Want to be a successful Leader? Start with Personality Profiling

Like a thumbprint, personality type provides an instant snapshot of a person’s uniqueness’ Isabel Briggs Myers

Being a coach gives us the privilege of supporting inspiring professionals and executives throughout their challenging and rewarding careers. We are often introduced to a new client when they are leveraging their technical brilliance and transitioning to a leadership role. However, while the technical brilliance has taken them far, their people skills have not often been sufficiently developed to succeed as a leader. Hence, they seek the expertise of a Career & Executive Coach to help them explore and understand themselves in a safe space.

The trigger for seeking help can be a myriad of things. As they reach midlife it is natural to question who they are and our place in the world, to re-asses their values and their purpose in life.   Or, it may be that they are unable to progress to the next level due to decision makers believing that they are not competent to take on people responsibility.  Other drivers for help include support to undo bad career habits or to help develop or re-build more authentic relationships in their work and personal lives.

The challenge is that most of our clients have never been provided with a framework or the tools to develop high level people skills. Unfortunately, organisations often can justify technical career development training, but struggle to invest in people skills development.

Personality Profiling assessments are a well validated and reliable tool that we use to help our clients to develop their people skills and become an effective leader across all stakeholder relationships.

 

The role of Personality Profiling in coaching leaders

We often start a coaching program with a new client by completing a feedback session on a personality profiling assessment (MBTI, The Majors or Birkman). This exercise helps our clients to review their preferences on career drivers, their leadership style, team interaction style, how they live their life and also an indication on what might cause them stress.

The assessment provides an objective view on themselves, something that they have not often experienced. This is the first stage of being true to self and thinking about ourselves as an individual rather than labelling, just like job titles and functions.

When exploring personality preferences clients gain deep insights into how they can be more effective in their work and personal life. These insights can help clients to become focussed on their true purpose and gives them confidence to be true to themselves.

Unfortunately, society sets perceptions of what we should do with our life to be accepted. As humans, we want acceptance but sometimes we lose who we truly are in the process. Personality profiling helps us to find the right balance and be true to who we are.

 

Why are we afraid of finding out who we truly are?

Labels are just the beginning of understanding ourselves. Unfortunately, much of the training provided in the workplace does not go beyond the first step of describing the personality type. If a type tool is used (for example MBTI®), then describing the 16 categories is the end of the learning session. To really understand your ‘type’, you need to go beyond this and dig deeper into the analysis of the results and explore how the preferences are used for each individual. Whilst we are labelled with one of the 16 types, we actually use all of the opposite preferences too. The secret to using type is learning how each individual uses all the different preferences, and in what order.

Secondly, the type assessment helps us to understand others. By using the Type framework, we can read behaviours of other people and assess what drives them. If you are working with multiple stakeholders or leading people, this framework will be an invaluable tool to help you to read others’ needs. For example, if you are selling to someone with an S (Sensing) preference they will want evidence or data to convince them to buy. They are unlikely to tell you their preference.  However, their questions or your well-crafted questions will give you clues on their preference.

Contact us to understand more about the range of coaching packages we have on understanding your personal preferences to develop your leadership skills and develop a greater understanding of yourself, your team, management and clients.

When your personality is aligned with what your soul is here to do, nobody can beat you at it’– Oprah Winfrey

 

BUILDING RESILIENCE DURING CHANGE

Is change really that new?

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Today’s business world is faced with many challenges of change and disruption. That, we can all agree on. However, change and major disruption is not actually new! Change that we are experiencing today is often due to technological change as well as short – termism in a chaotic environment. Is this change necessarily bigger or different than other changes our environment has had to endure in the past? Think about how world wars, disastrous weather events, political coups and corporate takeovers have reshaped reality for many people over the centuries. On a personal level, we may experience accidents that lead to disabilities and loss of a loved one at any age, which has not changed over time.

Each generation is experiencing their change in their own way and they will face challenges relevant to the current disruptions in their world.  Some industries and professions will have different factors to drive their need for change. Overall, we find that many clients get stuck trying to understand the changing environment, or simply get lost in the chaos and become immobilised.

Understanding the environment

In an attempt to understand the chaos of today’s world of work, a popular term – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA), has evolved in management speak. Initially developed in the military, this term is being used as a framework to help leaders to understand the world they operate in as well as indicate the key strengths they need to survive.

The Agile method was introduced to create effective project management skills. Is all work in today’s business world 100% project based? Are all roles temporary or changing all the time? Unfortunately, one method seems to be adopted as best practice in many work environments. In some cases, the senior management have not changed their work practices and further alienated the employees but forcing change on them. Adopting one method of work does not necessarily alter the culture in which we work or help each individual to cope with change. It seems that proper analysis of work practices, employee needs and talent management is missing from the transition to new work environments.

Coaching tools to build resilience

Whilst these terms, VUCA and Agile, are helpful to understand the environment, more needs to be done to help leaders and their teams to cope with this dynamic world and build resilience.  How we experience and overcome change and chaos is an individual journey. From our coaching experience, we do not see enough proactive assistance to help individuals in their personal and professional development to build resilience before they are thrown in the deep end. Often organisations contact us after the change (or several changes) has been enforced and then they want remedial coaching when employees are not coping.

One of the key interventions that we use to help our clients cope with the world work is personality profiling tools. We use Birkman or Type tools such as MBTI or Majors to help our client really understand their behaviours, interests and needs to help them readily identify how they will build resilience to cope in a VUCA world as well as build relationships and communicate effectively to people who are different to themselves.

Being proactive and introducing professional development using personality profiling at the forming stage of teams and new recruits into the organisation will provide the tools to help everyone in the organisation prepare for and cope with the chaos. Hopefully then we can move away from the analysis of the environment and into building resilience to manage the environment effectively and create teams that successfully cope with a VUCA world.

Diversitas have supported with organisations of all sizes in developing and delivering effective career and executive coaching programs using personality profiling to build resilience for senior management and their teams. Go to www.diversitas.com.au for more information.

 

 

 

Cultural Chemistry – Book Review

Cultural Chemistry is a wonderfully engaging and insightful book by Patti McCarthy who is an expert on the topic of culture. Patti has lived and worked across the globe and has assisted many an expat in her career. I have seen Patti speak and found her to be wonderfully passionate and knowledgeable on the subject of culture.

While having worked in a HR and Careers capacity with many an expat, I have found that there is always more we can learn about cultural engagement. Patti’s book is wonderfully rich in real life experiences with many tangible pieces of information that can make all our workplaces more harmonious.

It is also a valuable read for MBA students looking to work and or study abroad, as well as though who may even be finding some friction in their syndicate groups due to cultural differences.

As the title suggests, Cultural Chemistry is a terrific book for bridging cultural gaps which are ever present in our work and places of study.

To learn more about the book or purchase online visit the Cultural Chemistry site.

So, you want to be a leader? Find out how to transition successfully into a leadership role!

02A15HS9When my coaching clients come to me and say that they want to be a leader. I automatically start to explore the driver for this desire. What actually do they mean by ‘leader’? Is it power to make decision for others, or have authority over others? Is it a title (noun) or a change agent (an adjective) they seek? Or is it just a trend – to be successful you must be a leader?

In the exploration with my clients on this topic I also did some research on the term ‘leader’, ‘executive’ and ‘manager’, producing interesting results. There is no simple descriptor for each of these titles. Therein lies the challenge, or possibly the reason for the confusion. Whilst we speak of leaders do we mean their title/responsibility or do we mean the act of leading (adjective).

Leadership is often misunderstood as being the same as management. Leaders in an organisation need to be able to set strategy for their team/organisation. These roles are there to motivate others and create the organisational culture. Whereas Managers have functional responsibility such as completing a technical task or managing a budget. They may have a team reporting to them who follow instructions set by the manager, who follows the organisational culture.

An Executive role is usually another term for a leadership role or a management role. Executives can be in several roles in an organisation and every organisation tends to have their own language on the hierarchy. Using names like Director, Associates, Senior… etc.

No wonder, the constant demand for new leaders is not satisfied as we are unclear on what we want these ‘leaders’ to do.

If you are seeking a leadership role I suggest that you qualify what you want to achieve as the leader/manager/executive and make sure it agrees with the hiring organisation’s definition before embarking on the role. That way you will be defining your role consistent with the expectations of the organisation.

For those looking to transition into a leadership or executive role, Diversitas offer a comprehensive worksheet to help you define your personal style and create your strategy.

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Author:
Sue Daniels is a Director of a Career Consulting business and has extensive experience of designing innovative career development programs in the university sector at Melbourne Business School and for the London Business School.  Sue has served seven years on a not for profit board and has a background in international investment management.

Working & Living Authentically

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If you are at the stage where you are looking to re-assess your life and or career, this is a wonderful post on LinkedIn, The 5 Biggest Regrets People Have Before They Die  

While the title sounds somewhat morbid, it is actually a poignant article based on the experience of someone caring for terminally ill people.  They recount the regrets that people have about various aspects of their lives – be it relationships, love, leisure, work……

Interestingly, it also looks at all those things that hold people back from doing what they really wanted to be doing with their lives– which is often sadly the expectations and opinions of others!

The article serves to force us to reflect on what is truly important to us, and how we want to live our lives.

How do you truly want to live 2017 and beyond? Is it time to chart your own course?

Geert Hofstede – a great workplace & culture resource

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The Geert Hofstede site offers a wonderful source of information for people who are interested in understanding different cultures in the workplace and/ or for those who work internationally.  It is also a wonderful place to learn more about the Australian culture. You can even compare countries in different core areas. For example Australia is a very Masculine culture, in contrast to Sweden which is considered a feminine culture. Visit the Tools area of the site to compare countries and learn more about culture and strategy.

Masculinity 

Australia scores 61 on this dimension and is considered a “Masculine” society.  Behavior in school, work, and play are based on the shared values that people should “strive to be the best they can be” and that “the winner takes all”. Australians are proud of their successes and achievements in life, and it offers a basis for hiring and promotion decisions in the workplace. Conflicts are resolved at the individual level and the goal is to win.

Sweden scores 5 on this dimension and is therefore a Feminine society. In Feminine countries it is important to keep the life/work balance and you make sure that all are included. An effective manager is supportive to his/her people, and decision making is achieved through involvement. Managers strive for consensus and people value equality, solidarity and quality in their working lives. Conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation and Swedes are known for their long discussions until consensus has been reached. Incentives such as free time and flexible work hours and place are favoured. The whole culture is based around ‘lagom’, which means something like not too much, not too little, not too noticeable, everything in moderation. Lagom ensures that everybody has enough and nobody goes without. Lagom is enforced in society by “Jante Law” which should keep people “in place” at all times. It is a fictional law and a Scandinavian concept which counsels people not to boast or try to lift themselves above others. 

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