doom and gloom picture. He painted a picture of what his dream looked like and what that change would look like when we all got there. That’s why it was so powerful because it connected with people. When he was talking, they were nodding their heads. They were saying, “Yes, that’s exactly what I want. I want to be part of that new tomorrow. I want that change to take place. I want to be part of that change. What do I need to do? How do I get on board?” That’s what an inspirational leader does. It makes people say, “What do I need to do? How do I get on board?” They inspire movement and that only comes when people choose to move in the same direction as that leader. It’s the ability to encourage others to believe in this same vision, in this common vision that you’ve created.

You, as the leader, have that vision and you get people to feel that same level of commitment that you do. That is the power of leadership. It’s getting people to feel just as committed, just as engaged in your vision as you do. Inspirational leaders do that by painting that picture of hope. They paint that optimism that things can only get better. We’re going to do this together to encourage others to believe in them, to believe in their vision and get people to move. Inspiring leaders can find the bright side of any issue. They don’t deal with the doom and gloom. Their message is always positive. Their message is always looking at what the outcome of the change movement will bring. You must have more than the ability to choose the right words. Inspirational leaders must also provide a way to hold people accountable for taking action because, without action, nothing changes. You can’t be an inspirational leader if nobody does anything different and if nobody changes in the process.

Inspirational leaders believe in the future. They see the future. They can paint that vivid picture of what the future looks like. It’s a different reality than what people see now. It’s the ability to strive to get there. They give people hope for how things are going to be better. Ronald Reagan was a master at this as well. He offered hope in the late ‘70s when we were faced with high inflation and high-interest rates. People were discouraged because they didn’t know how they were going to live. People were cynical because they didn’t know how they were going to get through these challenges. He spoke of this new picture, this different picture, this different outcome that could happen. He also challenged the status quo, offered new hope and offered a new beginning. One thing that I loved when I read about him was in the Oval Office, he had a sign that said, “It can be done.” It’s that positive outlook on life.

CRS 16 | Leadership Styles
Leadership Styles: You, as the leader, have that vision and you get people to feel that same level of commitment that you do. That is the power of leadership.


Servant Leader

Servant leaders care deeply about people. They look to remove all the barriers and obstacles and anything that stands in the way that holds people back from achieving their full potential. They look to create an environment where their followers can do their best work. They frequently ask the question, “How can I help?” The most well-known servant leader is Mother Teresa. She left a life of comfort being a nun to build a life for others. She chose to serve the poor, to feel what they feel, to live among them and to help them in the process. She changed her entire life because she had this passion for people. In the beginning, she had no money for food, no money for supplies and she begged for both. She had her doubts when she was going through that, but she didn’t give up. She opened up the Missionaries of Charity. That charity would care for the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers and all of those people who felt unwanted, unloved, uncared for, the outcasts throughout society. She gave her life to help others.

Servant leaders are focused on helping others. They are attempting to do whatever it takes to take away any obstacles and challenges that are affecting how people can achieve their goals and objectives to be the best people that they can be. Another example of a servant leader is Oprah Winfrey. Many of her programs and her outreach initiatives are all aimed at removing obstacles so that people can achieve their potential. Her goal is to empower people to achieve their dreams. That’s her passion. She loves to see that. A servant leader attracts followers and motivates people to change what they’re doing by helping to remove anything that stands in their way. The obstacles, the challenges and anything that’s preventing them from growth and development. Servant leaders are focused on watching others succeed. What will it take to make that happen? What do they have to do to help others achieve? They gain followers because of their passion for others.

We’ve talked about the four different types of leaders. To be successful, leaders come in all shapes and sizes. No two are exactly alike. People have different passions and those passions drive them. Some people take the lead with their ideas while others lead with their passion and conviction. Other people lead by demonstrating courage and their ability to face these risks and the risks of unknown. Some people bring about change by serving others. That’s what leadership is all about. You get to choose the type of leader that you want to be. You get to choose what fits with who you are and what your purpose is. I just wanted to share with you the different types of leaders so that you could now take a step back and determine who you are. Where does your passion lie? Are you a leader? Do you consider yourself a leader? More importantly, do others consider you a leader? We can all say that we’re leaders but if we have no followers, we’re leading nothing. You’re judged by your followers.

Leadership is an evolution. Just when you think you've mastered the skills to be successful, something changes. Click To Tweet

What type of leader are you? Are you a servant leader? Are you a courageous leader? Are you an inspirational leader? Are you a thought leader? Which of those resonates with you? Are there certain things that you personally feel that you have to do differently after hearing about these different types of leaders about what true leadership is? Now is the time for self-reflection. You have to want to be a leader. Leaders don’t sit in the status quo. They’re always looking at the future and devising a plan to get there. What are you going to do next? How are you going to implement your plan? Do you even have a plan? Ask yourself those questions and begin your journey. Leadership is an evolution. Just when you think you’ve mastered the skills to be successful, something changes. The world around us is constantly changing and so must your style and your approach.

You can see and feel that my passion is all about leadership because leadership is necessary and it’s all around us all day, every day. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes and they’re skills that you can perfect to improve your own leadership skills. It starts with you. You’re in control of how you operate, of how you act. You have to determine what’s important to you. We talked about the four different types of leaders and I wanted to talk to you about that. It’s so important for you to be able to identify who you are, what type of leader you are, what type of leader you want to be. There are varying ways to be successful in a leadership role. It’s the role that you personally will decide to take on. You can’t be a leader if no one follows you. You can’t be a leader if you can’t connect with people. You need to be able to motivate them to want to follow you because they have the choice. They can choose to follow you or not.

We talked about this idea of self-reflection and thinking about where you are now. You have to be honest with yourself. How do you operate? Are you a leader? How do you know if you’re a leader? What have you done to be able to call yourself a leader? If you are a leader, what type of leader are you? Are you an effective leader? How do you know? Have people told you that you’re effective? You don’t get to rate your leadership skills. You are rated by others. You may think that you’re a fabulous leader, but if people don’t agree, then you’re just fooling yourself. My passion is all about leadership. There’s much more to cover on that topic specifically how to be effective. You can go to my website and preorder your copy of my book, Plant Your Flag: The Seven Secrets to Winning. I’m offering the first 100 books that I will personally autograph for you and it’s at a discounted price. Go to my website and also hit that subscribe button because that’s a book you don’t want to miss out on.

The Carolyn Rivera Show is all about you, the audience. Follow me on Instagram, @TheCarolynRiveraShow. If you’re ready to ignite your will to win, to enhance your leadership effectiveness, build a strategic plan or reprogram your mindset, I’m here to help you through that process. I’m a speaker, coach, leadership expert and trainer. Go to my website at www.CarolynJRivera.com and send me a message. My passion is to help people succeed, help them learn, help them grow, help them achieve more than they ever thought possible. You need to believe, commit, achieve.

Important Links:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *