If we had to pick one word to represent what the Guardian values, it would be STABILITY. A Guardian knows it’s essential to forge a solid foundation before building anything skyward. And when it comes to how the Guardian does things, many aspects of their working style serve to establish and maintain such stability. They’re methodical, careful, disciplined, meticulous, and exacting. (How else to ensure a foundation is sound?) Guardians believe it’s important to follow a structured process when completing a task, and they like a bit of structure in their work environments and meetings too.
Do you think of leaders as outgoing, sometimes larger-than-life individuals who command attention? If so, you may have a hard time seeing an introvert as a good leader. And those misconceptions may be stopping you from promoting some of your best and most talented employees.
While some people may view being quiet and reserved as a leadership weaknesses, an introvert’s ability to be a thoughtful listener can help them be successful in strategic roles.
Learn more about recognizing the unique advantages of introvert leaders and the strengths they offer their organizations in this new article published by Multibriefs “Can an introvert be a good leader?“
“They’re integral in making sure decisions are well thought out, but rarely does that research and information get distributed.”
Business Chemistry in the C-suite research suggests that individuals of all types aspire to lead, but Pioneers and Drivers are more likely than Guardians and Integrators to have such aspirations. When we asked more than 13,885 professionals across various organizational levels to select their top career aspirations, 68% of Drivers and 67% of Pioneers included leader, compared to 50% of Guardians and 51% of Integrators. So, what do these types value beyond leadership roles?
Guardians and Integrators have some other strong aspirations, which may contribute to their being less likely to choose a leadership path, and their lower representation in the C-suite. Our research found that 50% of Guardians aspire to be top performers, 46% to be team players, 37% to be experts, and 36% to be mentors. And, 48% percent of Integrators aspire to be team players and 40% to be mentors.
Leaders should consider the unique strengths of Guardians and Integrators and their value behind the scenes to build strong, diverse teams. Download the full study.
I recently saw a TED talk that fascinated me, Itay Talgam’s much-watched “Lead Like the Great Conductors”.1 During his talk, Talgam, a conductor and business consultant, expertly weaves the conductor-orchestra metaphor through a discussion of leadership as could be applied to any team. As a former orchestra flutist, what really struck me about this talk was that it’s a fantastic illustration of one of the main tenets of Business Chemistry, that each of us is a unique combination of all four types, and it’s our ability to flex between these styles that may be our greatest strength as leaders. Indeed, research shows that great leaders use a variety of styles, depending on the situation, to get results.2
Consider the responsibilities of a conductor: define the tone and set the tempo, unify 100 independent musicians while bringing out the best in each performer, provide real-time performance feedback, and create an experience for the audience. How do conductors achieve all this…without a saying a word? Talgam guides us through a tour of the leadership styles of some of the world’s greatest conductors, and explores the possible pitfalls of leaning too heavily on one style.
One of my favorite things about teaching Business Chemistry to teams is myth-busting. And one of the most common myths we need to bust is that Pioneers are “good” at change and no one else is. Now, it may be true that Pioneers are naturally more comfortable with change, or that they even relish it more than the other types. And it may also be that their adaptable natures make it a bit easier on them. But, thinking through the strengths and challenges of each type reveals that they all have something important to contribute in times of change, and also that they all may need a bit of help adjusting, in one way or another. So if you’ve got a big change coming, or you’re in the middle of one right now, keep the following in mind.
Continue reading “Business Chemistry matters when change is afoot…”
An old maxim cautions: “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.” We live in a world where feedback is unavoidable. And for most of us who deliver feedback to others, our default tendency is to give praise or constructive criticism in the way we like to hear it.
The trouble is, taking a universal approach to communicating with others works to our detriment. When we use a “standard template” for conveying praise or corrective advice, we’re practically inviting misunderstandings and broken trust. Just imagine the aftermath of giving hard-hitting feedback–with little context–to your most sensitive but reliable worker. More than just hurt feelings, we can actually distract a person from our main message with an ill-chosen delivery!
Unclear objectives. Scope creep. Cost overruns. Many of the reasons that projects fail seem painfully obvious. And yet there’s a less noticeable offender that can lead teams to take rash shortcuts, ignore the facts, or worse, mistake their overconfidence for boldness.
I’m talking about our failure to actively seek out and consider perspectives different from our own.
You might have guessed that perspective-taking is something we promote enthusiastically in Business Chemistry. After all, minimal variation of thought can lead to groupthink…which can steer a team right into a place of dysfunctional conformity. And we’re not only talking about encouraging people to exchange perspectives; but about using targeted strategies to do so. Academic research supports this recommendation: perspective-taking has been shown to simultaneously improve creativity1 and reduce favoritism within a team2. And beyond fostering more cooperative workplace behaviors3, taking others’ perspectives into account has been linked to better team coordination4 and improved conflict management5.
You and I don’t know each other. And yet, I’m pretty sure we have something important in common. And further, what you and I have in common we also share with leaders of all kinds, politicians, sales reps, and my 10-year-old son. What might that be, you ask? We all spend a lot of time and energy trying to influence others.
What we may not share are the strategies we most commonly use in our influence attempts. I tend toward supporting my point of view with evidence and data. My son, on the other hand, has perfected the strategy of wearing people down through relentless requests.
Depending on your Business Chemistry type, some influence strategies may be more natural for you and some more of a stretch. While there is power in focusing on your strengths, there is also evidence that when it comes to influence, using more strategies is better, so it probably pays to work on adding some of the stretch strategies to your arsenal.1
Several weeks ago Dr. Suz wrote about the decision-making styles of the Business Chemistry types. Now, Kim Christfort, leader of Deloitte’s Leadership Center for Clients and the US Greenhouses, has been interviewed by Retail Leader Magazine about the same topic. In the article Decisions, Decisions Kim was asked “What are the traits and factors, both internal and external, that allow CEOs to make good decisions?”
Kim explained that different approaches are appropriate in different situations and outlined how each of the four Business Chemistry types can bring value. “A company that needs to effect a massive transformation and follow a bold new vision might benefit from Pioneer characteristics, while a company that’s highly creative might need Guardian characteristics to help keep it on track…” She went on to say “A company that’s facing rapid growth and disruption, that needs to make tough decisions and execute quickly, might benefit from Driver characteristics, while a company that’s trying to appeal to new customer segments might need Integrator characteristics to help it relate.”
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I recently wrote about how to recognize each of the Business Chemistry types, with their approach to decision-making being among the clues that can help.
- Guardians prefer a systematic approach to thoroughly assessing detailed information
- Pioneers go with their gut and have a high tolerance for risk
- Integrators seek input from others and are open to changing their minds
- Drivers value strong, logic-based analysis and calculated risk
Each of these is a reasonable way to approach decisions–there is no right way. And combining these approaches–making decisions in a diverse team–can be a great way to combat some of the cognitive biases, or decision-making traps, that sometimes lead us to make faulty decisions.