After 20 years of watching and learning from the leaders I’ve worked with, I’ve concluded we all have one or two of the following preferences:
The Starter: Someone who has an idea. Sees the vision and builds an organization from scratch. They thrive in creation and creativity. The take risks, daily. They are almost addicted to the relentless pace it takes to launch from zero to success. They may be a bit over-the-top in their enthusiasm. They may often be misunderstood. They fail more than they succeed. But failure is not a stop sign. It’s all an experiment and they are in for the ride, just as much as the success that comes with an eventual ‘great start-up’. Conversely, they move on fast. They often are more focused on the service or product they are putting into the world, rather than building an organization that can support the vision long-term. They are who we need to launch, but not likely who we need to sustain.
The Builder: More intrapreneurial in spirit. This leader sees a missing piece within an organization. They see the potential opportunity this missing piece could solve. They also see the current weakness this missing piece fosters. Their vision could include a new team, department or even a new process that can solve the issue and patch the hole. They thrive on pulling together the right resources and energy to drive success. They enjoy the role of influencer and promoter to get others ‘on board’. The lack of vision of others doesn’t thwart their passion. They are exuberant and persistent. It can be infectious to others who also enjoy building. Once the team or department is built, they will likely move on. The thrill of seeing the missing parts and addressing them is what attracts this leader. Once the puzzle is complete, it’s time for a new one. Otherwise, they may continue to find issues, where there are none.
The Fixer: This leader sees the problem. They thrive on finding a solution. They want to dig in and do the hard work of weeding and replanting. They see the vision of what can be, but getting others through the storm is most likely where the ‘get’ is for them. The long-term success is the taunt, but it’s the hard, nuts and bolts problem solving that keeps them focused. They love problems and challenges. A day without a challenge, to them, is boring. Once problems are mitigated and the team starts to hum, it’s time for them to duck out. High performing teams need someone who can prune, rather than someone who likes to chop and saw. These leaders are exceptional under crisis or massive change, but not likely for sustainable performance.
The Grower: This leader loves to take an already high performing team or organization to new heights. They love to build on what already exists. They see the potential and can determine how to make small tweaks to maximize, an already stellar performance. They love to see little gains. They love to watch slow, progressive increases. They believe in their capacity to make incremental changes that can have long-term, powerful impact. They are more consistent in their cadence. They can be exceptional listeners and engagers. They are collaborative and enjoy the coalescing of ideas. These leaders can get overwhelmed with significant change, crisis or difficult employees. These situations require a more decisive approach, which may lead to stress and delay. Growers like to use the tools they have, not necessarily introduce new ones.
The Sustainer: This leader loves status quo. We need this leader for big, long-term projects or teams. This leader builds loyal, dedicated teams and employees. They are stable and predictable. Their philosophy is well established throughout their team and organization. People feel safe with this leader. This leader thrives in organization that doesn’t have overly aggressive goals, significant transitions or change and or new markets. They can drive strong engagement and performance, which supports long-term, predictable team growth and performance. When their organization goes through unexpected or unpredictable circumstances, this leader can lose their footing and struggle along with their team members. They are at risk for ‘joining’ their employees in their beliefs about change and how detrimental it is. Because they see themselves as a dedicated and significant part of the organization, it can be difficult for them to separate from any massive changes going on or perceived turmoil. In other words, they make it personal. Personalizing organizational change is injurious to the leader and to the team.
I know this is a longer post than I usually send out. So bare with me… 🙂
But I think it’s essential that, as leaders, we are thoughtful about where we are in the organization and how the role we are currently serving aligns with both our preference and our skill.
If you are a Starter in a Sustainer role, that can cause a significant amount of stress.
If you are Sustainer in Fixer role, the same is true.
We can all bend and brace as we need to, but over time, we thrive most when we get a sense of our Leadership Preference and act on it. It will help us make critical decisions about the kind of work we do, the types of teams we lead and the best organizations for us to work for.
Which type(s) of Leadership Preference resonates for you? I’d love to know!!
I’ve been reflecting on this as well.
I’m a Builder and a Fixer. Which is why 2017 is seeing a lot of change in my coaching business. I like to find the missing pieces or the broken ones, identify solutions and then implement. I’ll never be the kind of coach or entrepreneur that offers the same kind of service year in and year out. Which also means I will likely lose (but also gain) some clients.
In this keeping, I’m changing my 1:1 coaching practice. Up until now, I’ve only coached clients 1:1 who’ve engaged me for three to six month programs. I’m eliminating this program offer.
Because I’m a Builder and a Fixer, I do my best work when I meet my clients in the throes of their challenges. I’ve been known to call this “Triage Coaching”.
These are the leaders who need what I do, most. And I want to help.
To best support those clients, I’ll be offering options to work with me in one, three, or five sessions. I will also be offering corporate partners a Performance Coaching Partnership. The Partnership will be designed to make coaching available to a broad base of your leaders, rather than just one-at-a-time.
Based on our initial consult, I’ll make a recommendation of what I think will suit each current situation. To discuss either option, CLICK HERE to schedule an initial discussion.
My hope is this will address my clients’ need for immediate support, across a spectrum of difficult leader moments and challenges.
It’s truly a Leader Performance Coaching Model designed to address some of the most common challenges leaders deal with, just-in-time. For example:
- You must have a difficult conversation and you don’t know what to do/say
- You have just started a new leadership role and you aren’t sure how best to get started
- You have a boss who is making decisions that are creating challenges for you and the team
- Your organization is going through a significant change
- Your team is not performing and you must diagnose why and what to do about it
To schedule a coaching consult and discuss 1:1 coaching for you OR to discuss a Performance Coaching Partnership for your team, CLICK HERE and schedule a 30-minute initial meeting. We’ll take it from there.
In the meantime, I’d love to know… which leadership preference(s) resonate most for you and why? Share this with your team of managers. Get their ideas and insights… I’d love your thoughts!!