Executive Coaching Articles

Develop Effective Leaders

Has it ever puzzled you why people act the way they do? Have you ever been amazed that someone did something absolutely opposite of what you would have expected?

One essential quality to develop effective leaders rests in leaders understanding people. Why do they do what they do? Then working with those personalities and character traits to guide, motivate, inspire, and lead.

How can you understand people?

When others don’t think and act the way we do, we are sometimes stumped about how to motivate and lead employees. Fortunately there are a number of tools to help leaders assess their team and understand their personalities.

Myers-Briggs is the classic test, but many new personality assessments now make it easy to predict how your employees will act and what will motivate them to excel.

Find a good program and have your entire team take the assessment. Then spend time with a leadership coach or other expert understanding these different personality traits. When you do this, you will develop greater understand about how to be an effective leader for them.

How can personalities types help to develop effective leaders?

People have innate abilities and skills. When you allow them to use those skills, they are happier and do better at work. You would not expect a zebra to hunt. Nor would you expect a lion to graze.

You’ll have better success leading your employees, when you understand the “lions” and “zebras” in your workplace.

Problem: Even though brilliant ideas are created, the office is disorganized and ineffective.
Solution: Personality assessments help you understand that creative thinkers are often less effective at follow-through and detail work. Balance your creative thinkers with personalities that love details and organization. Then the office will be both creative and organized and you will be seen as an effective leader.

Problem: Our team is not united. Each member wants to go his or her own direction.
Solution: Look at the personalities on the team and help each team member understand their strengths and weaknesses. As best you can, arrange to have the team structured so your talents complement one another.

Then be respectful of the strengths of the other team members. Appreciate the organizer or consensus builder as much as you appreciate the hard charger. People will see evidence of your developing leadership as you use personalities to create effective teams.

Problem: Conflicts and miscommunication happens between employees. Every personality type has an innate way of communicating. The problem comes when these ways clash.
Solution: Training and recognition of personality styles can help employees become more patient and helpful to one another. For example, some personalities are very direct. Other people can see this as “attacking” and become defensive. When both people understand their attributes and the qualities of other personalities, the direct personality can try to “tone down” when talking to others. And the more sensitive personality type can come to understand it’s not an attack — just direct.

Problem: Far too many promotions don’t work out well. How can you know your developing leaders will be effective and successful?
Solution: When you understand personality types, you gain insight into strengths and weaknesses. You have a better understanding who will succeed in promotions. Moreover, you know which skills you’ll need to help them develop and which areas will need more mentoring to strengthen.

There are many ways to develop effective leaders. Understanding personality types is just one part of the process. However, it can short-cut years of frustration and conflict and is well worth your time to understand and use.

You’ll find it accelerates your own leadership development. And it helps you guide and groom a new generation of leaders.

As you work to develop into an effective leader, check out Joel’s book, Getting Ahead. Use this great resource to rise to the top.