Do You Have Clone Syndrome?


God is marvelously creative. The sheer beauty all around me is an indication of that! He does not make molds and pump out duplicates. Instead, He is all about variety and uniqueness. With more than 7 billion people in the world at present, it boggles my mind that each and every person is unique and distinctly different. Taking that thought one step further, every person ever created has been a one of a kind creation. That is almost too big to wrap my brain around.

The fact that we are all unique is not new news. It might even seem like I am stating the obvious. However, so often our head knowledge doesn’t get walked out in our leadership. Rather than approaching those we lead as unique and wonderful we often approach them as if they were just like us. That’s what I call Clone Syndrome.

Successful leaders are keenly aware of their own personality strengths and weaknesses and how they impact those around them. They are able to temper their less positive traits and lean into their winsome ones. They have the ability to adapt and switch up how they engage with people. They understand that everyone is a one-of-a-kind being and adjust how they communicate, motivate and lead to accommodate those differences.

The struggles that leaders face often stem from a lack of awareness when it comes to their own personality and understanding the personalities and preferences of those they lead. Increasing awareness and understanding in this area can prove invaluable for leaders at all levels: parents leading children, a CEO leading those in a large corporation, a team leader, a ministry leader, even if you are just leading YOU!

Ready to remedy your case of Clone Syndrome? Here is a quick snap shot of the four basic personality types. Keep in mind that this is a tool to help you better serve those you lead rather than a way of labeling or putting people in boxes. God has made everyone different. There is no best or better personality type. They all have strengths and they all have weaknesses. With God we will operate out of the strengths of our personality and in our flesh we will function out of our weaknesses.

See if you can spot your own personality preferences:

D- (Similar to Choleric, Lions, or Controlling)

Tends to be: Dominant, Driving, Decisive, Direct, Demanding, & Determined

Motivated by: Challenge and control

Key traits: Extroverted, task oriented and prone to take action

Responds best to leaders who: Communicate the bottom line and provide direct answers, focus and stick to task, allow freedom for personal accomplishments, provide pressure and clear deadlines.

Needs to work on: Needing people, embracing relaxation, respecting authority, operating with self-control, being more sensitive to the feelings of others and recognizing the importance of finishing well.

I – (Similar to Sanguine, Otters, or Fun-loving)

Tends to be: Inspiring, Influencing, Impressing, & Inducing

Motivated by: FUN, recognition, and approval

Key traits: Extroverted, people oriented, and prone to distraction

Responds best to leaders who: Are fair, friendly, fun, social, offers rewards for risk-taking and provide recognition for abilities and accomplishments

Needs to work on: managing time, being more realistic, embracing deadlines, being responsible more than being popular and improving listening skills.

S – (Similar to Phlegmatic, Golden Retrievers, or Peacemakers)

Tends to be: Steady, Security-oriented, Submissive, & Steady

Motivated by: Stability, support and peace

Key traits: Introverted, people oriented and quietly stubborn

Responds best to leaders who: are calm, relaxed and friendly, allow time to adjust to changes, provide support and encouragement, and let you work at your own pace.

Needs to work on: seeing changes as positive opportunities, viewing discipline as good, taking more risks, being bold, and recognizing that friendship isn’t everything

C- (Similar to Melancholy, Beavers, or Perfectionists)

Tends to be: Competent, Calculating, Cautious, & Compliant

Motivated by: Quality and correctness

Key traits: Introverted, passive, task and detailed oriented.

Responds best to leaders who: Give clear and detailed operating procedures or directions, are reassuring, are open to suggestions, and provide the necessary resources to complete a task correctly

Needs to work on: Working on their own when support isn’t possible, moving forward without detailed instructions, meeting deadlines even if everything isn’t perfect, and being optimistic.

How might you incorporate this information into your leadership? Here are a couple of examples:

As a D/C leader, a chore check list would be all I would need to get daily chores done. My sparkling I/D daughter, however, was not motivated by this approach in the least! She would find something much more fun to occupy her time before she accomplished the chores on the list. The more I tried to make my method work the more trouble we had around chores. When I switched things up and found creative ways to make chores more fun like hiding pennies, playing music and making a game of it, she eagerly responded and tackled her chores with new found enthusiasm.

A dedicated team member who served under me in my church staff position was a wonderfully warm and amazing I/S gal. She had a way of drawing people to her and making them feel heard and blessed. She radiated encouragement from head to toe! Faced with organizing, confronting issues, or details and she melted into a puddle. When we redefined her role in a way that allowed her to connect and encourage we enjoyed many more years of working together successfully.

Being a successful leader is something we all desire! The burden of adapting to others lies with the leader, not with those you serve. Stop suffering from Clone Syndrome and expecting others to be like you. Come to appreciate the beautiful diversity in the different personality types. It will make you a leader who stands out!

With the knowledge that everyone is unique, what about your leadership needs to change?

Want to explore your personality and how to work with others more effectively in greater detail? Contact me for a DISC consultation and discover your unique personality and how to work more effectively with others.

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Paha_L

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Coach, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, become free of funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.


  1. Avatar Tammy K. Johnson on September 23, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Great blog Marvae! I always love reading about personality traits and celebrating the uniqueness in each of us. Thanks for putting together a fantastic article!

    • Marvae Marvae on September 23, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Tammy! Yes, God has made us all wonderfully unique and learning how to approach others can make a tremendous difference.

  2. Avatar Sandi Hill on September 23, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Thank you for once again giving me something to think about. I really get inspired by reading your blog

    • Marvae Marvae on September 23, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Thank you so much Sandi. Your words “I really get inspired by reading your blog” are a huge blessing to me! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Avatar Angela Edwards on September 23, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Do I HAVE to say it? Alright. I will. Another great and inspirational article! *Throws up confetti* Indeed, we are a little bit of this and a little bit of that. You mapped out the different personalities to perfection. Based on this article alone, I quickly recognized myself as an I/C type. 😀 Thank you for this, Marvae! It is an on-time reminder that God is still working on my behalf…

    • Marvae Marvae on September 23, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks for the confetti! So pleased it was helpful to you Angela! Yes, God has perfectly knit you together for the unique calling He has for you! 🙂

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