Head, Heart, or Hands—which do you tend to lead with? Each change leader has a basic tendency to lead with one of these, or some combination of the three. You probably have some sense of which is dominant in you. Is it:

  • the Head—focusing on the big picture goal, the business objectives;
  • the Heart—personally connecting with your people at an emotional level; or
  • the Hands—providing teams tactical tools and skills like a savvy project manager.

And you’ve probably thought about what’s missing from your change leadership style, too. One way to find out is to observe your people.

  • Are they working really hard but misplacing their efforts? You may need to be more Head-oriented and paint a picture of the target and explain the what and why of the change.
  • Are they unmotivated, indifferent, or even afraid? You may need to add more Heart and share your own story, build trust, and show them that working together as a team benefits them and the rest of their peers.
  • Or are your people paralyzed, like deer in the headlights, and can’t seem to get unstuck and into effective action? If so, they may need a heavy dose of Hands, and you may need to set a plan, process, and skill-build to guide their efforts through the change.

Of course, none of us leads only, all the time, in every instance with the Head or Heart or Hands. We are each a blend of all three. It is this unique combination that represents our change leader style. Each of the following seven styles of leadership indicate a different mix of Head, Heart, and Hands:

  • If you’re a Coach, you’re all about Heart. You love engaging your colleagues whenever you get a chance, and you find great reward in supporting the people around you as you all move through a change process.
  • If you’re a Visionary, you are the one who’s always looking forward to an inspiring future. Thanks to your Head focus, you have a gift for seeing opportunity and planning for new situations, and you tend to get excited about what lies on the other side of a change.
  • If you’re an Executer, you focus primarily on the Hands. You like to get things done, and people know they can rely on you to not just talk but take action. Often your execution is backed up by comprehensive, step-by-step plans.
  • If you’re a Champion, you use a combined strength in Head and Heart to get people pumped about change. Like a Visionary, you see abundant possibilities for the future and, adding the people skills of a Coach to the mix, you’re able to energize and excite your colleagues as you all work to bring about change.
  • If you’re a Driver, you’re strong on both Head and Hands. You see an enticing vision before you, and you use your executional abilities to drive toward that vision, laying out clear strategies and tactics along the way.
  • If you’re a Facilitator, you focus on the specific people and specific activities you need to support on a day-to-day basis to lead the change, thanks to your strong Heart and Hands capabilities. You know the tasks that need to be accomplished to make measurable progress, and you succeed in motivating others to work together on those tasks.
  • If you’re an Adapter, you’re about even on Head, Heart, and Hands. You can employ all three approaches as necessary, and you’re generally flexible, politically savvy, and willing to collaborate with others. This may seem like the ideal style—and it does indeed have great benefits—but later on in my book, Change Intelligence, you’ll learn about some of the challenges Adapters face.

If you’re uncertain about which style is yours, you can access a self-assessment tool free when you buy a copy of my book, Change Intelligence. This assessment will help you narrow down these seven leadership styles to find the ones that fit you best.

Studying the different change leader styles will provide you with targeted developmental strategies, which are immediately accessible, personally applicable, and professionally actionable, to hone your CQ to catalyze powerful change in your career, team, and organization.