Everyone has the potential to be a leader—learn how to successfully spearhead a team by harnessing your unique personality!

You don't have to be the manager of a department or a high-powered executive to be a leader. In fact, many people hold leadership positions without even realizing it. Do you raise kids, coach a softball team, or organize a volunteer group? All of these are situations where you can hone your leadership skills.

In developing leaders over the years, we've found that many people think they don't have the characteristics to be a leader. Well, we believe everyone has the ability to lead effectively leveraging their unique personality. 

Embracing Different Leadership Styles

Different personalities lead more naturally depending on the situation they are in and the people they are with. Someone with Red characteristics leads differently compared to someone with Blue characteristics, and these two people will feel more comfortable leading under different circumstances. For example, someone with Red Usual Behavior may feel more confident driving a team that is responsible for executing tasks, while someone with Blue Usual Behavior may feel more confident heading a conceptual development team. 

If someone is not thriving as a leader, it is often because their personality is clashing with external factors. During these situations, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the environment becoming overly emotional? Are you comfortable dealing with sensitive topics?
  • Does your leadership approach match the expectations of those you lead?
  • How is your personality similar to or different from the people you are leading?
  • Does the situation require more reflection or more execution? What is your default?  
Strength in Hidden Needs

It might not be intuitive, but Needs can be strengths in leadership because they widen your behavioral spectrum. If someone's Usual Behavior (diamond) and Needs (circle) are far away from each other on the Map, they usually recognize a broader spectrum of behaviors in themselves and others compared to someone who has similar Usual and Needs scores. With a larger behavioral lens, leaders can naturally understand and relate to a wider variety of people and personalities. 

If you see large gaps between a person's Diamond and Circle on the Birkman Map, ask them how they display the behaviors of both their Usual Behavior and Needs. When a leader has small gaps in their scoring patterns, this may create blind spots for them, which we'll address next. 

Natural Blind Spots

Leveraging one's strengths is an important part of leading, but it's just as important to understand areas where one can improve. Blind spots may exist when someone has very similar Usual and Needs scores. Let's say that we have an extroverted leader with their Usual Behavior and Needs near the top of the Birkman Map. Someone with these qualities may not often take the time to reflect, strategize, and work in situations that involve solo activities.

If this leader manages a team with a number of introverts, this could create a stressful environment for members who prefer to work by themselves due to the contrast in preference for social interaction.

In leadership, it's important to be aware of the diverse personalities and Needs of everyone on your team. To make the workspace more comfortable and productive for their introverted team, this leader can be intentional about running efficient team meetings as well as creating individual workspaces. By understanding blind spots, leaders will have the tools to better understand their peers and build an environment that is conducive to team growth and success. 

Interests and Priorities

Consciously or subconsciously, Interests impact a leader's priorities. This is because our Interests impact where we place the greatest value in the workplace. When someone is aware of the things they enjoy, they can open their eyes to the ways they influence a team. For example, if a leader has many Blue Interests, they might put a strong focus on aesthetics compared to other facets of a product. 

By looking at how a leader establishes workplace priorities, you can also see what areas they might have to pay more attention to. Does a leader accommodate the unique preferences of different team members, or are their preferences skewed towards Yellows (over-emphasizing processes and systems), or Reds (prioritizing technology), for example?  

Tactics to Become a Better Leader

Tactics to Become a Better Leader

What separates a good leader from a great one? Their curiosity and willingness to learn. Discover other tips to improve your leadership with this infographic!

Become a Self-Aware Leader

Strategies for Becoming a Self-Aware Leader

"New research also makes it clear that developing leaders by training them to face the uncertainty and adaptation of the future marketplace is mission critical."

Read this blog to develop the agile mindset that leaders of the future need to succeed.