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Nobody is perfect, but a strong team can come close to perfection!

"A strong leader, what does it actually mean?" During lectures and coaching sessions, people very often ask me that question. As if there's some kind of blueprint for leadership. As if you can make a little list with characteristics, black on white.

Do leaders need to be very creative or do they need to focus on organization? Or do they especially need to focus on action? My answer is always the same: all good leaders will surely have some strong competencies, but one thing prevails: self-knowledge! Those who don't know their strengths and weaknesses, will fail sooner or later.

Self-knowledge is key for sustainable success:
  • know your strengths and build on them;
  • know your points for attention and work on them.
Based on that exercise, you can surround yourself with the right people.
  • Leaders who are very creative but not that strong in the field of organization, will have to look for people who can compensate their lack of organizational talent.
  • Leaders who are more action-driven, should surround themselves with people who able to force them to think and knowing how to steer a healthy decision-making process.
  • Leaders who excel at developing and proclaiming a groundbreaking vision but don't have enough people skills in order to motivate and convince everyone, should give their team members enough room to support them at that level.
The team becomes more than the sum of the individual talent. So, apart from self-knowledge, it is very important to select team members with complementary competencies. Avoid team members with the same competencies and the same character. Competent leaders surround themselves with people who actually are their opposites and compensate their points for attention in a natural way.

To put it briefly: business leaders should combine the four most important leadership styles in their team:
  1. Visionary
  2. Organizer
  3. Doer
  4. Educator
Attention! Excellence in one single style is both a strength and a risk at the same time.

  Strength Risk
Visionary Creativity Chaos
Organizer Orchestration Bureaucracy
Doer Action Solo player
Educator Teamwork Indecisiveness

Now, how to proceed?
  1. Map your own leadership style.
  2. Determine when and to what extent you should use a particular style.
  3. Make sure all styles and competencies are represented in a balanced way within your team.
Let me finish with a one-liner: ‘Nobody is perfect, but a team can be’.

Let us know your experience with participating in effective and less effective leadership teams in the fields hereunder.


More information about leadership styles can be found in our book: Master of your own destiny. Available as an English ebook via

By Herman van Herterijck

"my ambition is to put the importance of pragmatic and continuous self-coaching on the agenda of current business leaders"

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