There are lots of ways to lead. The best way is to try to lead in a way that takes advantage of your natural personality. In other words, don’t be what you ain’t. Learning how others behave, how they think, what they focus on and find important, however, will make you a better leader. Let’s face it, most of us are self-centered and really don’t care how others think or behave as long as they don’t get in our way. To be a better leader, though, it is important to understand and be able to work with the differing behavioral patterns of others; those with whom you must interact to get your outcomes achieved. Partner up with individuals who continuously see the world differently than you do. Have some discussions over coffee. Try to find value in their points of view. Some of the best discussion groups are comprised of people with opposing views who learn to understand value and respect the opinions of others.
Leaders lead differently based upon their different personalities. It is important that you find out which leadership personality is most suited to your situation. One, hopefully, that will align with your natural personality. If you are seen as changing your personality often, however, people won’t know how to relate to you as a leader and won’t trust you.
There are a number of ways of describing typical personalities. One of the most common divides people into more or less assertive and either task or people oriented. This model, like so many others, breaks the complexity of personalities down into four types of people: Controlling (assertive/task oriented), Promoting (assertive/people oriented), Supporting (non-assertive/people oriented), and Analytical (non-assertive/task oriented).
• The Controlling personality’s strength lies in its ability to stay focused on outcomes. Controllers are goal driven, action oriented, and tend not to wander too much outside the current time frame.
• Promoting personalities tend to be more futuristic, big picture types. Promoters are quite creative and intuitive, but bore easily.
• Supportive personalities are the best overall communicators. Supporters are usually thinking about “how am I going to get the message to others…include others…and make them feel happy.
• Analytical personalities are into detail and history. Analytical tend to be oriented towards the past, not the future, and want lots of explanations for why things are done the way they are.
While most everyone has the minimum amount of flexibility required to move gingerly between these types, most people feel the most comfortable fulfilling roles that take advantage of their natural personality strengths. For example, if I had a project to complete on time, I’d want the Controller to be in charge of the time frame. Making sure people were aware of deadlines, keeping people on task and focused. I’d want the Analytical to be assigned the responsibility of auditing the project to make sure that nothing is left out or forgotten and that the policies and procedures that are in place are adhered. This takes advantage of their natural detailing strengths. The Supporter would be in charge of internal and external communication since they have a need to be inclusive of everyone and make sure that everyone feels happy. The Promoter would be in charge of the creative aspects of the project. Brainstorming, new product ideas, negotiations, deal-making are all part of their natural repertoire.
The skills of versatility, the ability to deal with people based upon their personalities, is the single greatest differentiator between good and great leaders. It is a skill that allows the leader to see the best in everyone and assign roles that fulfill not only the needs of the organization, but also the needs of the individua