Peter Drucker, in a precursor article to leadership styles,
articulated the following:
Top management tasks require at least four different kinds of human
• The people man
• The thought man
• The action man
• The front man
Yet these four temperaments are almost never found in one person.
Leadership styles can be defined in a manner similar to the
perception/process learning style model as shown in Figure 1. We
can lead people and manage products and things. We can lead and
manage through alignment or action. Combining these four qualities
defines the four following leadership styles:
Type One leader leads through empowerment. A type one leader seeks
alignment between personal and organizational values.
Type two leader leads through conceptualizing. A type two leader
seeks alignment between people and procedures.
Type three leader leads through coaching. A type three leader seeks
alignment between goals and output.
Type four leader leads through envisioning. A type four leader seeks
alignment between what is and what. might be.
The four leadership styles align nicely with Drucker's four
different kinds of human being:
• The people man leads through empowerment
• The thought man leads through conceptualizing
• The action man leads through coaching
• The front man leads through envisioning
How Do Learning Styles Work?
Organizations Learn 'New Tricks' Through Teams
Companies need to improve earnings, their use of time, and asset
returns and to build Customer Advantage to advance their competitive
position in markets served.
To be successful, companies must change how they serve customers, do
work and achieve objectives. If the old ways of doing business can't
work, then changing organizations is a process of "teaching old dogs
How many dogs? How many tricks?
We need to change the complete organization and all the business
processes. Companies who successfully improve performance recognize
new learning as the critical enabler of change. These companies
establish themselves as learning organizations. Learning
organizations approach change as a process of acquiring and applying
a critical mass of knowledge.
How do we create a learning organization? Let's start with teams.
We need teams because teams outperform collections of individual
contributors or departmental groupings. In the successful company,
the team is the unit of performance. The team is also the unit of
change. We can change the organization by teaching teams of people
"new tricks," such as solving problems based on fact finding,
brainstorming, analytical methods and team based implementation, and
A team is defined by Katzenbach and Smith in the Wisdom of Teams as:
A small number of people with complementary skills who are committed
to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they
hold themselves mutually accountable.
Team based learning organizations approach change as a process of
acquiring and applying a critical mass of knowledge for each team
and for all teams.
The Role of Learning Styles in Acquiring Team Skills
The successful team must acquire and use the proper mix of problem
solving, technical and interpersonal skills. It is unlikely that
such a team can be assembled at the onset. This means that the right
mix of skills must be taught. In our example, the engineer with the
PHD in the third law of thermodynamics, our analytical learner, is
an excellent candidate for learning or teaching problem solving
skills. To successfully teach the whole team, however, the methods
must be expanded from the traditional analytical approach to the
1. Allow dynamic learners (marketing) to analyze problem solving
tools for relevance and to apply problem solving tools to new and
2. Provide common sense learners (manufacturing and engineering) the
opportunity to practice with these tools in real life situations.
3. Create and analyze a problem solving experience for the
imaginative learners (purchasing).