Over the years I’ve encountered some incredibly effective leaders. What’s the secret characteristic that these incredible leaders display—the quality that not-as-effective leaders aren’t paying enough attention to?
Interestingly, directly before putting “pen to paper” to write this bulletin I scanned the day’s Sydney Morning Herald. What did I find? An article illustrating this passport to leadership success that I was about to write about! Isn’t it good when the world supports your thinking?
What is this secret characteristic?
Amazing Leaders Appreciate And Encourage The Contrasting Operating Styles Of Their Team Member
- They value the big-picture thinking of one of their team members, Neil—and they also value the detail mindedness that Natalie brings to the table.
- They appreciate Harry’s rational, logical decision-making—and, as well, they appreciate Henry’s humanistic, understanding approach.
- They’re grateful for Sam’s flexibility and liking to explore different approaches—and they’re grateful for Sally’s clarity and decisive thinking
- They’re thankful for the way Danielle quickly puts her thoughts and feelings on the table—and they’re thankful that Damien reflects on situations before expressing his view.
It Wouldn’t Work If You Wore Your Ski Gear To The Beach—Or If You Wore Your Beach Gear To The Ski Fields, Right?
These effective leaders know that, just like how different weather conditions require us to wear different clothing, different contexts and circumstances that the team’s exposed to require an approach or operating style best suited to that context.
These leaders get how some contexts require a hammer and some contexts require a saw. To join two pieces of wood together with nails, they’d pick up their hammer. And to make one piece of wood two pieces of wood, they’d pick up their saw. (Hope you’re you impressed with my knowledge of carpentry .
Plus, Effective Leaders Are Alert To Their Own And Their Team Members’ Natural Preferences—And Where Buttons Might Be Pushed
If you’re one of these insightful leaders, you wouldn’t allow the reflective Damien in your team to irritate you because of your own need to, let’s say, quickly get your thinking on the table.
And you wouldn’t tolerate Danielle getting irritated with Damien, or Damien getting irritated with Danielle, just because they have acutely different operating styles. You make sure each of your team members appreciate and value the individual differences in the team.
Your Leadership Call to Action
- Remember to ask, “What sort of approach is best for this context?”—rather than defaulting to the approach that feels most natural for you.
It’d be awful if all you had was a hammer, and you therefore needed to treat everything like it was a nail! Remember, a hammer won’t work if the wood needs sawing.
- Be alert to your own operating style getting in the way of you appreciating your team members’ different operating styles.
I notice that when a leader increases their clarity about the individual differences in their team, they straightaway more easily tolerate the contrasting styles. And when they further assimilate what each different approach offers, their team truly begins to operate at its potential.
- Encourage each of your team members to similarly value the benefits of working with peers who operate differently.
Many leaders waste too much of their week attempting to resolve interpersonal differences in their team. Imagine the boom to your personal and to your team’s productivity when team members purposefully put their interpersonal differences to good use.
Shoot me off an email if you want support with this.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.