We often get asked which of the Talent Dynamics profiles are the best leaders. On the surface the answer might seem very easy. Of course, the Supporters. Given their people focus, blaze energy, and extroverted action dynamics, Supporters are best at leading teams and organisations as they bring others together and motivate them to be their best naturally building collaboration, trust and loyalty critical for sustained high performance.
High profile Supporters, such as GE’s Jack Walsh, eBay’s Meg Whitman or Microsoft’s Steve Balmer, have shown how much they can accomplish if they put their talent at work.
This natural talent, however, doesn’t give Supporters a monopoly on leadership. Everyone can be a leader. Businesses are complex ecosystems and different talents come handy at different times and in different situations. All profiles can bring a valuable perspective and energy that can be used to build performance and increase flow depending on the teams focus, task at hand, nature and stage of business or season of the economic cycle.
Let me give you a few ideas about how to make the best use of the leadership potential of the other seven profiles (apart from the Supporter) in the team or businesses context.
Creators might not be the best people-people or data-driven analysts, but they lead best by setting the vision and a high standard to reach for. Being task focused to start things they lead others to reach their goals. They are best at the helm of new projects and initiatives, thinking out of the box and out of the ordinary. They are the best initiators and pioneers.
Stars are fast and often don’t wait for their team to catch up or bother with the details, but they will give energy and credibility to new ideas, projects, programs or strategies through the power of their personality. They can improvise while leading upfront to build and maintain excitement, momentum and buy in when it matters. They are the best promoters.
Deal Makers are true people’s people, but they are more private than a Star or Supporter, and prefer to work one-to-one. They bring people and opportunities together and lead best when they are able to be in constant conversation whilst listening closely to what is happening around them. They are the best connectors and negotiators of win-win solutions.
Traders thrive when they can build and grow a connection with their team or customers. They might be paralysed when facing a blank sheet to fill, or strategy to create, but will quickly make sense of what is going on around them. They lead best when immersed in daily action, when timing is of essence and when they have ongoing input from their environments and people to inform their decision-making. They are the best operations leaders and excel as hands-on troubleshooters.
Accumulators are excellent project managers given their analytical skills and sense of timing. They are reliable and will find the way to deliver what is needed on time. However, they have little interest in and are ill equipped to handle office politics. Accumulators lead best when a well defined task or project needs to be accomplished and when the detail and risk management are critical for success. They are the best planners, and project and risk managers.
Lords are great at finding inefficiencies because they patiently track data, analyse the detail and strive to stay in control. For this reason, Lords are best at leading through the numbers instead of through conversation and collaboration. Lords almost always value process and policy over people, and are great at providing leadership when resources and finances are tight and success requires efficiency and precision. They are the best data-driven analytics and efficiency leaders.
Mechanics constantly look for improvements and as a result they are continually challenging the status quo on the way things are done. This can be very stimulating for some, and very frustrating for others. The best way to for them to lead people is to make it easy for others to collaborate and perform indirectly, not through motivation but by perfecting the underlying processes, procedures and systems. They are the best systematisers, improvers and finishers.
If you currently experience frustration or ineffectiveness of leadership in your team or business, it might be that you are trying to put a square peg into a round hole. As businesses and demands evolve so will the need for the appropriate leadership. Chances are that you will not need to re-organise the whole team or organisation. For a start, just notice whose talent can help most with the task or challenge at hand and provide them a space to contribute it at the right occasion. Build from small opportunities, for instance, just allowing the right person to lead a meeting or spearheading a project – and then expand from there. The reward will be a more resilient and better performing team as well as increased engagement and flow of everyone in it.