wednesdays with wayne Oct 19, 2016

Which way do YOU tilt?

We each have preferences.  When I bring my hands together and interlace my fingers, I prefer my left thumb on top.  (Now you try!)  I don’t happen to like chicken on my pizza.  And I lean toward being more inspirational than operational when I lead.

You’re reading this because you’re a leader.  Whether you’re a parent, someone on a team, or in front of an organization, you’ve got people who look to you.  You’re a role model – directly or indirectly – and that makes you a leader.  

So the question is this – what is your preferred leadership style?  The spectrum runs essentially from someone who thinks more tactically and operationally through to someone who thinks strategically and serves inspirationally.  Do you find yourself developing lists for the sake of getting things done?  Or maybe you’re the person who likes lists to keep you organized and grounded because your style is really one of thinking in terms of possibilities.

As a DynamicLeader® (see for more info), developing your lesser preferred style is essential.  

The Operational/Tactical leader is someone who gets things done, step-by-step.  If this is you, you’ll make lists, you’ll see what’s next, and you’ll work to have everything in place to make your part of the larger puzzle work.  If you’re the leader of the organization, you may have difficulty delegating and you might end up micro-managing because… hey… who can do the things you do the way you do them anyway, right?  

Stop it.

Use your strengths of organization and understanding of the stepwise completion of tasks (complete with dependencies timed out and gate-checks in place) to your advantage by coordinating and communicating.  You will get more done when you’re side-by-side completing your projects and, you need to keep the Big Why in front of you for balance.

The task itself doesn’t have meaning.  Completing the task list gives you a sense of accomplishment AND to get some balance, you’ll want to look to why what you’re doing matters.  

(For those of you who are familiar with my first book, Choosing Your Power, you’ll notice that this is the exception to using the word Why and it’s quite essential here.)  Exploring the value of something gives that thing meaning.  Your tasks give you a sense of accomplishment when you cross them off your list.  They mean even more when you realize that your work builds toward a greater cause.

And that’s where the Strategic/Inspirational style kicks in.  

If the task and project thing is fine, but you’re the type that wants to oversee the bigger picture and let others check stuff off of their lists, you’re probably the Strategic/Inspirational type.  For you, the Vision is the whole reason you wake up and show up.  You look to the future knowing that things will fall in place essentially because of the path you’re on.  

By holding the Vision in front of yourself and in front of others, you serve to inspire.  People gravitate toward you because you have a sense of direction.  You might be the type to see how pieces of an organization come together or you might have an almost intuitive sense about the way people will engage with each other and the organization.  

You prefer to look at the big picture and where you might need some help is in looking at (or completing) tasks that seem menial.  Completing reports for someone else’s review seems like it distracts you from keeping your eye on what’s possible.

And so… both types work.  In actuality, we are all a little of both.  The thing is, we have preferences.  We have strengths and we have what I call “not-so-strengths.”  Our work is to take inventory about what strengths we have and to build and develop the areas we’re not so strong in.  (I don’t think in terms of weaknesses; I believe that we just haven’t developed certain styles.)  

With practice, you’ll be able to clasp your hands together and have your left thumb on top, open them, and then re-clasp with your right thumb on top.  Sure the preference is still there; the ability to flex as needed is where your true strength lies.

And that’s the bottom line.  In my latest #1 Best-Seller, The Significance FactorChapter 2 holds a quiz you can take to determine what kind of leader you are.  From there, by building flexibility into your style, you develop a more fully integrated approach to your work and your life.

So which way do you tilt?  Are you more Strategic/Inspirational or are you more Operational/Tactical?  And, given how you self-identify, what work do you have to do to build flexibility and balance?  Let me know what thumb is on top, what you like on your pizza, and what kind of a leader you are.  Comment here


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