3 Types of Leadership: What Kind of a Leader are You?


The German sociologist Max Weber identified three ideal types of leadership in which authority may rest: (1) charismatic, (2) traditional, and (3) rational-legal. In any society or institution, the power of the leader may be exercised on the basis of a mixture of these 3 types of leadership.

  1. Charismatic Leadership


Charismatic Leadership is founded on the personal traits and gifts of the leader. The more  authentic these personal traits are as perceived by the people, the higher is the legitimacy of the leader. People obey the leader, not primarily because of certain laws or traditions, but because of his/her personal talents. Because it is a personalized form of authority, charismatic leadership tends to be unstable. It does not normally survive after the death of the original leader, and it often abandons the leader while he or she is alive. Charismatic leaders in history include  Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, St. Francis of Asisi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, etc.

In  corporate settings, charismatic leaders like Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few, are creative, innovative, and visionary people. They have extraordinary talents that ordinary managers do not possess. They usually introduce innovation, creativity, or unique management style in their business environments.

         2. Traditional authority


Traditional leadership is one that is based on some sort of tradition that is handed down from the past. The leader is obeyed by the people as a legitimate leader because of a formal or informal norm handed down by great leaders or managers from the past. This kind of leadership is based on customs and traditions of the business firms.  The leader is not usually innovative but conservative. He or she is just continuing what is being practiced by the company based on tradition.

      The ordination of a priest by a bishop is an example of traditional authority. The new priest received his power and authority by way of tradition, and people obey him as a legitimate spiritual pastor of the Church. Succession in monarchy is also done through traditional authority. Tradition dictates that only persons with royal blood can ascend to the throne.

           3. Rational-Legal Leadership


         The last type of leadership proposed by Max Weber is the most common type of authority in modern and contemporary society. This leadership is based on a set of rules, and the belief in the legitimacy of the process of rule creation and enforcement. This form of domination is routinized through bureaucracy. The leader assumes the right to exercise power over the people because the law says so.

        The leader’s authority is held by legally established impersonal orders and extends to people only by virtue of the offices they hold. The power of government officials, for instance, is determined by the offices to which they are appointed or elected because of their individual qualifications. As long as individuals hold these offices, they have a certain amount of power. But once they leave office, their rational-legal authority is also lost.  Though personal traits also count in the selection process, a fixed law becomes the primary legitimizer of the leader’s capacity to exercise leadership. His authority expires when he retires or becomes incapacitated as stipulated by law.

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What kind of a leader are you? Which type of leadership do you aim to achieve?

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Culture Matters in Job Hiring



Culture matters in job recruitment. Hiring people to fill up vacant positions in the company requires that the new recruit does not only possess the necessary skill and talent for the job but also a “perfect fit” in the company’s organizational culture. Assuming that the applicant has all the qualifications, the primary question a recruiter should ask himself/herself before hiring an applicant must be this: “Can this person, if hired, persist in his/her job despite the negative traits of the company’s culture? Can his/her personality and value system tolerate if s/he discovers the most toxic trait or aspect of the company’s way of life? For instance, if s/he discovers that the company has strong power cliques or lacks a career plan, can this new recruit capable of and willing to adjust and stay in the company? Will s/he be loyal in spite of….?

2 Dimensions of Hiring People


There are basically two major dimensions of hiring new applicants into the company: the technical and the cultural. The technical dimension includes the educational background, talent, experience and expertise of the applicant for the job. The cultural includes the applicants’ personality, value system, beliefs, attitudes to rules, power, and authority or work ethic. The technical aspect is easier to handle than the cultural one. The resume or CV can be an important guide with regard to the technical aspect of the job. But there seems to be no comprehensive guide or tool for the recruiter or interviewer to understand the applicant’s cultural orientation. A well-planned interview guide can probably handle this, revealing the applicant’s basic cultural attitude and value system vis-a-vis the hiring company’ core values. The psychological exams may reveal some aspects of the person’s cultural life but not enough to cover all about the person’s character, value system, disposition, interpersonal skills and attitude towards work: all these are important characteristics which can determine the recruit’s longevity in the company.

The Recruiter Must Have a Sufficient Knowledge of Company’s Culture


It is difficult for a recruiter to know whether the applicant fits into the company’s culture if s/he is not part of the company or lacks an emic (insider’s knowledge) perspective of the organizational culture of the hiring company. Well, if the position is basically a technical one which doesn’t require much social networking or managing people, this internal knowledge of the corporate culture may not be that necessary. But people are not robots. They react to situations based on their cultural values and beliefs. Most failures in hiring–in a sense that recruits do not stay long in the company–is probably due to lack of sufficient knowledge of the recruiter about the organizational culture of the hiring company. In this sense, the hiring company is accepting people who are technically capable but incompatible to its overall cultural mold. The result: fast turnovers due to cultural incompatibility between the new recruits’ cultural orientation and the cultural expectations of the hiring company.

Fast turnovers in the company’s hiring can, therefore, be an indicator of a mismatch between the recruit’s cultural values and the company’s organizational culture. And ultimately, the recruiting team can take the blame for hiring people whose cultural and mental frames, as well as corporate values, are in conflict with those of the company. The technical aspect of the job may be a perfect match but not the value system of the new employee and that of the hiring company.

Final Reminder

Remember: Hiring is like finding a missing spare part of a particular brand of car. The recruiter may find a spare part similar to the original one but not in design and brand; thus, it will never fit into the car system. It will only damage the car. Thus, if the cultural orientation and value system of the newly-hired employee do not jibe with that of the company’s culture, s/he never fit into the firm’s cultural system. S/he can only cause harm rather improve the brand and productivity of the company. It is therefore important that the recruiter knows the brand and make of the car in order that s/he can spot and buy the correct spare part for the car. The ideal recruiter is one who knows the “basic parts and their interdependence in the entire system” of the hiring company.

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Christian Leadership as Service

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Christian Leadership as Service

In the early 1970s, Robert Greenleaf proposed the servant leader model in secular business schools. But this concept is not new because the idea of leadership as service is already introduced in the Gospels by our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Jesus submitted his own life to sacrificial service under the will of God (Luke 22:42), and he sacrificed his life freely out of service for others (John 10:30). He came to serve (Matthew 20:28) although he was God’s son and was thus more powerful than any other leader in the world. He healed the sick (Mark 7:31-37), drove out demons (Mark 5:1-20), was recognized as Teacher and Lord (John 13:13), and had power over the wind and the sea and even over death (Mark 4:35-41; Matthew 9:18-26)…In John 13:1-17 Jesus gives a very practical example of what it means to serve others…he washes the feet of his followers, which was properly the responsibility of the house-servant” (christianleadership.org).

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Leadership in the Christian community is different from the corporate community. In business, success in leadership is often measured in terms of achieving targets, goals, profit forecasts, etc. But in Christian standards, success in leadership implies growing intimacy with God,  depth in spirituality and the degree of dying one’s self for others, especially the less fortunate and the poor in the Christian community.

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Exercising Christian leadership in the corporate world may be difficult but attainable as long as managers and employees have strong Christian spirituality and the business organization provides structures to develop the company’s Christian spirituality, especially on work and leadership. This implies establishing common activities in the company which can nurture prayer life in the workplace for workers and managers.

The Christian Servant Leader

Like Christ, a Christian leader does not aim to be served but to serve. In business, it means that Christian managers and business leaders must serve their subordinates–their workers, especially the rank-and-file workers as they are the most vulnerable group in the corporate community. The Church teaches the moral principle of giving preference to the poor or “the preferential option for the poor.”

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In business leadership, being a servant leader implies he or she must prioritize the welfare of the poor or the lowest-ranked employees in the company. They must provide extra care to the workers’ needs such as the giving of a just wage, social benefits, and humane working conditions. This is the Christian servant leader’s higher purpose in the workplace. The leader must not only be concerned with increasing the company’s profit but also improving the workers’ social welfare. A Christian servant leader is a “servant first” in relationship to people and not a “king” to be served by workers and slaves.

  • “There is a big difference between serving the needs of others and being a servant of others’ needs.
    • Serving the needs of others is liberating. It implies recognizing their needs (without judging them) and then doing what can be done, in line with the higher purpose of serving God first, to help satisfy that need. Whereas;
    • Being a servant of the needs of others requires that one must do anything and everything possible to satisfy those needs, whether it is in line with one’s service to God or not.
  • The servant leader himself/herself is a growing leader, led and grown by the Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus was the only human being who never abused his power.
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Applying these considerations of Jesus as a role model for Christian leaders we can see that, from a Biblical perspective, a servant leader is a person, who is:

  • Christ-centered in all aspects of life (a voluntary servant of Christ)
  • Committed to serve the needs of others before their own,
  • Courageous to lead with power and love as an expression of serving,
  • Consistently developing others into servant leaders, and
  • Continually inviting feedback from those that they want to serve in order to grow towards the ultimate servant leader, Jesus Christ” (christianleadership.org).
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_________. (n.d.) “Jesus: The Role Model of Christian Leadership”. Retrieved from http://christian-leadership.org/jesus-the-role-model-for-christian-leaders/.
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