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DT’s Tower: A Team Without A Supporter

We don’t live in an ideal world do we?  On paper (and the Talent Dynamics square) it would seem to be a simple matter of getting a Supporter to lead your team productively, ensuring everyone was doing the things they most enjoyed, inspiring them and delegating new tasks effectively.

So what happens when there is no Supporter, not even as a secondary profile?  If the Supporter is the natural team leader, with their focus on people and relationships, its opposite profile, the Lord (with a focus on spreadsheets and structure) must be seen as the worst team leader. Right?

A Lord leading Creators

As I’ve mentioned previously… I’m a Lord (and yes, spreadsheets, flowcharts and numbers is where my mind naturally goes) and I lead a team of Creators.  Not a Supporter in sight but as a team we work well together and certainly find our flow. Structurally and creatively 🙂

This has got me thinking about how this works and what can be learned from it.  A core principle of Talent Dynamics is that the path to Flow is based on your natural talents.  What comes easily to you.  And by layering different talents together in a team you should be able to cover all potential situations.

Change What You Do, Not Who You Are

So the answer to the Lord leading a team isn’t by acting as a Supporter.  That takes me right out of Flow.  What puts me into Flow is information and structure.  So this is how I can help the team, I can effortlessly shape and relay the information so the Creators can concentrate on creating what is needed as efficiently and as accurately as possible.  Where Creators might float around a bit(!) working out what needs to be done, who needs to do it and by when I can help impose a structure (but not too much… they are Creators after all) that helps provide boundaries through organisation and project management.

Yet that is not all that the team needs.  And this is where there have been struggles.  Creators crave significance.  They don’t (always) need their ego stroking but they do need to feel that what they are doing has an impact.  As a Lord, heavy on the detail and big on the numbers I can lack the warmth of a Supporter (read: my highest praise is a nod of satisfaction with a bullet point list of feedback on what could be improved) so I needed to think hard on how to ensure the team gets what they need.

A Final Challenge

I’m still working on it! (I am a Lord after all) What I have come up with so far is to ensure that each team member has their own ‘area’,  a little fiefdom where they can take the action that they feel needs to be taken (using their initiative to best effect) and can immediately see the benefits of what they are doing (boosting their significance).

Yet Creators can often leave chaos in their wake, so I lean on my high Tempo energy to ensure that they know they can talk to me (one to one obviously) and together we can fix the problem in the long term (they’ll have already jury rigged something) and I can tweak the detail to ensure it isn’t likely to happen again.

A final thing that I am trying to do is lean on my Steel energy to tell ‘the story of the numbers’ behind their actions.  Using quirky visuals and plenty of colour they will be able to see what they are doing is having a significant impact and give them ideas of what can be done next (without boring them with black and white figures).  Thus starting the cycle again.

I just have to try hard to ignore their desks…


Featured image courtesy of Glenn Pebley

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