This past year we engaged a behavioral consultant (Dr. Charles Coker- link to his website HERE) at our office to develop personality profiles to help us understand each other better. This process has been a real eye opener and has resulted in significant self-realization for our team and has helped us to really know each other and how we are wired differently. I have been amazed at how this process has helped unify our group. It’s like advancing the clock ahead several years! What I’ve realized is that we often misread each other. The reality is that we all see the world through a different lens. It’s really fascinating stuff!
My personality profile was no a big surprise for me. I have a strong desire to be organized, orderly, successful, follow the rules, and put others first. I have very strong empathy for others. Dr. Coker called it a servant leader profile (again no real surprise to me). However, Dr. Coker cautioned me that my profile makes me susceptible to being taken advantage of, and not holding others accountable.
I think the classic leader profile is a driver. A leader is perceived as “strong” when they push hard and take no prisoners. They know what they want and they figure out a way to get it. They focus only on results. They may leave wreckage in the road, but they get there. The ends justify the means.
I also believe that the typical servant leader profile may be viewed as weak leader. A person who cares about others first and may take an entirely different route to get to the finish line. A person who may motivate and finesse instead of confront and order. A person who is concerned about collateral damage. A person who knows that life continues after the goal is reached. Is this really a weak leader?
How can you put others first and still be an effective leader? Is this leading from behind? Are you weak when you care about others? Can your perceived weakness actually be your strength?
I think it can. Remember, life is not a single battle or accomplishment. You may make it to the finish line using the whip, but they will remember how they were treated, and next time they may not respond. Eventually, the horse may throw you off! If your team trusts you and you can help them visualize the goal, they will march with you to the ends of the earth. They will accomplish the extraordinary. I’ve experienced this first hand!
So if I’m seen as weak or soft, I am OK with it. I still believe in myself, but I truly believe in my team. I care for each of them. They will always come first. I cannot separate the goal from the team. They will always be my focus. They will always be my strength!