Do You Have Clone Syndrome?


What in the world is Clone Syndrome? Well, that’s what I call it when leaders treat their people as if they were just like them without taking into account that everyone is unique! Everyone’s personality is different.

God is marvelously creative. The sheer variety of beauty all around me confirms that! He doesn’t make molds and pump out duplicates. Instead, He is all about creating one-of-a-kind amazing human beings.

With nearly 8 billion people in the world at present, it boggles my mind that each and every person is 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.

Personalities Are All Unique

The fact that we are all unique is not new news. It might even seem like I am stating the obvious. However, sometimes our head knowledge doesn’t match up with the way we lead. Rather than approaching those we lead as unique and different; we often approach them as if they were just like us. That’s Clone Syndrome at its worst!

Successful leaders are keenly aware of their own personality strengths and weaknesses as well as how they impact those around them. They are able to temper their negative traits and lean into their positive ones. When they engage with others, they have the ability to adapt to the personality of those they are interacting with. They understand that everyone is a one-of-a-kind being and adjust how they communicate, motivate, and operate to accommodate those differences.

The challenges that leaders face often stem from a lack of awareness and understanding of their own personality. Add that to the inability to appreciate how the people they lead have different personalities resulting in perspectives other than theirs. Increasing awareness and understanding in this area is invaluable for leaders at all levels: parents leading their children, a CEO leading in a large corporation, a team leader in an organization, a ministry leader, or if you are just leading YOU like many business owners or solopreneurs!

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 people or putting them in boxes. God has made everyone different. One personality or behavioral style is not better than another. They all have strengths and they all have weaknesses. With God we operate out of the strengths of our personality. In our flesh, we will function out of our weaknesses.

See if you can spot your own personality preferences:

Did you also spot the individuals on your team?

Remember, Personalities Are Unique!

Rarely are people all “Driving Drew” or all “Influencing Izzy”. It would be nice if it was that straightforward, but it’s far more common for people to have a dominant personality or behavioral style with a secondary behavioral style. For example, you might be an S/C (Steady Steve, dominant and Cautious Cathy, secondary).

And just for the record, a leader can be any combination of behavioral styles and successfully lead – it just looks different!

How might you apply this information as a leader? Here are a few examples from my own experience:

Example #1

As a D/C parent, 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.

Example #2

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 parents, we enjoyed many more years of working together successfully.

Example #3

Being determined is a big part of who I am as a D/C leader. That determination has served me well except when I have expected S/I or S/C folks to take on challenges that are outside their comfort zone or area of expertise. You see, “S” individuals are specialists. They typically like to find something they excel at and keep doing that better and better – they go deep! As a D, I tend to go wide! I like learning a wide variety of things and take on new challenges. I have to be careful to not spread myself too thin, and my “S” counterparts need to find small ways to stretch themselves, but not operate the way I do or they will get overwhelmed. Understanding the differences makes all the difference in my expectations of the Steady Steve’s on my team and the work I ask them to do.


It’s easy to try and lead the way so-and-so is does it, but leading authentically in a way that plays to your personalities strengths and minimizes your weaknesses will ultimately serve you best!

And don’t forget to take personality into account for the individuals on your team! And remember, you are appealing to a variety of personalities outside your organization too! The people you want to attract to your products, services, etc.!

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 expecting others to be like you and suffering from Clone Syndrome. When you come to appreciate the beautiful diversity the different personality types have to offer, it you’ll be a leader that stands out!

How will you change the way you lead with the knowledge of behavioral styles in mind?

Want to explore your personality and how to work with others more effectively in greater detail? Eager to see the behavioral styles that make up your team? Schedule a consultation now to learn more about the DISC assessment and how it might benefit you.

This blog has been revised and updated just for you!

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Paha_L

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate 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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