Before you can improve your leadership capability you need to understand yourself. If you are already a leader in your work or community you already have developed some leadership skills. Something is working. However, I would bet that at times you said to yourself “gosh, I didn’t see that coming.” Whenever something happens you don’t expect learn to look inward and avoid blaming the other. It may entirely be the other persons fault; however, that really doesn’t matter – you are the leader and you are responsible for the situation and fixing it. So – look inside.
One of the most useful tools I ever ran into was the identification of social styles. There are many versions of the same theme but basically people have one to two dominate modes of operation (out of four total). They are:
These are comfort zones. When not thinking about it or when stressed people will act their style. There are no good nor bad here just tendencies. However, when people have different natural styles there is the opportunity for conflict and misunderstanding.
When faced with conflict people within their style will tend to act the following way:
- Driver – Aggressive, rude, abrupt
- Expressive – Unpredictable, emotional
- Analytical – Whining, sarcastic, negative
- Amiable – Likely to be ” passive”, lack conviction, avoidance
Sound like people you know? Which one are you? So, knowing this – and if you knew the social style everyone – how could you approach them differently? Each of these styles also comes with a basic need. You can think of it as an approach. If you want to lower their stress you can approach them recognizing their basic need:
- Driver – To be in control
- Expressive – Recognition
- Analytical – To be correct
- Amiable – Security
So, the best way to get an Analytical upset is to question their accuracy. The best way to rouse a Driver is challenge their authority. The best way to upset an Amiable is to threaten their security. Finally, to upset an Expressive you deny their recognition. This is the first clue to “I didn’t see that coming.”
You and your team can take test to see where they fit into the 4 styles. You will really enjoy watching people understand why things got out of whack at times. More importantly, everyone will learn more about each other and how to approach them if it may be a stressful discussion.
There are many versions of this test and some are free as included in this link.
This can become as complex or simple as you want to make it but I prefer to keep it simple enough to be remembered and acted upon “on the fly” as you encounter stressful discussions with people.