What is your leadership style? Are you a get-it-done type or a caring, relationship builder? Are you touchy feely, go-with-your gut person or a cautious, information gatherer? Are you direct, often interpreted as blunt, or more emotional, viewed as wishy-washy?

Knowing your leadership style is important to your success in both your business and personal lives. In business, it enables you to leverage your talent and seek out the right new hires to complement the leadership styles of your current management team. There is no right or wrong style, and the combination you choose for your business can be the ‘make or brake’ of achieving your goals.

Using the DISC profiles, as an example, here are two aspects of leadership styles. Graphed on this chart, we have the two extremes of communication styles – casual and formal – plotted against personality types – extroverted and introverted. Each of the four DISC types is placed in a quadrant.

Aly Pain's DiSC Styles

Casual communicators tend to use less formal language, include feelings in the discussion and seem less articulate when speaking. Formal communicators, on the other hand, use fewer words, come across as more direct and always have their i’s dotted and t’s crossed before weighing in.

Likewise, extroverts and introverts have very different styles. Extroverts are the talkers who speak as they process thoughts, while introverts are considered good listeners because they observe more than they verbalize.

Dominant styles are more results-based and direct while Supportive types are all about relationships and people. Inspiring leaders are all about the why, often making decisions based on emotions and feelings. Their opposites, Cautious personalities, are all about the information, and often put off making decisions until they have collected enough data.

Now let’s look at how these characteristics play out in a boardroom…

The company’s leader is a Dominant, both extroverted and formal. He begins a meeting that was scheduled weeks before but may or may not have told anyone else what the agenda is.

In the meeting, he dives straight to the deliverables and action items because spending time on small talk and relationship building is a waste, not to mention annoying. He knows exactly what he wants from everyone and assumes that they do to – telling the team what will happen, not by asking for input or getting buy-in.

The Supportive people are quietly feeling uncared for and unloved with their leader’s abrupt start. They smile and nod while trying not to let on because they want the best for the leader and the organization, and are ready to contribute. They also secretly wonder if the leader is having a tough time personally and maybe he just needs a hug later.

The Cautious people are sitting with their arms crossed and not going to play along because there is no agenda to define the meeting and therefore they are not prepared with meaningful input. They are insulted they weren’t asked to weigh in with their expertise and research, but aren’t about to put their neck out and look stupid.

The Inspiring types are talking about their weekend regardless of the agenda, interrupting the Dominant leader and excited to be out of their cubicle and in a room full of other people! They aren’t as concerned about where the company is going as they are in getting there together and the social events that will happen along the way.

Sound like your office?

Of course, this is an oversimplification of the personality profiling and leadership team design process, but it gives you an understanding of how your leadership style affects your working relationships. If you are interested in delving deeper into this topic more, here are a few books on the topic:

* Quiet – Susan Cain. A must read whether you are an introvert or extrovert.

* The 4 Dimensional Manager: DISC Strategies for Managing Different People in the Best Ways – Julie Straw

* Crucial Conversations – Patterson, Grenny, McMillian, Switzler

* Working Together: A Personality-Centered Approach to Management – Isachsen, Berens

* Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us –  Daniel Pink

Need someone to walk your executive team through a day on understanding leadership styles? Contact me to set up your free consultation!

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