Want to Become a Better Leader? Try This New Strategy

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In the United States, leadership skills seem to be valued more highly than in many other nations. The ability to take responsibility, take charge, and ultimately make or break a team or organization is a high-risk, high-reward paradigm, and Americans gravitate toward those who demonstrate it. It’s likely rooted in our self-reliant, individualistic outlook — something that comes in contrast to the values of other western nations. Either way, the ability to lead and take ownership is one that is prized, and developing leadership skills is something that make an average employee much more valuable.

And for those of you entering the new year with resolutions to improve yourself, get a raise or promotion, and earn more money and respect, why not work on becoming a better leader? You can use tactics from some of history’s more infamous names, like Genghis Khan, or you can adopt a more refined method.

One of those methods takes the form of a personality test derived by the Eastern Nazarene College, which may be an easy way to determine if you have a solid foundation for becoming an effective leader. “The workforce is full of a spectra of personalities, however thanks to the DiSC Assessment, four behavioral profiles stand out,” a briefing from the school says.

“Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance prompted the study’s acronym to feature the profiles within its very own name, and while people will exhibit a mix of each of the four, most of us are particularly ‘high’ in one or two areas.”

Basically, this test examines the way in which people behave under certain circumstances, which typically conforms to one of the four archetypes. Each archetype, or profile, has associated behaviors — think loud, direct, and emotionally detached for those under the ‘dominate’ archetype — that helps classify each individual. For example, Eastern Nazarene’s release slots Steve Jobs under the ‘dominate’ category, Deepak Chopra under ‘compliance’, and Marissa Meyer under ‘steadiness’.

You can review in further detail each individual archetype for yourself, as each profile comes with a list of associated behaviors as laid out by Eastern Nazarene. What we really want to get at is this: how can a personality test, or template, such as this help you become a better leader?

According to the briefing, understanding each archetype or profile, and where your personality fits in on the scale, can help you approach everyday, routine tasks and interactions. Knowing your profile will shed light onto your strengths and weaknesses, and provide some insight into how you can become more effective at communicating and leading coworkers or employees. Also, understanding where other people fit on the scale can help you interact with them more effectively.

Here’s an example, for those who find themselves as “influencers”:

“Influencers shape the environment by persuasion. They are motivated by social recognition, group activities and relationships. While they may tend to turn work events into social gatherings and are eager to talk, influencers may jump from subject to subject or take longer than most to get the point across.”

With that information in-hand, here’s how you would approach an ‘influencer’:

“Communication with “high Is” should be through engaged listening while keeping them on task. Put details in writing, and deliver praise publicly. Help them improve by working on follow-through, speaking candidly and staying focused for long periods.”

It’s relatively simple; analyze people’s personalities through their behaviors and attitudes, and adjust your leadership strategies and communication in a ways so that they will be the most responsive. You can also do this for yourself — what type of personality do you have? Try manipulating the way you interact with others and your surroundings so that you get the most out of every engagement.

It’s likely a very different strategy for most people, but if you’re serious about finding ways to build your leadership skills, this is a good way to get started.

Again — leadership skills are something American employers tend to value, and whether you’re looking to move up the ladder, or simply make the most out of every interaction with your coworkers, friends, or family, using Eastern Nazarene’s strategy can be of some use.

Follow Sam on Facebook and Twitter @SliceOfGinger

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