How to Adjust One’s Leadership Style for Optimal Success

How to Adjust One’s Leadership Style for Optimal Success

Leaders come in all personality styles and have different strengths: High “Ds” are strong on execution, high “Is” are good at interacting with others, high “Ss” are consistent and steady, and high “Cs” develop great procedures and systems. Likewise, so do their team members. A strong leader must be able to “flex” or adjust their leadership style to not only lead with their own personality strengths, but also to adapt to the personality styles of their team members and the needs of the task at hand. An executive coach can help guide a leader to adjust their leadership style and become more effective through these four steps:

Expand your coaching expertise  with DISC CertificationStep 1: Raising self-awareness

By being keenly aware of their strengths, as well as the trigger points and areas they may need to work on, your client can be more productive and effective as leaders. The best way to do this is by taking the PeopleKeys 4D: DISC, TEAMS, Values, and Behavioral Attitudes Report and studying it closely in your daily interactions. Executive coaches can administer the assessment to their clients and walk through the results with them so they understand all the nuances of their personality style, thinking style, values and internal motivators.

Step 2: Building upon strengths

None of us are good at everything. By using known strengths as a foundation of one’s leadership style, you will see what areas may need growth and build a behavioral action plan so your client can not only shine as a leader, but also help their team grow. For instance:

  • The high “D” personality style can start from their strengths of setting and reaching goals, their fast decision-making skills, and willingness to take risks.
  • The high “I” personality style is strong with their enthusiasm and charm, their ability to build solid professional networks, and their natural tendency to celebrate accomplishments.
  • The high “S” personality style has amazing listening skills, patience, and the ability to create a warm, safe environment for the team.
  • The high “C” personality style is known by their ability to develop systems and procedures, fine-tuned attention to detail, and objective reasoning skills to lead the team.

Step 3: Overcoming personality limitations

Each personality style also has some limitations that can get in the way of their leadership abilities. Being aware of these “blind spots” in your personality/leadership style, and working on overcoming them, can help you communicate better with your team members, improve motivation and morale, and make your team more productive. For instance:

  • “D” personalities may want to work on showing patience, displaying sensitivity, and allowing team deliberation.
  • “I” styles may need to work on follow through, being direct, and making sure they have all the facts.
  • “S” personality types may need to work on adapting to change, confronting others, and making decisions.
  • “C” styles may need to work on delegating, compromising, and making faster decisions.

Step 4: Communicating with others based on their personality

By identifying the personality styles of their peers and team members, a strong leader can adjust accordingly in order to communicate and connect with each of them. For instance:

  • When communicating and connecting with a high “D”:
    • Be direct and concise.
    • Explain the big picture and purpose of projects.
    • Give them opportunities to work independently and set their own goals.
  • When communicating and connecting with a high “I”:
    • Let them know that you appreciate their energy and enthusiasm.
    • Let them be in the limelight.
    • When providing criticism, provide positive feedback along with it.
  • When communicating with a high “S”:
    • Allow time for small talk.
    • Clearly define your expectations.
    • Let them know they are a vital part of the team.
  • When communicating with high “C”:
    • Provide facts and supporting information.
    • Provide opportunities for independent projects.
    • Convey your expectations clearly.

If your goal is to become a leader or improve your leadership skills, or you’re coaching executives and leaders, follow the above 4-step process to help your clients adjust their leadership style and help them go to the next level of their success. See also how leaders can benefit from executive coaches with opposing DISC personalities.

Written by: Sheila Davis

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