The Secret Skill of Effective Leaders
- Steve Williamson, VP Digital Marketing and Content, eRep, Inc.
- Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Do leaders need power-based personalities to be effective? Is a domineering style required to succeed in positions of leadership? We unlock the secret skill great leaders embrace that sets them apart.
Too Much Advice?
There are many opinions, theories, maxims and pontifications for what makes someone a great leader. We've read about the habits of highly successful people. Motivational speakers have a long list of things we need to start doing and things we need to stop doing and if we're not waking up by 4:30 AM, we're doomed to fail.
How much of this advice is true, how much is false, and how much is as useful as mittens for snakes?
Apart from the myriad bits of advice from so called experts and influencers, many on social media (including, we confess, @erep_com over on Twitter) like to point out the characteristics of what makes a good (or bad) leader. This can include empathy, direction, flexibility, focus, and others.
Many of these things are true. It's challenging to be a good leader if you don't demonstrate adequate amounts of genuine empathy, a sense of direction, flexibility to handle the craziness that comes your way, and a persistent sense of focus on what matters.
There are even questions about whether great leaders are born or if great leadership can be taught.
But we've identified a secret skill that anyone can learn to help them become a more effective leader. Notice we described it as a skill, not a trait. This isn't something you either have or you don't — it's not something you must be born with or forever be relegated to the group who says, "I'm just not a natural born leader, apparently."
Let's start with some basic assumptions that every leader should know and understand.
First, the needs of your team vary based on their function, their role in the organization, and above all, their individual personalities.
Anyone who has led a team of software developers knows that herding cats is easier.
Leading bookkeepers will be different than heading up a team of graphic designers or a roofing crew or a squad of community organizers. The approach will be different. The style will vary. Communications will be conducted in a different manner.
Even down to the level of each individual on your team, your method of leadership should be specific to the personality and needs of that particular person.
As you can tell, leadership requires a great deal of flexibility.
Remember this mantra: "Semper Gumby — always flexible."
The trick to making the flexibility in your leadership style become truly effective is knowing what each person on your team needs from you.
You can be more flexible than a Cirque du Soleil™ acrobat and still miss the mark.
You must know and understand the specific requirements and preferences of each individual you lead based on their particular Core Values Index™ psychometric profile.
We Are All Individuals
If someone on your team has a CVI psychometric profile of Banker/Builder, for instance, everything about the way you lead them should be informed and guided by their particular preferences and way of operating in the world. It will shape how you communicate: what, when, and how. You should even understand the reasons why they work best with a particular communication style.
Before you do any of that, however, take the CVI yourself and get to know your own psychometric profile. Learn about the lens through which you see the world and how your innate hardwiring dictates how you prefer to function.
The CVI defines and describes your human operating system.
What Is Your Blueprint?
Your CVI profile is the blueprint for how you like to communicate, the kind of activities you prefer and the ones that will make you procrastinate. It will even describe your default and automatic reactions to conflict and the ways you will respond.
Understanding yourself and the lens through which you see the world will help you be better prepared for the flexibility you'll need when leading others. You'll know where you currently stand psychologically so that you can learn how to foster and empower the psychology of your team.
The skill you need is to understand the fundamentals of how the CVI works, the ways it describes the personalities of yourself and others, and then use that knowledge to shape your leadership and communication style to the needs of each person on your team.
Here's how you get started:
- Know yourself. Take the CVI if you haven't already.
- Know your team. Get each member of your team to complete their own CVI assessment.
- Get educated. Schedule a CVI Foundations Course so you and your team are up to speed efficiently and effectively on how to use the CVI for top performance.
And remember, Semper Gumby.
Core Values Index™ and CVI™ are trademarks of Taylor Protocols, Inc.
Go to eRep.com/core-values-index/ to learn more about the CVI or to take the Core Values Index assessment.
Innovator/Banker - VP Digital Marketing and Content, eRep, Inc.
Steve has a career in project management, software development and technical team leadership spanning three decades. He is the author of a series of fantasy novels called The Taesian Chronicles (ruckerworks.com), and when he isn't writing, he enjoys cycling, old-school table-top role-playing games, and buzzing around the virtual skies in his home-built flight simulator.
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