Daily Archives: October 4, 2011

A Type personalities: Embracing diverse leadership styles

Its really difficult not to get angry at work if you’re an ‘A’ type personality.  The problem arises when ‘A’ type personalities assume that their behaviour is a good form of leadership.  ‘A’ type and ‘B’ Types are totally different to each other.  According to Wikipedia:

imageType A individual as ambitious, aggressive, business-like, controlling, highly competitive, impatient, preoccupied with his or her status, time-conscious, and tightly-wound. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving "workaholics" who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.

Type B individuals as perfect contrast to those with Type A personalities. People with Type B personalities are generally patient, relaxed, easy-going, and at times lacking an overriding sense of urgency. Because of these characteristics, Type B individuals are often described as apathetic and disengaged by individuals with Type A or other personality types

Often Type A’s can get confused and use their behaviour as one of the 6 leadership styles described by Daniel Goleman in his book ‘Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence’

This is the dominant ‘macho’ leadership style. It is appropriate in emergencies and severe situations, but otherwise will tend to disempower and disillusion subordinates.

Good for use when being really directional with junior managers.  Bad for motivation

This style focuses on the goal or vision of the future and inspires others to follow. This is appropriate when a new direction is required or a clarification of the goals to be achieved.

Good for getting the team or organisation back on track.  Bad for junior managers to use with experienced teams

Here there is a focus on people, teambuilding, bonding and forging alliances. This style is useful in creating teams or for healing dysfunctional relationships.

Good for building team morale and promoting collaboration.  Bad for disciplinary situations

This is a useful style to adopt when attempting to involve a wide range of people in decision making or building a consensus.

Good for creativity and flexibility. Bad for giving direction and structured leadership

Using this style, the leader sets an example by working to extremely high standards of performance. This is useful to raise the stakes when a competent and motivated team is working well.

Good for self motivated employees.  Bad for workers who see the role as ‘just a job’

This style focuses on helping to improve people’s strengths, and is especially useful in building skills to develop managers and future leaders.

Good for people focused on self development.  Bad for workers resistant to change.

None of these leadership styles are the ‘right style’, nor are they a function of the ‘A’ or ‘B’ type personality.  These styles can be adopted and used in different situations – although the styles that your leader will choose often depends on their underlying type personality.

When you have an ‘A’ type personality managing a team and operating in the Coercive, Authoritative or Pacesetting leadership styles, conflict can often arise.  A types can by hypercritical of other leadership styles that involve different types of personalities .

They want to take over and do the task / project / job themselves.

When working in teams with B type personalities, they become frustrated, critical and often start political factions to divide and disrupt team working.  They can team up with other A types to criticise B types on the team.

When this happens you need to move into Affiliative and coaching modes, supporting the B types and coaching the A types to recognise that leaders are not always A types and helping them to understand the differences between A types and B types and how best to work together in a diverse team. 

Its not an easy path to follow, working with people who work completely differently to you but as a manager or a leader, you will get significantly better results if you embrace the diversity of thought and styles in your team and use it to your best advantage

Poor leaders hire only in their own image.  And this clone like behaviour can ultimately destroy an organisation…

Worth bearing in mind next time you get frustrated with your colleagues isn’t it?…

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image credit: Flickr