Do you know what kind of a leader, you are? Do you or your company have a certain method or style of running your business? Being a leader – or being in a position of leadership – is not a role. Rather, it is a mindset – an attitude that you bring to every problem, every solution – every business environment.
Pragmatic leaders focus on the practical, “how do we get this done,” side of doing business. They can sometimes be seen as negative in their approach to get to the end result. It’s a direct, practical way of thinking and “doing.”
On the other side of the spectrum, are the visionary leaders. Their main area of focus is on the bigger ideas and visions. They may tend to focus more on the end result than the path to get there.
So, in your opinion, which one is better — the pragmatic "realist" leader, or the "visionary" idealistic leader?
Idealism is about your goals – those ideas that we feel will help our business succeed. Ideals give us something to strive for.
Being pragmatic is about "action" – finding the most effective way to accomplish your goals. It's based on the "realities" and how much control we believe we have over those realities.
Pragmatism and idealism work together, not against each other. Our ideals help to provide the path leading toward our goals.
The truth is that they are both incredibly necessary when putting together your team and being the best leader that you can be. Look at your own team – or a team that you are are managing – are there certain people that fit one role better than another? Are they being utilized to their fullest abilities in knowing their strengths and channeling them effectively? By mixing these varied ways of thinking and working, it helps to keep balance.
Idealists tend to be positive thinkers – seeing the glass as "half full", and can therefore be more of a "risk taker". They have the visions of where they want to go.
Pragmatics, or realists think very carefully and rationally – always taking all things into consideration before making a choice. They may choose a safer road over the bumpy one.
It's been found that the most effective leaders are always those that combine idealism and pragmatism. They set an agenda, have goals, know what they want to achieve, use action plans and do what is "right".
A leader who is a "pragmatic idealist" – a blending of both – generally is the most effective.
They are often the most driven, and feel that they know what needs to be done.
Knowing the kind of leader that you are will help you to utilized your skills in the best ways – and the best areas of your own business, or for the business that you are working for. If you find that you are leaning more in one direction than the other, work hard to find that balance that allow you to challenge yourself to have business "ideas" and "visions", while putting forth a practical, real plan to help get you there.