The Nine Types of Leader Book Summary - The Nine Types of Leader Book explained in key points
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The Nine Types of Leader summary

James Ashton

How the Leaders of Tomorrow Can Learn from The Leaders of Today

4.3 (213 ratings)
27 mins

What is The Nine Types of Leader about?

The Nine Types of Leader (2021) reveals the strengths, assets, and pitfalls of different leadership styles and personalities. Using case studies, it explores how different types of leaders operate, and which business landscapes they’re best suited to, so that they and their companies can thrive.

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    The Nine Types of Leader
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    Alpha leaders are charismatic, dedicated monarchs.

    Alpha leaders are charismatic, dedicated monarchs.

    It’s a hot summer’s night in August 2015, and 2,000 excited audience members are taking their seats in Salzburg to watch Verdi’s Il Trovatore. This performance is part of Salzburg’s annual opera festival, and one of the best stalls in the opera house has been reserved for Peter Brabeck-Letmathe – chairman of the world’s largest food company, Nestlé.

    Nestlé has sponsored the festival, and Brabeck-Letmathe is officially there as the company’s representative. Like at other events he attends, his presence captures people’s attention: he captivates people just as much as any famous tenor, without ever needing to do anything dramatic.

    Brabeck-Letmathe is an Alpha leader, charming, confident, and striking. His strong personality has played a key role in leading a company worth £60 billion in annual sales.

    You’ll always know when you’re in the presence of alpha leaders. Like true monarchs, they conduct themselves as if they’re the most important people in the room. They’re inspiring, sure, but they’re also intimidating. Staff hang on every syllable they utter and worry over pleasing them.

    Alphas firmly believe in themselves and rule accordingly – with absolute control. This style may seem egotistical, but alphas need that level of confidence because they typically lead multinational companies with broad portfolios. There simply isn’t time for second-guessing, or ruling by consensus.

    Alphas are future-focused. They know that it takes time to build a kingdom – and they aren’t afraid to wait. This leads them to invest in research and development that will broaden their portfolios even further.

    Under Brabeck-Letmathe’s leadership, Nestlé spent 25 years developing the Nespresso coffee-making system. Today, it’s become a staple of homes and offices.

    So alphas are committed to the long game; and they’re also competitive. This means that they often stay with one business for decades, moving up the ranks over time.

    Let’s think about Brabeck-Lethathe again. By 2015 he’d been with the company for nearly 50 years. Nestlé had been his life’s work. 

    But the age of the alpha is coming to a close. As the age of globalization fades away, business empires become less attractive. Instead, we’re entering an era where the benefits of inclusivity become more and more apparent. Most boards now question autocratic leadership styles.

    If you’re an alpha and you want to continue leading in the contemporary workplace, you need to relax your grip and become more collaborative. Delegate, listen to consumers and stakeholders, and you’ll maintain your place on the throne while keeping step with new business practices.

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    About the Author

    James Ashton is a renowned journalist who specializes in finance, business, and the economy. He’s worked as City Editor at the Evening Standard and the Sunday Times, and hosts his own podcast, Leading with James Ashton.

    Who should read The Nine Types of Leader?

    • Chief executives wanting to understand leadership styles
    • Board members seeking to appoint the most effective leader to run their companies
    • Aspiring leaders who aim to overcome their weaknesses

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