Whether an established leader or an aspiring entrepreneur, you have led something at some point in your life and can and will lead again. You may have led a friend who needed advice, facilitated a carpool for your neighborhood, arranged a retirement party for a relative, or facilitated a community volunteer event.

Those who study business leadership are familiar with the eight archetypes of leadership: strategist, change-catalyst, transactor, builder, innovator, processor, coach, and communicator. These archetypes can describe some of the behavior patterns of great leaders across history and industry but it’s important to recognize a few things: 1) Rather than trying to emulate a specific archetype, successful leadership is whatever style best matches your company’s mission and the people you work with; 2) A strong leader is able to adapt and fit many of the archetypes; 3) Recognize and leverage the characteristics of these archetypes in the people you work with to build a balanced team. The third may be the most important; recent studies show that most common reason people leave their job is because they do not feel the work uses their strengths or promotes growth.

Here are some examples of quotes from leaders and leadership experts across time and industry to help identify the archetypes in ourselves and our teammates.


The strategist:

This person thinks about development and steps to take for the long-term vision.

“Perception is strong and sight weak. In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things” —Miyamoto Musashi, legendary Japanese swordsman


The change-catalyst:

A change catalyst recognizes when things are not working and will boldly head straight into a messy situation and try something new to turn it around. They will take risks to make a change they feel needs to happen

 “When something is important enough you do it, even if the odds are not in your favor” Elon Musk, founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX; co-founder and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; co-founder and CEO of Neuralink; and co-founder of PayPal


The transactor:

Transactors recognize opportunities and are skilled at making deals to build a team or business.

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus” – Martin Luther King Jr., Civil Rights leader


The builder:

Builders are entrepreneurs creating the structures and systems that set motion forward.

“The founding fathers were not only brilliant, they were system builders and systematic thinkers. They came up with comprehensive plans and visions.”Ron Chernow, Historian, Biographer.


The innovator:

This person brings ideas and solutions and challenges the status quo.

“Some see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”George Bernard Shaw, Playright, Activist


The processor:

Processors establish the most efficient structures to keep companies moving effectively.

A leader is the one who knows the way, shows the way, and goes the way”- John C. Maxxwell, Author, Pastor, Leadership expert.


The coach:

For a coach, leadership is a form of people development. These executives know how to get the best out of people, thus creating high performance cultures.

Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”Peter Drucker, Philosopher of modern business principles, Management Consultant.


The communicator:

Communicators set the stage and inspire progress toward their vision. These executives are great influencers, and have a considerable impact on their surroundings.

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” —Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher, writer, and founder of Tsaoism.


Everyone is capable of being a leader, and you can become a more effective leader by establishing your style and matching it to your goals. You should also be able to recognize the leadership traits in others so you can know who to turn to for which types of tasks. Successful businesses take a blend of leadership and persists on the growth of leaders and emerging leaders.