As we continue our journey in Formal Leadership, we need to talk about the different styles of leadership that exist. You have met each of these types of leaders in your journey…they will sound familiar and you will like some types better than others. The real question is… which type are you?
Enjoy this week’s Power Idea contributed by Founder and CEO, Jerry Houston.


While there are many different qualities inherent in effective, high-impact leaders, there are three basic types of leaders which can be characterized for analytical purposes. Type One: the Enhancer, Type Two: The Neutralizer and Type Three: The Diminisher. Before describing these categories and to give some historic perspective to the analysis, it is interesting to note the wisdom of Will Rogers who long ago stated, “it’s not how much you pay a man but what he costs you that counts.” With this in mind, let us describe the enhancer.

The Enhancer is the leader who is self-confident, respected, responsible and accountable. He or she possesses personal power and can get others to work efficiently toward organizational goals. The enhancer can laugh, cry, get angry and show warmth all at the appropriate times, and in a natural fashion. This person is a pleasure to work under, beside or with and to have as a direct report. You might not know what he or she is going to come up with next, but you trust their intuition and know it will be well worth listening. People who work with enhancers do so because they believe in them and want to produce results for them. It creates a climate where everyone can receive personal satisfaction from their efforts.

The Neutralizer is the leader who is able, by some means or other, to get the work done. He or she has the respect of some, but the contempt of others. The neutralizer’s self-confidence is limited to technical areas; better with things than people. They are accountable for everything the organization requires of them, but not fully responsible as the term implies. Others work for them, but produce the minimum required to get by. Neutralizers hide their lack of personal power behind their authority and use it frequently. The neutralizer is impersonal to work under, neutral but necessary to work beside, and a total bore to have as a direct report. You can anticipate everything a neutralizer is going to say, and wish you didn’t have to listen to it again. They are only willing to bring to the organization exactly what they are paid for, no more – no less. Their performance is average, at best.

The Diminisher is the leader who lacks self-confidence, lacks respect, is somewhat irresponsible, and uses blame instead of accountability to justify his or her performance. The diminisher is powerless. He or she relies totally on authority and pressures direct reports by intimidation to reach organizational goals. Diminishers have difficulty showing any warmth whatsoever. A diminisher laughs at a superior’s joke even if they don’t think it is funny. Diminishers gain by using others to get what they want. Blame is the name of the game. Diminishers take more from the organization than they are paid for. They diminish the effectiveness of the organization and are never fully accountable for their performance.

These categories are, of course, stereotypes, and there are few individuals who fit exactly within any one. They represent styles of leadership and individual interpretations of the meaning of leadership. The terms are helpful in discerning and identifying particular types of behavior and their relationship to the organizational goals.

A High Impact, Effective Leader can easily be recognized as an enhancer. He or she promotes conditions conducive to growth and development throughout the organization. The characteristics which the enhancer possesses are not innate. They have been learned and acquired through experience and the development of self-leadership. Only you can decide what type of leader you are, or want to be and take the necessary steps to become an enhancer. Take the time to identify your current strengths as a leader and what behaviors are necessary to become an enhancer leader. Determine what traits you wish to develop that will help you to be more of a High Impact Leader in the future.

At HPISolutions we have been developing leaders for over 25 years. Contact us today for a free consultation on how to maximize the High Impact Leaders in your organization at

Have A Great Week!

HpiSolutions wants to acknowledge the great development materials from Resource Associates Corporation, our partners in long-term, developmental improvement, that were the basis of this series on Formal Leadership.