THE PERSONALITY OF A LEADER – “DISCOVERING YOURSELF AND YOUR TEAM”

Have you ever wondered what type of person or personality makes the best leader? Most would consider the answer to that question to be the person that has the greatest success, the largest organization, or the best staff. Conversely, have you ever wondered how it is that a person with little drive or entrepreneurial skills ends up in a leadership position? You know the type person I am writing about, a person that couldn’t lead a dog on a walk, but has been given the responsibility of leading a large and well-established organization.

A few years ago I met a person that had skills and a personality type much different than I first thought. After serving in a very successful leadership role for several years this person was offered the position to run an entire department at a fast growing university. Part of his duties also included teaching a full-load of classes at the university. When he arrived to class on his first day he had a notebook for each student. A notebook full of outlines for the lessons he was going to teach the entire semester. WOW! To say the least, I was impressed. I just knew that this man had to be the most organized person in the world.


Years later, however, I had the opportunity to work with his son, and I made the remark that he must have the most organized father in the world. His response was, “My dad is incredibly unorganized, but he makes up for it with his leadership personality. He knows the value of having a diverse team around him.” That statement, and learning experience, gave birth to this article on leadership personality.


Some people have an easier time developing their leadership skills than others. Most would agree that certain personality types make better leaders. So the real question is, “What is your leadership personality?” Below are examples of different leadership personalities, as you read each one try to decide which best fits you. Understanding your leadership personality, and that of your leadership team, will help you motivate and lead those around you.


Powerful leader – this type leader is also known as the lion in the organization. The “Lion” type personality likes authority, challenges and logical approaches. They are strong, self-willed people that have a hard time taking, “No” for an answer. They are the type that loves to be in the driver’s seat. The strength of this leadership personality is good decision making skills, and the negative is the tendency to be a morale killer. However, once people see his caring heart, they will learn to love and respect him, and will also grow from his challenges.


I once heard a story of father that had a strong “Lion” for a son. The son wanted to ride his bike. The bike was in the garage, the door was closed and dad was the only one that could open it. The boy went to his father, who just got out of the shower, and asked him to open the door. The father asked his son to wait just a minute. The boy persisted until the father gave in, walked out into the garage in his bathrobe and opened the door. However, when the father jerked on the door it caught the bottom of his robe and pulled it up over his head. Of course, letting the world see that he was wearing only his “birthday-suit” under his robe. As luck would have it, several of his neighbors were out in their yards and some were taking the family for a walk up the street.


Perfectionist leader – this type leader is also known as the beaver in the organization. She is the type person that keeps all the “T”s crossed and the “I”s dotted. A person with this personality type can easily handle the details of day-to-day operations, but can let the small stuff get in the way. She is usually a stressed-out workaholic and feels responsible for making our world go around. She is also the world’s planners and plotters, and if it were not for her our lives would be seriously out of balance. Rest assured, everyone that she comes in contact with will learn and grow from her wisdom.


Once upon a time there was a beaver busy building himself a small hut. He carefully measures the place that he has picked out, choosing only the perfect spot, of course. Once the spot is measured, he carefully and methodically, puts sticks into place. While in the process, a small ground hog comes walking along. The ground hog strikes up a conversation with the beaver, “What are you doing, how long will it take, do you have family, what would happen if a storm were to come and how about letting me help you – I think I can make your hut better?” The beaver tries patiently to listen to the ground hog, but in his mind is how much time he is wasting. And how much he would hate it if the ground hog would try to help and change his plans. Finally, the beaver is happy, the ground hog saw a gopher that might need some help and trotted off to see what he could do. Sound like anyone you know, like the person you see in the mirror everyday?


Peaceful leader – this type leader is known as the golden retriever in the organization. People with this type of personality are the loyal ones in the bunch and will go to great lengths to not offend anyone. One of their biggest downfalls is not having the ability to say, “No.” He is by far the hardest to motivate, and because of this will frustrate most of the other personality types. However, this type of personality possesses the greatest amount of compassion. So much so that it will be very easy for others to share their innermost feelings with him. This type person may be very hard to motivate, but is a real asset to an organization’s team.


I once met a wonderful lady that always had time to talk. She seemed to know when to give her input and when to just listen. If you looked closely you could almost read a small sign on her forehead that said, “Tell me all your cares. I would love to help.” Everyone I knew would open up to her within just a few minutes of conversation. I was so attracted to this most incredible creature that I married her. Since opposites attract I will let you determine my personality type. Lets just say we have some fun conversations at home.


Popular leader – this type leader is known as the fun-loving otter in the organization. These are fun-loving, life of the party, write checks until they are gone kind of people. These are the type of people that could sell charcoal in Hell. They love to please people and usually make a good impression. Everyone loves to spend time with this type personality, everyone except the beavers. She is always ready to have fun, and will create a fun environment if there is not one. Her leadership strength is the ability to rally the troops to achieve the organization’s goals. The down side to this type of person is they like to talk, and talk and talk. Fun-loving otters will often overlook the details that are important to making everything balance at the end of the day; or so beavers tend to think. This is the classic battle between the accounting and marketing department in almost every organization in America.


Have you ever invited some good friends over for dinner and tell them to show up at 6:00pm and that dinner will be served at 6:30pm sharp. The top of the hour comes and goes, 6:30pm comes and goes, and some where around 7:00pm they arrive telling you that they are starved and that dinner sure smells good. They don’t even apologize for being one hour late!!! Your spouse is fuming, and both of you have growls coming from your stomachs. You sit down to finally eat the dried out chicken and the cold soup. This couple is probably wired like the adventurous otter and thinks nothing of being on time.


SO, WHAT TYPE OF ANIMAL (PERSONALITY) ARE YOU???


What type leadership personality do you have? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What about your leadership team, what are their leadership personalities? The more you learn about your personality and the personalities of your leadership team members, the better you will be as a leader. Lastly, the more diversified the personality makeup of your leadership team the stronger your organization will be.


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