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Which type of person is harder to lead?

2 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Which type of person is harder to lead?

  • Slacker — they have talent but won’t apply themselves: 24.31%
  • Steamroller — they apply themselves but harm relationships: 48.91%
  • Stowaway — they avoid work and hope to go unnoticed: 26.78%

Steamrollers need to be restrained. These folks are clearly tough to lead.  A Steamroller gets momentum and gets things done which makes them especially challenging to deal with.  The hard part is their accurate belief that they’re getting results so they don’t need to change their behaviors. The trick with leading them is helping them understand their rating is based upon results and relationships.  As far as Slackers go, it’s about unlocking their motivation.  For Stowaways, the key to improving their performance is holding them accountable and you investing more effort in changing their behaviors.  The most critical step in leading any of them correctly is first getting an accurate assessment of what their behaviors truly are.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, author of “Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results” and “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”