Whether you realize it or not, you have a unique style as a leader, and understanding that style more fully can be crucial for the success of your team.
It is also important to understand that different teams or circumstances may require you to adjust your style or approach, which can be quite the undertaking if it is not a style that is natural to you.
Unfortunately, some leaders go their whole career without truly understanding their natural style, but Cloverleaf is here to help you fast-track this learning and be a better leader. So where do we start?
Identify your Natural Style
The first step to understanding how you operate as a leader is to develop self-awareness and become more in tune with what makes you, you. Leverage Cloverleaf for this through your Coaching Tips and Assessments.
Our behavioral assessments can give a great deal of insight into how you tend to communicate, receive or share feedback, experience conflict, and make decisions.
Take 16 Types for example. An extroverted leader will get a lot of energy from motivating the team and sharing their ideas but can easily steamroll any team members who don’t share this same level of energy in large groups.
An introverted leader will have a more calculated and personal approach and get energy from thinking about where the team is headed but may be slow to take action.
Every behavioral result on the dashboard can give a new perspective on how you naturally operate and where your strengths and blind spots may be. If you really want to take advantage of these insights you can download the available reports for each behavioral assessment to take a deep dive into the common characteristics of each type.
When digging into your personality here are some questions you can consider:
What results and insights stood out the most and how do they present themselves at work?
What tendencies of mine align well with my role and responsibilities?
Are there any tendencies that present challenges at work?
What potential gaps or blind spots exist that I should be aware of?
How can this new knowledge enable me to do my best work?
Leveraging your Strengths (and being aware of weaknesses)
Knowing your strengths as a leader is essential in leading your team well. When you truly understand what you do best it allows you to demonstrate what it means to leverage your own strengths while celebrating those who have strengths different than your own.
Every leader has different strengths and more importantly, every leader has different weaknesses. Being transparent and honest about what activities aren’t natural to you allows you to empower your team and give team members ownership over their unique talents.
For example, CliftonStrengths provides you with a list of your Top 5 strengths and these strengths fall into one of 4 categories:
You will likely be lacking in at least one of these areas. If you have a hard time Executing, who on your team is naturally good and pushing things over the finish line and how can you give them an opportunity to utilize this strength to add value to the team? This approach can be so empowering to your team members and it allows you to foster a culture of celebrating each and every person’s unique offering and makes every member of the team feel they contribute value to the team.
Understanding Possible Perceptions of You as a Leader
As a leader, it can be easy to overlook when your approach and style are being received or experienced in a negative way. This is somewhat inevitable and is just part of leading a diverse team.
Diverse teams have the potential to be such a powerhouse, but with differing thinking styles come misconceptions and quick judgments when someone thinks and communicates differently than you. A good leader knows that managing the perceptions that exist is important for team culture and is also a constantly moving target.
DISC can be an extremely helpful tool for determining where some of these negative perceptions could arise as well as providing insight that enables you to be proactive. Take this team for example.
Individuals who fall in the same general quadrant are likely to have similar styles and therefore a common understanding of each other’s behavioral tendencies.
The larger the gap, the higher the likelihood that some misconceptions and conflicting thinking styles exist. It is very common for individuals on opposite ends of the visualization to view each other’s behavioral tendencies as extreme.
For example, someone high in the Steadiness category is likely to perceive someone high in dominance as abrasive, aggressive, and over-confident.
To help leaders and team members alike, Cloverleaf has designed the Relationship Map that allows you to get insight on a specific relationship as it pertains to a specific assessment. This is especially helpful for those individuals that fall on opposite ends of the spectrum because it gives context and language to their differences to help each individual better understand one another.
Adapting to Meet the Needs of Your Team
One final way to better understand your style and how it impacts your team is through the lens of team culture. All of us have our own cultural preferences in the workplace whether it be how we are motivated, how we like to be led, or what environment we feel most productive in.
Cloverleaf can show you what your preferences might be and how they may differ from that of your team. This can be an extremely valuable insight because often our first tendency is to treat and lead others how we prefer to be treated, not how they prefer to be treated.
The Culture Pulse assessment can make it easy to identify where your team has cultural alignment and diversity. Take our team for example.
Almost every single member of our team falls on the “Support” side of Management Philosophy including our CEO, Darrin.
Darrin’s natural management approach is to check in with his team members, ensure they feel supported and have the resources they need and for the vast majority of us, we very much appreciate this approach. It makes us feel cared for and like Darrin just wants to make sure we have the tools and resources we need to succeed.
But there is an outlier. Tim falls very high on the “Performance” side of the spectrum which means when Darrin took the same approach when leading Tim, it made Tim feel micromanaged, overwhelmed, and untrusted to do his job. Feeling this tension and then coming to the dashboard, Darrin and Tim were able to uncover that there was simply a difference in preference and Darrin was able to adjust the ways in which he leads and motivates Tim to do his job effectively.
Who are the outliers on your team? Is your leadership style and approach impacting team members in different ways? Having diverse cultural preferences can be so good for a team’s impact, but not adapting for your outliers can cause them to feel misunderstood and underutilized. What are the small adjustments you can make to ensure everyone on your team feels valued and seen?
Own your Style
At the end of the day, there is no one right way to lead others. Every leader is different, as is every team. Using Cloverleaf to deepen your self- and team-awareness can equip you to lead your team with confidence and intention so your people feel known. When teams feel known and valued by their leader, they can truly do their best work.
Cloverleaf has a lot to offer, so check out our blog or other articles about the TEAM Dashboard.