The Entrepreneur, The Manager, and The Charismatic — these are the three types of brilliant leaders, according to the groundbreaking new book, In Their Time: The Greatest Business Leaders of the 20th Century. So which kind are you? (We already know you're brilliant, so spare us the modesty.) To find out, take this quiz — exclusive to fastcompany.com and created by the book's coauthor, Anthony J. Mayo.
Take the leadership quiz
1] In which business life stage (or cycle) have you been most successful?
- Mature businesses
2] What is your tolerance for risk?
3] How important do you consider prevailing economic conditions in determining business success?
- Not very important
- Extremely important
- Somewhat important
4] What best describes your approach in business?
- Problem solver
5] Businesses, you feel, most effectively generate value through...
6] What type of business environment best suits your personality?
- Fluid and unpredictable
- Highly structured
- High risk, high reward
7] Where do you see the greatest opportunity in a business?
- Launching a new product or service
- Dramatically expanding a successful product or service
- Redesigning a product or service for a new constituency
8] What is your definition of successful leadership?
- Creating something new
- Maximizing potential
- Managing change
9] What is the best way to defeat your business competitors?
- Invest in a new product or service offering
- Offer the best value for your customers
- Join forces or consolidate offerings through mergers
10] What business executive do you most admire?
- Bill Gates
- Meg Whitman
- Jack Welch
If you chose 'a' four or more times:
Do you often find yourself craving Fruity Pebbles? It may be because you're a great entrepreneur in the tradition of C.W. Post, founder of Post Cereals. Your type breaks through the mold of your time to create opportunities for success. You create new, sustainable concepts for the future, revolutionizing industries, processes, or businesses. Plus, you often overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to create and sustain success. Perhaps you'd like to start a new industry today?
If you chose 'b' four or more times:
You love maximizing the value of a company that already exists — much like Louis B. Neumiller, who became chief executive of Caterpillar in 1941. In other words, you're a true manager. You might not transform what a corporation is, but you can certainly change its size and scope. You deeply understood the landscape in which you operate and take advantage of the hand you're dealt to shape businesses that thrive in this environment. You're adept at tapping into the unique psyche of your times. And you tend to hog the remote.
If you chose 'c' four or more times:
You've got star quality, baby. You're a charismatic leader. You can convince people to do just about anything — which is why you're much like Lee Iacocca, the Chrysler CEO who turned the company around in the '80s. You're not exactly an innovator, though: You find the value in the trends and contexts set by your predecessors. Still, you'll often consolidate businesses and industries and are skilled at taking advantage of their situation. Although, really, we're guessing you'd rather drive a Porsche than a Sebring.
A version of this article appeared in the September 2005 issue of Fast Company magazine.