Thank you for listening to the Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! In the final installment of our series The Paradox of Personality you will learn about what situation leadership is and how it can help you get the most out of each of your employees or team members. Remember, however, that in order to have the influence necessary to implement situational leadership successfully, you have to know your own weaknesses and create an environment on your team that builds trust.
Know Your Weaknesses
Even good leaders who know their weaknesses have blindspots. Be open to others pointing out your blindspot and find people you trust to help you identify your blindspots.
Live by the motto, “If you see me running off a cliff, tackle me.” Create a space where other people feel comfortable respectfully pointing out areas where you are failing. It will save you from making mistakes and it will save your team from setbacks because of those mistakes.
Q: Why is it hard for leaders to see their own blind spots? What qualities do you see in a leader who is open to feedback? Have you ever received feedback from a subordinate? How did you handle the feedback? Do you feel that you should have handled it differently? Why or why not?
Set the Tone
You have a responsibility to create an environment where your team is willing to bring up your blind spots.
Don’t take yourself too seriously! You set the tone for your team. It’s okay to poke fun at yourself or a situation. When you do this, you build connections and earn the trust of your team members.
Don’t let your mood affect the way that you lead. You never want your team to ask, “What mood is my superior in? Can I approach them with a problem or concern today?”
Q: What tone do you feel that you give off as a leader? What words would you give to describe the environment that you are in? What words would you use to describe an environment where the leader is approachable and trustworthy? Why do you think your tone as a leader is so important? What effects have you seen when a leader gives off a closed, impersonal attitude?
Remember: Your job is not to make your employee into someone they are not, you are helping them become themselves.
Every team member comes into their position not only with a particular personality but also with different skills, learning abilities, experiences, and schooling.
When you add a new person to your team, they can become disillusioned when they realize how little they know about their current role, usually around days 30-90.
Recognizing when a person becomes disillusioned is a necessary step to turning them into a peak performer. Your job when you recognize this shift is to shift your own leadership from directing their day-to-day activities to mentoring them.
Take into account their personality when you determine how you will approach them with new information, criticism, or direction. You can maintain your standards without sacrificing your relationship with the team member when you take into account what strategies help them respond best to new direction or information.
Once you see that your team member is moving out of their phase of disillusionment, begin to direct them by delegating tasks and responsibilities to help them grow. Advocate for them so that they have the resources they need to continue to grow. Your goal is to help each of your employees become leaders that can be promoted out of their position, if that is their desire.
Q: What personalities make up your team? What do you think the struggles of a team with all one type of personality would be? What do you think causes people hire people like them? What fears might you have about hiring someone who does not have the same personality as you? If you aren’t making hiring decisions, think about your group of friends when you consider these questions.
Look at the 4 types of personality as defined in Personality Plus by Florence Littauer: Sanguine, Melancholic, Choleric, Phlegmatic. Brainstorm one thing you should be doing for each of these personality types and one thing you should not be doing. For example, the melancholic personalities typically do not like to speak on an issue unless they have been given significant time to think through their answer, so don’t expect an immediate decision from a melancholic personality, give them time to think about the problem and possible solutions. You can also help melancholic personalities by helping them avoid days that are full of non-stop meetings. Give them time and space to process information and focus on the details of what they are doing.
Evaluate the culture of your team. During your next meeting, take a quick assessment of how your teammates respond to you. Is anyone willing to challenge one of your ideas? How do people respond to a quick joke? Is everyone actively participating, or are two or three people running the show? After the meeting, brainstorm one thing that you can do during the week to improve camaraderie or help your employees be more honest and forthcoming.
Find one team member who could fall into the category of a “disillusioned learner.” Commit to spending time over the next month focusing on helping that employee better understand his or her role and equipping them to reach their fullest potential.