What Kind of Economic Development Leadership Style Do You Have?

What Kind of Economic Development Leadership Style Do You Have? Main Photo

9 Sep 2020

News, Blog

As you know, your job is all about building communities. Successfully transforming a community requires leadership and hard work. The economic developers we see every day have a range of skills and wealth of experience to draw from to perform their jobs, and these individuals are community leaders. Some economic developers recognize their leadership role and are able to guide boards and community groups through strategic plans. Others are quieter, servant leaders who work diligently and accomplish monumental tasks and initiatives by serving others.

There is no better or worse way to do your job as an economic developer and there isn’t a “right” way to do it. However, the most successful professionals we’ve met have come up with the best way to be successful in their own communities. Being the right fit seems to be a common denominator of success.

So, what type of economic development professional do you want to be? Here are four leadership styles that you can learn from. Perhaps, by reading about each style, you’ll learn how others lead as well and get insights on how to further grow in your community and leadership role.

Thought Leaders

Thought leaders are visionaries at heart and look far ahead on the horizon. These individuals excel at articulating a vision and getting a team or people to rally around that vision. They spend a lot of time researching ideas and refining visions into executable plans. Once a plan is articulated to a group, this leader uses collaboration and cohesion to accomplish growth goals.

Courageous Leaders

Courageous leaders have unique visions and are not afraid to try different paths to validate ideas. They usually try many different tactics using success and failure as a teacher to find the best path for a community to succeed. These individuals enjoy taking new ideas and personally implementing it before sharing it with others. They often use personal success and failures as an inspiration for others to follow.

Inspirational Leaders

Inspirational leaders are a big promoter of change and draw from their passion and commitment to ideas. These leaders will always speak of what could be and describe an ideal vision to follow. They know that perfection is difficult to achieve, but is not an obstacle, and instead just a challenge. These individuals can easily fire up a group and compel them to improve the community with passion and conviction. They make community growth a movement, not just a goal.

Servant Leaders

Servant leaders always set themselves aside and find their strength in the success of other people. This leader will work very hard to remove all the obstacles for others so that the team always wins. They reach their full potential when everyone else is succeeding and being rewarded. These individuals care deeply about the people they work with and the emotional success of their colleagues. The best servant leaders we know don’t soak up the spotlight, but they do accomplish a tremendous amount for everyone else.


At Golden Shovel Agency, we recognize how demanding the job of economic developers can be. We also recognize the importance of growing your community for today’s and tomorrow’s generations. Communities need to find workers and attract business. Economic developers are called to grow communities. There is no more important time to lead a community through growth and leadership. At Golden Shovel Agency, it’s our mission to empower economic developers. We know you are up to the challenge.

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We feature some of the greatest economic developers in our client spotlight. Check out our most recent spotlight here.

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