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Leadership Styles

So you want to be an AD


An effective leader understands and appreciates the different ways that people influence other people.

Information accompanying this section includes:

  • A sample of a DISC test, which reveals an individual’s personality traits.
  • Information about "StrengthsFinder," a best-selling book by Tom Rath that helps people identify "talent themes."
  • A color assessment, especially good for staff retreats, that helps with the identification of personality styles.
  • A SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) assessment.

What’s most important, of course, is to understand yourself. Most people know if they prefer to be in control, how analytical they are, the degree to which they use persuasion or how much they value stability. What you probably don’t know is the degree that you rely on each of those traits. That’s what a DISC test, or others like it, can reveal for you.

One important takeaway is that no particular style is required for an individual to succeed. Control can be useful, but plenty of analytical folks have worked their way up the professional ladder, often by complementing their shortfalls with the skills of others. Put another way, if you are a big-picture person but weak on details, then you need to identify people who dot every "i" and cross every "t." Or if your approach is more mechanical, then you should look for associates who can get others to buy into what the program is trying to accomplish.

The point is to understand, value and use the differences that others have to offer.

Successful leaders also must find means for honest assess - ments. One especially useful tool is a SWOT analysis, which is a problem-solving process that identifies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for a contemplated course of action. Although it is a common-sense approach to problem-solving, a SWOT analysis has little value without cold, honest input. And the input itself must be followed by the real work, which is to identify how the pieces fit together to achieve the result you want.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you know what kind of leader you are?
  • Have you considered how you can use your secondary personality traits to become a more effective leader?
  • Do you know the traits of your most valued associates and, if so, have you considered how you could use those traits to your advantage?
  • Are you secure enough to hire or promote people different from you?
  • Have you considered how you might improve your problem- solving skills?