On owning your leadership style…

Let’s make the assumption that, as a leader, you’ve taken a number of human behavior assessments (like the Leadership Practices Inventory, Everything DiSC®, Strengths Finders or Myers-Briggs), and therefore you have some sort of description (or two or five descriptions) as to what kind of leader you are. What happens to those analyses after you finish the assessment? Do they sit on your desk? In a file? Or worse yet, do they take a one-way pass to the recycling bin?

Ever since DiSC® and Inscape Publishing gave me the life-changing revelation of “why I do what I do”, I work to make sure I use that knowledge daily to elasticize my leadership style. But I’ve also taken complete ownership of my “high-i” spot on the axis: referencing my leadership style in an email to a client, sharing the information right off the bat with a room full of emerging leaders. This accomplishes two things:

1) it shows the validity of the assessment and relates it to real world purpose, and

2) it shows this valuable piece of information hasn’t been forgotten or thrown away.

It might even show that I’m kinda proud of it.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about a real world testimony I heard the other day.

Past client, we’ll call her “Marge,” was in a high-stress final interview for a position that was unlike any she’d held before. She knew that her “middle-i” personality was the exact thing this program needed to propel it into a success it hadn’t known before. What she needed to do was convince the search committee of this.

Marge went into the interview prepared with her normal affirming and energizing personality. Although most of the committee seemed to enjoy chatting with Marge, one interviewer in particular seemed unimpressed with the exuberance. As Marge was pondering how to address the situation, she was handed a gift: someone said, “You know, I took this personality assessment the other day…have you heard of DiSC?”

A lightbulb! A common thread! A chance for Marge to proudly wave her “middle-i” flag!

After revealing her place on the DiSC axis, the interview took on a new turn for Marge. She became a team with the other interviewer who understood DiSC and together, they tackled every interview question with added DiSC insights. Her new DiSC partner even went so far as to say she admired her for being a “middle-i” and wished she, herself, had more “i” traits.

Marge, the “middle-i,” got the job best laid out for a “C.” Now, if Marge can get a job by owning her leadership style, what can you achieve?

  1. Sally Wilke
    | Reply

    Interesting as I think about interviewing. I particularly like to think about “elasticized leadership style.” Thanks.

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