The 4 Types of Leadership DNA

December 13, 2022

Each business leader brings a special type of leader DNA to their business. There are four types that drive an organization:

1) The Creative

2) The Financier

3) The Rainmaker

4) The Operator

Which type are you?

Creative – this is the type of leader who brings a vision about a product or service and drives with an artist’s point of view. They can be whimsical or more serious but their primary passion is in the product or service they deliver and what will be their next creation. One of the best-known creative CEOs is Elon Musk. He’s wildly creative about his multiple businesses and inventions. Not all creatives have to be at the level of Musk, however. A small business CPA can be creative as well and her talent is in the numbers.

Financier – this leader is the money. A financier has and knows how to deploy capital to earn a return. Kevin O’Leary (aka Mr. Wonderful), of Shark Tank fame, would primarily land in the financier lane. Instead of being a CEO for one company he distributes his capital and knowledge across multiple companies and then hires, places or coaches CEOs in those businesses.

Rainmaker – this leader gets it done by making the deals. The rainmaker is a CEO that’s always looking for new business opportunities. They’re often found meeting with prospective clients or entertaining current ones. They help win the biggest deals for their company and are great at fundraising. They’re known to be persuasive and charming as they talk about their latest venture. Marc Benioff is a great example of Rainmaker.

Operator – this leader runs the show. The Operator is the one who makes sure all the balls stay in the air and juggles a million tasks at once. They’re often very detail-oriented and can see how all the pieces of the business fit together. A great operator is able to keep their eye on the big picture while also sweating the small stuff. Sheryl Sandberg is an operator CEO. She was the COO of Facebook and is now the founder of Leanin.org.

So, which type of leader are you and what does it all mean?

While leaders, entrepreneurs, and business CEOs usually demonstrate all of these different attributes on some level there tends to be a primary and a supporting style. As an example, Mr. Wonderful is primarily a Financier but has a strong Rainmaker supporting type as well. Jeff Bezos was a rare blend of Creative Operator. His vision for Amazon was grand but he was also known for running a well-oiled machine.

Knowing your own style, especially as a CEO, can help you define what you need around you to complement your strengths. If you are the creative type who is best at inventing new products and then rainmaking the deals to get them into the largest retailers you will likely need an operator to help you and your company reach peak performance. In fact, not having complimentary styles around you can stymie your organization and could even have drastically negative impacts in the long-term.

Who do you need around you?

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