Team Development

Leadership

11 Leadership Styles That Shape A Winning Organization

Building and shaping the culture of an organization begins with the behavior of the leaders. When leaders are behaviorally smart, and understand their leadership and communication style, they are more likely to set the kind of example they want everyone to follow.

There is no one leadership style fits all. The key, through self-awareness, is to find the balance that works with the teams you lead.

The Fast-Paced Leader

A leader who is fast paced, logical, challenging and tends to be critical may well deliver results, but can damage the talent they are responsible for leading. This style of leadership births a culture of stress, staff turnover and unwillingness to want to work under their leadership.

The Analytical Leader

The analytical, systematic, rigid, work by the rules, style of leadership may be a gatekeeper in terms of the processes of the organization, but can shut down innovation, spontaneity and the kind of creative approach to decision making required when things go wrong. This inflexible and rigid style of leadership does not inspire a culture of shared goals, thoughts and ideas.

The Skeptical Leader

In today’s rapidly changing market, businesses need innovation to survive. A skeptical leader who is not open to ideas, continually questions, is guarded and fails to build trust with their teams, will not create the kind of innovative culture that breeds success. Finding a successful balance between trust and a healthy skepticism that protects the business is tough.

The Competitive Leader

Similarly, leaders whose focus is solely on results, who is very competitive and wants always to be the one who sets the agenda, can push teams too hard to achieve goals. If these leaders see targets slipping away they can become manipulative and assume a driven style of leading that causes teams to crash and burn. This approach leads to a toxic culture – very difficult to recover from.

The Peoples Leader

Leaders who are highly people focused and expressive, can inspire passion and purpose, but if this style of leadership is not based on a foundation of a clearly articulated vision and mission, the culture they create is one of chaos and confusion – but fun. Leaders such as this need strong boundaries and need to learn to focus on one goal at a time.

The Risk-Taking Leader

Some leaders are comfortable with taking risks. They know their limitations and are comfortable with managing failure. However, when risk taking leads to over confidence, leaders will cut corners placing the business in jeopardy. Further, team members assume the culture of risk extends to them. This can lead to outlier behavior as they take inappropriate risk that undermines the organization.

The Creative Leader

The highly creative leader embraces new ideas, can be quite abstract in their thinking and open to imaginative approaches to decision making. However, such creative ideas need to have value, they can’t be random as this leads to a culture of anything goes. Creativity in leadership works when it’s part of a culture that is sensitive to teams, colleagues and the overall needs of the business.

The Cooperative Leader

Not many organizations survive on a cooperative style of decision making. When a leader is seen to be compliant others very quickly take advantage of them. They may well be able to communicate the vision and encourage input from teams, but without their own understanding of how to be behaviourally smart, this style of leaderships leads to the loudest voice getting their way. Further, it can lead to a culture of frustration as the leader seeks everyone’s opinion before making a call.

The Reserved Leader

Generally, the reserved, reflective leader tends to be a loner. They do not have an open-door policy and can be withdrawn. This style of leadership breeds a culture of suspicion and can lead to more outgoing team members driving the culture and making decisions that are inappropriate. However, when the leader understands the importance of building relationships, this style of leader is likely to be much more accurate in their instructions. They prefer to get things right first time and will reflect and focus on this.

The Patient Leader

When a leader is overly understanding and tolerant there will always be others who will take advantage of this. A culture of leniency will prevail and mistakes will be repeated leading to frustration and discontent from team members. Generally, this leader tries to create a culture of stability, believing that everyone will function more effectively within the environment. This approach only works when everyone has knowledge of each other’s preferred environment for working, otherwise the culture will be too relaxed.

The Spontaneous Leader

Spontaneity challenges many people who prefer leadership to be structured and predictable. A spontaneous leader creates a culture of impulsiveness and lack of planning and forethought. Spontaneity panics some people and can lead to disruption and stress in the workplace.

A Leader who can create a successful organization culture will not only understand their own natural behavior and how to manage it, they will invest time gaining insight into the behaviors of their teams. When they achieve this balance, the culture they create looks like this:

  • There is a shared vision – communicated in a way that everyone feels valued in role for delivering it
  • There are high levels of personal confidence
  • Everyone has a can-do attitude
  • Teams collectively look for solutions
  • The leaders listen to other ideas and suggestions
  • The individuals feel motivated
  • Attrition is low
  • There are clear goals and everyone knows where they fit in delivering them
  • Success is shared
  • Trust goes both ways
  • There are quantifiable measurable outcomes that demonstrate the culture of the organization
We Cant Agree on Anything.

We Can’t Agree On Anything

Nothing is more exasperating than watching a group of smart, qualified, intelligent executives deliberate about a key strategy, and fail to reach an agreement. In frustration, the team turns to the CEO to make the decision. Yet this is counterproductive, as whatever the CEO decides, some of the team will resent – and that resentment leads to a lack of a commitment to delivering an outcome.

It’s even more frustrating when attempting to reach a forward-thinking strategic plan for the business.

How you might ask, can this be so? These people are our leaders. They set the direction of the organization. We rely on them to make sensible decisions that can impact our careers. So, how come they are in disarray?

The CEO, after a few attempts to reach an agreement, called in a DNA Behavior facilitator to oversee the discussions.

These are just a few questions that went through my head as I watched, incredulous, as a significant group of executives began the process of planning for the next stage of the company’s direction.

As I sat to one side and observed their interaction, it was clear the room was heavy with bias, one-upmanship, egotism, and overconfidence pitched against compliance, indifference, and timidity. The assertive ones held their ground. The more vocal got louder. And the reflective and thoughtful seemed to be brooding.

Nothing was being resolved. Every stake put in the ground took the team further away from making decisions.

The DNA Behavior Solution

Each member of the team completed the Communication DNA Discovery Process, an assessment predominantly focused on revealing individual communication styles. Patterns quickly emerged showing the relationship gaps and areas where communication was breaking down, and why.

Independent research shows that Communication DNA leads to solving 87% of business issues, which are hidden as they are communication-related.

Once the team understood how their communication style was getting in the way of bringing their talent and behavioral smarts to the table, outcomes began to change.

As the Goal Setting individuals encouraged input from the Information and Stability individuals and the Lifestyle individuals used their approach to encourage everyone of the importance to reach a solution – suddenly everyone felt they had a voice. And rather than chaos, a solid structure began to take shape.

The team was then able to focus on their task. Egos, bias, and intolerance were replaced with listening, acknowledging input, and intelligent suggestions – a lively, but meaningful debate.

CDNA

As the task proceeded, the Lifestyle individuals suggested a flow chart to capture ideas. The Information individuals populated the flow chart, carefully catching ideas and suggestions. And the Goal Setters captured the key milestones for taking the organization into the next season and all agreed that it was a job well done.

From my perspective, the lesson learned for them as a strategic planning team of executives was the importance of understanding how to communicate with each other. Without the Communication DNA Discovery Process, this team would have failed to meet its obligations to set out the strategic plan for the next season. Important skills and talents would not have been brought to the table. Individuals would have left frustrated, and the business would have suffered without a cohesive sense of direction.

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To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.

What Contingent Liabilities are Your Employees Causing

What Contingent Liabilities are Your Employees Causing?

Rogue behavior costing $36 billion in legal bills since the financial crisis should give every Board member and Executive sleepless nights. Then add the cost to hire significant compliance and security management and staff to curb rogue behavior, and some serious questions need to be asked!

  1. What part does pressure to chase profitability encourage a greater level of risk to be taken?
  2. How much risk is the business willing to take? And at what level does risk become reckless?
  3. Is the level of inter-staff competitiveness so great that irresponsible risk is encouraged?
  4. How vigilant are those in leadership to the impact of pressure on employees?

Working in an environment pressurized to succeed at all costs, tends to be the norm, especially in the Financial Sector. Just look at Wells Fargo. Whilst taking risk is a legitimate part of building a successful business and keeping ahead of the competition, when pressure and risk collide it can quickly become a weapon in the wrong hands. Unable to balance risk under pressure to achieve results, the line becomes blurred between acceptable business practices and legal or moral improprieties.

Even more alarming, is when Boards and senior executives fail to acknowledge the environments that promote rogue behavior simply to increase profits. It could be argued that they are as culpable as the rogue employee. Daniel Kahneman, in his book Thinking Fast and Slow, says “we can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.”

Prosecutions and regulatory enforcement stemming from noncompliance related to employee behavior such as corruption, bribery, rogue trading and insider trading are on the rise around the world. In fiscal 2015, the SEC filed nearly 7% more cases over the prior year, meting out $4.2 billion in sanctions.

People are hired for their talent but little attention is paid to their inherent personality. So when an individual is placed under significant pressure or pushed to take excessive risks, their behavior can turn rogue. The good news? When pressure and risk collide can now be predicted.

Using behavioral insights, management can dynamically match employees with specific environmental conditions to determine their potential response to risk and pressure. They can also discern the degree to which such responses could create rogue behavior and negative actions towards the business.

It is no longer enough to simply look at emails, computer keystrokes, outside influences, sick records etc. – the old hat of international espionage and anti-terrorist tools. What should be clearly understood is that the rogue employee is a human being, that when placed under significant pressure to achieve, will take risks.

The question to Boards and Executives is – do you know your employees?

What corporate entities have in their corner is direct and immediate access to their own personnel from top to bottom and every department – including even outside partners and vendors. So the solution is the deployment of a validated personality discovery process, providing hidden insights and a reliable prediction of where security or compliance risks exist.
Based on external research, employees with the following measurable behavioral traits are more likely to engage in rogue behavior when emotionally triggered

  1. An inventive mind, full of ground-breaking ideas turns their thoughts to curious and devious thinking when, as an example; many of their ideas are rejected.
  2. A go-getting, determined person, driven to success at any cost; begins to cut corners, as a toxic competitive streak takes over.
  3. A reticent, uncommunicative, taciturn minded person normally just seen as the quiet one’ begins to hold onto key information that others need, simply because they have taken offense over something trivial.
Which Employee is Your Molotov Cocktail2

DNA Behavior International’s validated system gets below the surface to reveal behaviors that, if not managed, can lead to ruinous behavior.
The Unique DNA Behavior Approach is able to Score, Filter, and Prioritize Employee Personality Insights.

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6 Steps for a Leader Hired to Change the Culture, a Case Study

CASE STUDY: 6 Steps for a Leader to Change the Culture of a Team, Remove Roadblocks, Adapt Communication and Improve Processes.

SITUATION: I was asked to consult a recently hired CFO help her team adapt to the significant changes needed to be made in how the team operated. Her team was perceived as not being as effective as they should be. Plus, the organization needed more reporting and more collaboration from her team.

She spent 6 months asking questions and evaluating feedback and was finally ready to unveil her vision and goals for the team to support the organization. Her wonderful presentation explaining her process and detailing her vision was everything you would expect from a true leader. But soon after, she didn’t see any of expected changes. So she started attending some of their meetings, and provided even more direction. Still, she had trouble getting people to engage and respond in the way that she expected. The changes weren’t happening fast enough and she wasn’t getting feedback to help her understand why.

CFO VISION: A finance “organization” that

        • Has fewer boundaries and fosters alliances
        • Embraces a talent development and succession planning system
        • Fosters financial investment which demonstrates return on value and/or investment
        • Guides and implements business plans driven by strategic plans and executed with annual budgets

EVALUATION: After meeting with everyone and having them take the Business DNA Natural Discovery personality assessment, the gaps in behavior and communication styles became clear. Addressing them, however, would not be so easy.

The CFO is much like a lot of leaders: a driven Initiator naturally inclined to be Fast-Paced and Spontaneous (see the table below.) She is good at logically focusing on and driving for results. She leads by instinct and quickly adapts in the moment. She prefers spontaneous discussions to talk about what to do in the moment.

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Her team of accountants, however, are like many in their field. They’re highly Planned and Anchored (see table below.) Their natural strengths are to be very thorough, detailed, analytical, and consistent. They want specifics on what would be covered in a meeting ahead of time so they can research and properly prepare. They need more concrete information on what is expected, in order to be able to follow the specific steps to meet a goal.

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You can probably see the challenge without me telling you. The leader and her team have completely different ways of operating and communicating. They don’t know each other well enough, yet, to trust one another or know how to adapt to each other’s style. And there was no time left to figure it out organically. “Forcing” the team to be like the leader simply wasn’t working, and this left everyone feeling stressed and overworked.

SOLUTION: Although this may seem obvious from a distance, when a person’s behavioral style is acutely ingrained from both a natural and a habitual /learned perspective, it can be incredibly difficult to change. It requires consistent encouragement and mental focus. It’s like being asked to write with our opposite hand. Unless we’re naturally ambidextrous, our writing will not be as good if we don’t intentionally try, and most of us will “absent-mindedly” default to our regular hand.

Key steps for this CFO / Team:

  1. CFO lead by example in acknowledging different behavioral strengths and styles and attempt to adapt.
    - Talk openly about the obvious differences and politely help each member learn how to reciprocate.
  2. Leader to give more specific, concrete examples of her vision, as in an agenda with pre-set questions, well ahead of meetings and ensure safe environment where questions and follow-up, are warmly welcomed.
  3. CFO provides more 1:1 time/check in points, or smaller meetings, to glean better information from the team and identify roadblocks.
  4. Leader to lay out the step-by-step “plan” for change, rather than abruptly making decisions without a chance for the team to absorb and adapt.
  5. Team to resist the urge to “do nothing different until the detailed steps are clearly articulated”, by asking questions, focusing on what steps they should stop doing / what steps they should start doing. “Plan” for expected changes.
  6. Hire a mediator to address the gap between the big picture, and the detailed steps to get there with the focus on removing roadblocks and process improvement.

RESULT: Through individual coaching, team sessions and practical suggestions on how to build adapting into their day-to-day lives, the team turned a corner and is operating more efficiently and effectively with less stress. Many of the tangible changes were put into motion and their internal customer survey feedback improved significantly. While it’s a conscientious effort to adapt, with time and practice, it becomes the new second nature.

For a free trial of Business DNA, please email inquiries@dnabehavior.com.

Are You Killing Productivity And Creativity

Are You Killing Productivity And Creativity?

I work with and coach many leaders and teams. Although each team is unique, there are some common themes I see as performance and productivity blockages.

Are you suffering from one of these?

Are You Killing Productivity And Creativity 1

1. You have to be good at everything. There are many smart, good people I talk with, who can’t admit that they aren’t perfect, or still believe they should be. Perfection is outdated and unattainable. Trying to be good at everything should be too. Plus, it will only highlight and put focus on tasks and skills where you are NOT so good. As a leader, stop expecting people to be good at everything. For example, few people walk the earth who are great at being both detail/task-oriented and engaging with people. Consider realigning tasks to people based upon their natural strengths. In the end, the team will get more done with less stress.

Are You Killing Productivity And Creativity 2

2. Your way is the best way. If everyone was like you, your value would be diminished and the team would suffer from a huge blind spot. Instead, focus more on the goal and you’ll realize that the team will accomplish more. You’ll also look smarter and increase your influence by being able to see your teammates as valuable assets, even if they think and act differently, than your way of operating.

Are You Killing Productivity And Creativity 3

3. You’re constantly aware of teammate’s imperfections and wish they would change their ways. Stop thinking that the other person is who needs to change. You can positively influence behavior by trying to understand the other person’s point of view, their strengths and how they are motivated.

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Want to learn more about how to identify and capitalize on the different strengths of your team members? Check out our Business DNA Website or contact us at inquires@dnabehavior.com.

Kill Me Its Another Meeting1

Kill Me It’s Another Meeting

Some meetings should never take place!! When the leader of the meeting has no control over them, they are a waste of time.

According to research from Harvard Business School and the London School of Economics, executives spend upwards of 18 hours per week – a third of their working week – in meetings. And with an estimated 25-50% of meeting time considered wasted. Source

11 million meetings are held in the United States each day on average. That adds up quickly to 55 million a week and 220 million a month. By the end of the year, the meeting total is well over a billion. Source: (accessed 4/18/15). – Dave Johnson, How Much do Useless Meetings Cost?, CBS MoneyWatch (February 16, 2012).

The most frustrating meetings are when the boss let’s those with the loudest voice have too much time. Even trying to shut them up (politely) just doesn’t work. Then there’s the person in the room whose whole body language says, I know best; no one else’s opinion matters’. What about the colleague who has plenty to say on the way to the meeting, and just sits there and says nothing in the meeting. Poorly run Meetings are an expensive waste of time

Kill me its another meeting2.jpgSource: Google images www.annmarieklotz.com

Howard is compliant, hesitant and diplomatic. He is well liked and respected among most of his team and peers. But when leading staff meetings, Howard fails to control difficult people who upset the balance of the meeting and leave most of the remainder of the team wishing they were somewhere else.

The discussions tend to be unbalanced and very little gets resolved or decide upon.

Phil is the CEO and on one occasion sits in on the team meeting. He senses the atmosphere has no healthy positive energy; it’s heavy and negative; people are frustrated and deflated. Nothing is agreed. Phil knows he needs to work with Howard to improve his leadership skills.

Phil is goal driven, ambitious and yet understands the impact of knowing how to communicate with a range of people. Phil appreciates the importance of getting results through people management and strong strategic leadership.

Using his own experience as an example, Phil talks to Howard about how he felt when leaving the meeting. He explained that Howard needed to change the dynamic of the meeting in order to ensure people didn’t leave feeling frustrated, deflated and lacking a sense of direction. Phil explained to Howard the relevance to his leadership style of understanding behaviors. Further, he talked about the significance of becoming more effective and efficient in terms of managing individual communication styles. He explained that leadership required a person to adapt their own behavioral style to build relationships and meet the performance needs of a specific situation and in this scenario to manage meetings more effectively.

Four Primary Communication Styles Graph

Communication Differences Relationship Performance

Had Howard understood the dynamics and communication styles in the room and gained insight into his own communication and behavioral approach, he would have known how to manage individuals and control the meeting. Phil used examples of how he should be communicated with to help Howard understand communication styles. He then contrasted that with how Howard would wish to be communicated with. Very quickly Howard realized that he needed to gain insight into understanding communication styles if his meetings were to be effective in the future.

Howard

  1. Allow a short time to discuss family, life and non-work issues upfront
  2. Communicate at a slower pace and do not make them feel pressured – keep it even
  3. Have office meetings in a more living room environment
  4. Show with empathy that you care about their well-being and desire the best outcome for them.
  5. Give them step-by-step instructions to avoid any feelings of chaos.
  6. Provide lower end estimates of returns and keep them diversified
  7. Communicate security and the safety buffers
  8. Ask them how much contact they would like with you and what type (email, phone etc.)
  9. Indicate your feelings about the recommendations and get them to discuss theirs
  10. Invite them to group workshops and demonstrate how solutions work

Phil

  1. No long stories, keep to the point
  2. Keep meeting agenda short and focused
  3. Prioritize objectives around their goals
  4. Start with the big picture, not too much detail on one part of it
  5. Lay out the options so a decision can be made
  6. Provide bullet points
  7. Clearly outline risk/reward from best and worst case scenario
  8. Ask for their thoughts on recommendations
  9. Ask how involved they want you in the planning process
  10. Recognize them with referrals to other influencers