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Types and Styles

Types and Styles

What you are and what you do

One of the objections I often hear about identifying people’s behaviour tendencies, or characteristics, or the type of person they are, or their wiring, is that people think or feel that they are being boxed. This is actually a valid concern, because all of us box people. This is a normal human tendency. We box people by age, gender, looks, the type of car they drive, height, colour … the list is endless. If we meet someone who reminds us of someone we know then we box them!
The key reason we should identify someone’s wiring is so they can understand themselves and others. As I point out in my (soon to be published) book, if we don’t understand people then we will not be able to have the right people, in the right job, at the right time, doing the right thing, and doing the right thing right.
One of the harsh realities of leadership is that we produce the type of people we lead by the style of leadership we practise. If we are going to build a great team then we need to understand the difference between Type and Style.
A brief definition –

A Type is who you are.

A Style is what you do or how you behave.

There are some things to consider when looking at type and style.

  1. Your type is your natural tendency.
  2. Your type is what you want to do, your style is what you need to do.
  3. You need to lead according to the setting you find yourself in, not according to your type.
  4. You need to get comfortable with your type, and lead out of the comfort of understanding who you are, and be able to leverage the strengths that come with being a type of person, but be able to adapt to what style is required.
  5. If you do not understand how you are wired, or your type, you will always drift towards that and will not be able to strategically choose your style.
  6. Your type will not change, but your style will change constantly according to the situation.
  7. You cannot be dictated to by your type. You need to understand your type and be dictated to by what is required.


When looking at type and style there are many resources available that are all slightly different and see things from their own unique perspective. I have used most of them and nothing comes remotely close to LEMON Leadership© for its clarity and simplicity.

LEMON Leadership looks at 5 types of leaders and is an acrostic for –

            The Luminary

            The Entrepreneur

            The Manager

            The Organiser

            The Networker

LEMON Leadership does not deal with the “How To” of leadership. It looks at the “Who are you?” in a fresh way. Good leaders lead out of their identity. It doesn’t matter too much what your style, university or ethnicity may be. The key is to know what type of leader you are in order to understand how you as a leader will impact the people around you, as well as better understand those you are leading or relating to in order to increase the impact of the team.

There are 5 types of LEMONs, and all of us are a combination of the 5 types.

The Luminary lives in the world of Ideas and asks Why?

The Entrepreneur lives in the world of Opportunities and asks Why not?

The Manager lives in the world of Systems and asks How?

The Organiser lives in the world of Tasks and Issues and asks What?

The Networker lives in the world of Connections and asks Who?

I am an accredited LEMON facilitator. If you want to find out more please contact me.


If I go into a company I can quickly work out what they predominant style of the leader is, and can then assess whether the leader is leading out of their type or their style.

If you search in Google for “Leadership Styles” you will find an enormous amount of useful information.

I have identified 5 styles so that they correlate with LEMON Leadership. These are not an exact correlation, just an approximate. The styles are –

            The Painter

            The Commander

            The Instructor

            The Hero

            The Coach


The Painter paints a picture of the future.

The Commander gets the job done by giving orders.

The Instructor teaches and shares information.

The Hero jumps in and saves the day.

The Coach walks alongside and helps people on their journey.

It is important to understand that none of these styles are right or wrong, they just need to be strategically used according to the situation you find yourself in. It is difficult, however, to know what style to use if you don’t understand your own type.

We will look at –

  1. What they focus on
  2. The way they operate
  3. How they see themselves
  4. What they produce

What they focus on

As a leader you will need to focus on all of these aspects of leading. The amount of time and attention will be dictated by the circumstances.

The Painter focuses on vision.

The Commander focuses on strategy.

The Instructor focuses on processes.

The Hero focuses on tasks.

The Coach focuses on relationships.

The way they operate

There are times when you will be called upon to operate in all these ways.

The Painter dreams, and they do that for others.

The Commander delegates, and they do that to others.

The Instructor lectures, and they do that with others.

The Hero takes over, and they do that for others.

The Coach walks alongside, and they do that through others.

How they see themselves

The Painter sees themselves as the inspirer.

The Commander sees themselves as the master.

The Instructor sees themselves as the expert and teacher.

The Hero sees themselves as the all-knowing provider.

The Coach sees themselves as the facilitator and mentor.

What they produce

If you use all the following styles strategically you will see amazing results, but if you persist in any of these styles you will produce the following:

The Painter produces questioning, unaccountable, independent people.

The Commander produces rebellious, resistant slaves.

The Instructor produces learning participants, who are knowledgeable and motivated.

The Hero produces passivelazy and unimaginative people.

The Coach produces self-learningself-starting and proactive people.

The right style for the right situation

As I have already said, none of these is right or wrong, they just need to be chosen skilfully.

If you are a medical doctor and you are confronted with an emergency and people need to do the right thing to save lives, using an Instructor or a Coach style would be unhelpful and even dangerous. However, if you stay in Commander style for too long then you will have a rebellion on your hands.

If you are an Organiser (LEMON) then your tendency will be to jump in and save the day. Now, sometimes this is needed, but if you do this consistently you will end up with the wrong type of team and actually damage people.

Coaching is about investing in someone, and you can only coach a small amount of people. You need to think strategically about who you must coach.

Leading guilt free

Because of our type you will always find certain styles easier or more difficult. You need to be aware of falling into the trap of feeling guilty or inadequate because some styles are a struggle. This does not mean that you don’t have to do them, it just means that you understand what it takes to use a style that is outside of your type.Understand who you are, and choose the style that is required.

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Written by Doug Johnson

Published on 24th May 2021

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