Leadership styles vary. There is no single ‘right’ way to lead a team, motivate your employees, or share your vision to guide change and drive impact. Understanding your own style, strengths, and weaknesses, though, is essential to learn, grow, and leverage your best qualities.

Exponential leadership happens at the nexus of great vision and great management. It’s not just about supporting your teams and giving marching orders. Exponential leaders share their vision, inspiring their people and the world around them, while empowering their talent to utilize and develop their own expertise.

Innovation happens when strong leaders shine a light down a new path and enable their teams – equipped with the right tools, support, and confidence – to traverse, define, and improve it.

Lisa Kay Solomon, Chair of Transformational Practices at Singularity University, believes that exponential leadership is not reserved for the “magic” few leaders we read about in news headlines. She works to educate, empower, and inspire leaders to change their models to perform better and be more resilient in the face of exponential technologies and disruption.

“These are teachable and learnable skills,” Solomon explains. “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Recognize and appreciate that you don’t fully understand the problem. Practice empathetic observation to get to the real question – beyond just the presenting problem.”

Accept Uncertainty About the Future – but be Certain About Your Leadership Strengths

If you can overcome the need to be sure, the need to be right, and the desire for control, you may be close to unlocking the potential of exponential leadership.

Among effective managers and visioneers, there are different motivations and styles that inform success. Four key types of change drivers have been outlined by Solomon. Each one has the potential to make an exponential difference.

Which exponential leadership style do you connect with?

Futurist – You imagine bold ideas.

Humanitarian – You make choices that positively impact people and communities.

Innovator – You bring ideas to life.

Technologist – You accelerate possibilities with technology.


Lisa Kay Solomon’s framework for identifying the four types of exponential leaders

Once you have determined your style, you can better understand your motivations and apply your strengths toward making an exponential impact on the world. Work with your team to identify complementary skillsets for more effective collaboration. Expand your perspective by spending time shadowing and learning from innovative leaders with other styles.

“You need to ask yourself: what can I do to support learning opportunities at my organization?” Solomon says.

Seek opportunities for yourself and your teams, nurturing skills and expanding horizons for a collaborative, dynamic, and evolving workplace. Some teammates may benefit from technical training or interest-driven side projects. The SingularityU Canada Executive Program could be your next C-suite learning opportunity that focusses on transformation and strategic foresight. 

Determine what works at the individual level, without losing sight of your team’s makeup and broader organizational goals. Most importantly: always be open to new ideas when it comes to learning and leading.

Let us know in the comments or join the conversation online with #SUCanada #ExponentialCanada.