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Which Leadership Style Fits Your Personality?

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Don't try to be like Warren Buffett if you're more Sir Richard Branson, said best-selling author Marcus Buckingham in a thought-provoking keynote address at the PMI® Global Congress 2012 -- North America.

Project professionals in leadership positions must let their personal strengths shape their unique style of management. For example, Sir Branson, head of British conglomerate Virgin, is a public figure, championing his brand. Warren Buffett, head of U.S. financial firm Berkshire Hathaway, is more of a behind-the-scenes leader.

"One leader's techniques are not transferable to another," says Mr. Buckingham. "What looks authentic with one leader looks foolish with another. People follow your authenticity. Only try techniques that fit you."

He identified nine types of leaders:

1. Advisers are invigorated by the challenge of solving others' problems.

2. Connectors align the most-qualified team members with the appropriate problem.

3. Creators ask, "What do I understand about the challenge ahead?" 

4. Equalizers are driven by commitments and ask, "What is the right thing to do?" 

5. Influencers inspire team members to action.

6. Pioneers boldly explore uncharted territory and look for ways to do things differently. 

7. Providers are concerned with team members' well-being first and foremost.

8. Stimulators raise the team's energy level.

9. Teachers are in a constant state of development, always looking to learn.

In today's world, nearly everything is customized to the individual. For proof, Mr. Buckingham pointed to social media juggernaut Facebook. At every login, its more than 1 billion users magically receive ads fit for their personalities.

Leadership development is just as unique. 

So, what kind of leader are you?

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1 Comment

I would have to characterize my leadership style primarily as that of an "equalizer" , with a measure of "influencer", and with a touch of "provider" and "stimulator", too.

By far the most prevalent characteristic of my leadership style is that of "equalizer" since I believe that leading by doing the "right thing" will ultimately result in the best course of action for individuals, teams, and organizations. Is the "right thing to do" somewhat subjective - well, I guess it is and those of us who are "equalizers" must deal with that every day. The nebulous nature of "right" notwithstanding, William Penn's quotation regarding "right" governs my professional and personal life and it's been the mantra I have lived by for many years: "Right is right no matter who is against it; wrong is wrong no matter who is for it."

I am, however, also a "provider" because I care so much about people. I lead a large organization and my actions each day are likewise governed by my concern for the people who work with me and for me. There is no true leader who does not care first and foremost for his / her people and the "right thing to do" many times is a balance between taking care of one's people and taking care of the business - sometimes not an easy thing to do without some sacrifice on one side or the other.

Finally, my leadership style is infused with elements of "influencer" & "stimulator". I am a seasoned veteran (it's been some 40 years since I attained my undergraduate degree) of the oil field, having worked in a variety of capacities for oil companies and oil field service companies, though I still have the energy, passion, dedication, and commitment to lead a large team (at least I think I do!) and to inspire those working with me and for me to action. Leaders of organizations must have the attributes of the "influencer" and "stimulator" to move a team or organization - I've not seen progressive and successful organizations flourish without leaders with these attributes.

None of us are wholly characterized by one leadership style - rather how we lead is determined by the complex interaction between the predominant styles that comprise our respective leadership make-up. It's not so much which style, or styles, you employ as it is how you adapt to the make - up of your team or organization that makes you an effective leader. "You are what you eat" - and that's OK as long as you make sure that those around you are fed and fed well each day. Brent Senette

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