As someone who’s been an executive, a management consultant, and a leadership coach, I know that there are all kinds of effective leaders out there. Some styles are more effective in certain situations than another. Great leaders do share some important traits, and I talked about four of these in a recent post; resilience, ambition, openness to opposing ideas, and staying grounded by listening to “the common man/woman” for their point of view. To these I’d add a good dose of humility, and another of self-awareness, because without understanding your own strengths and prejudices, and your leadership style, you literally don’t know what you’re missing.
The same organization will need different kinds of leaders at different points in its development. A startup company needs a Risk Taker. A leader whose tolerance for risk is sky-high; someone daring, confident, and decisive. But once success is achieved, this kind of personality can get bored and restless, and wants to go on to the next shiny thing that pops up, leaving the management of the organization to others.
The Visionary can see a better future and inspire others to get on board. They often are more focused on the future and will give others a glimpse of what to strive for. Their weakness can be a lack of interest or involvement in the details of how things actually get done day to day.
The Thinker will bring focus on quality and consistency to the forefront, and are the steady, cautious, planners whose focus is keeping the organization on the solid ground. These folks tend to stick to the trusted and tested systems and frameworks and see change as something to question. That trait is found in people who want to take time to sort things out, who like to start and finish things, one project at a time and may not honor deadlines.
The Collaborator is all about relationships and connecting with people at a high level of social intelligence. Their gift is bringing people together, using compassion and care, while being the connector when disparate ideas seem too far apart to reach common ground. There’s a potential in this leadership style for wanting everyone to “just get along”, and seeking approval from others. The buck has to stop someplace, and that’s generally on the leader’s desk.
The Doer is the one who just gets things done. Consistently, this leader generates outcomes, and is the person on whom everyone counts to be there until the last report is complete and the last person leaves the building, without fanfare or attention. But it’s perilously easy for Doers to do too much – it’s in their DNA – and to suffer burnout when their colleagues become too complacent about “letting Mary take care of it”.
All of these traits are necessary at any given time in an organization’s life. No one person has all of these traits and organizations that thrive encourage diversity of thinking. That’s why it’s so critical to recognize your own strengths – and acknowledge your weaknesses. That way, you can surround yourself with people who can bring different points of view and fill in the gaps in your management style.
How do you figure out what kind of leader you really are? The most accurate, sure way to determine your behavioral style is the Predictive Index behavioral analytics system Whether you’re looking to define your own leadership style and strengths, or you’re seeking a team member with a particular behavioral pattern, it’s an invaluable system that lets you cut through the noise. And, it can also help you to avoid hiring someone too much like yourself. After all, you’ve already got one of those!
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