Who comes to mind when you think of leaders? Big names associated with leadership like John Maxwell, Simon Sinek, or the late Stephen Covey? Or possibly one of the 50 people Fortune Magazine named as The World’s Greatest Leaders in 2014: Pope Francis, Warren Buffet, Bono, Ellen Kullman, or Juliana Rotich, among 45 others.
Perhaps you take a more personal approach and your high school coach, youth leader, or a college professor is the leader that stands out in your mind.
Being a great leader is not dependent on a having a particular personality. Leaders become great when they are able to capitalize on their strengths and overcome the weaknesses of their temperament. This is fantastic news because the truth is you lead in some way. You may never earn one of the coveted spots on Fortune Magazine’s Top 50 list, write an influential book, or present a TED Talk, but at the minimum you lead yourself.
When others follow, you are leading! Some leadership roles are official, others less formal. Whether you are leading yourself, parenting, or influencing your social circle – it is leadership. Overseeing a small team, a huge corporation, or a ministry – it is leadership. And how you lead will vary depending on your unique personality. Each personality type has amazing strengths as well as pesky weaknesses that can dramatically impede your effectiveness.
If you lead, why not do it more effectively? See what you can learn about the four DiSC temperaments from a few friends:
Driving Drew (D – Similar to Choleric, Lions, or Controlling)
Known for getting things done, his quick decision making skills, and ability to take charge, Driving Drew is a natural leader. If he can keep the following things in mind to tame his weaknesses there will be no stopping him!
· Remembering that not everyone is as focused on productivity as he is
· Slowing down, be gentle and delegate
· Keeping his direct and demanding approach in check
· Practicing self–control
· Taking time to relax
Influencing Izzy (I – Similar to Sanguine, Otters, or Fun-loving)
She is a sought after speaker and presenter who inspires many with her positive, impressive, and enthusiastic ways. However, without learning to do the following Influencing Izzy will struggle to maintain that same enthusiasm with those she leads:
· Talking less, listening a lot more!
· Learning to manage time and meet deadlines
· Getting more organized
· Putting more effort into being responsible and less into being popular
· Being less sensitive when rejected
Steady Steve (S- Similar to Phlegmatic, Golden Retrievers, or Peacemakers)
Everyone likes Steady Steve! He is friendly, reliable, relaxed and loyal. If he wants to thrive as a leader, there are a few areas he will need to grow in:
· Being willing to set goals and learning how to be more self-motivated
· Working on being more assertive and confident
· Facing problems by embracing conflict, change, and risk
· Being aware of when his shortcomings are causing him to be overly sensitive
· Recognizing that discipline is good
Cautious Cathy (C – Similar to Melancholy, Beavers, or Perfectionists)
She is remarkably thorough, detailed oriented, and analytical. Even with Cautious Cathy’s desire to do things right and by the book, there are few things she needs to keep in mind:
· Lightening up – being more positive, enthusiastic, and remembering that nobody’s perfect
· Concentrating on potential rather than problems
· Meeting deadlines is important
· Realizing that total support and detailed instructions are not always possible
· Paying attention to when you are giving too much information
It is not your personality type that will determine your success as a leader but rather your ability to harness your strengths and overcome your weaknesses that will make the difference. It is minimizing your flesh side and leaning into the Spirit. Some weaknesses can be challenging to work on and you will need God’s help along the way. You will mess up. And you will grow!
It is also it is unusual for someone to be just one personality type. It is much more common to have a dominant and secondary personality type. For example, you might be a dominant Driving Drew with the secondary personality type of Cautious Cathy or a D/C in DiSC temperaments. Perhaps you are a dominant Steady Steve with secondary characteristics of Influencing Izzy or S/I in DiSC. No matter what your personality combination is, how it plays out for you will be unique. God is endlessly creative. There is no one just like you!
Each personality type has strengths and weaknesses. They can’t be overlooked. If you want to inspire and cast a vision others are eager to follow, you must have the self-awareness around your personality that will enable you to play up your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. You will need God’s help to do that.
In addition to understanding your own personality, it is important that you have an understanding of the unique personality of those you lead. As a leader it is your job to adapt to those you lead, not the other way around. That means as a parent you must adapt to your children. As a leader of a team, corporation, or organization you must learn how to identify the various personalities you lead so that you can lead in a way that motivates and encourages them to do their best. That will in turn maximize your effectiveness.
Who did you identify with: Driving Drew, Influencing Izzy, Steady Steve or Cautious Cathy? What weakness if worked on would have a powerful impact on your ability to lead more effectively?
Curious about DISC and learning more about the role your personality is playing in your leadership? Click here for details.