What Your Behaviors Say About Your Leadership Style: Are You the Visionary Your Employees Need?
Leadership is simply defined by Merriam-Webster as the “power or ability to lead other people.” With such a simple definition, one may think the ability to lead others is equally as simple, though it is a craft that takes time, skill, and perseverance to develop into an individual that has the ability to lead and influence others. We can think of leadership in personal, political, and professional contexts, but one thing is consistent across all forms: a leader must create a vision of the future and inspire others to make that vision a reality.
In a professional context, what does it take to be an effective leader? As a Human Resource Management Training and Consulting Firm, we have the opportunity to work with all levels of management in developing their competencies in this area and we’ve found that being an effective leader is something that doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a combination of passion and experience to develop into the leader your employees need. Diagnosing specific areas of development is a critical component in being an effective leader whether you’ve been in a leadership position for a number of months or a number of years.
A tool that we frequently use in evaluating something as simple as individual and group behavioral preferences to self-awareness for leadership development are DiSC® assessments. The DiSC Model of Behavior was presented by William Marston, a physiological psychologist theorizing how normal human emotions lead to behavioral differences among groups of people and predicting how a person's behavior could evolve over time. His work focused on directly observable and measurable psychological phenomena. Over the years, Marston’s theory has evolved into a behavioral assessment that is used to examine personal preferences and educate individuals on how to best interact with others having different behavioral tendencies from their own.
The DiSC® model is comprised of the four following styles:
- Dominance- shapes the environment by overcoming opposition to accomplish results. Prefers getting immediate results, accepting challenges, and tracking authority.
- Influence- shapes the environment by influencing or persuading others. Prefers contacting people, making a good impression, and being optimistic.
- Steadiness- shapes the environment by cooperating with others within existing circumstances to carry out tasks. Prefers demonstrating patience, performing in a consistent manner, and creating a stable work environment.
- Conscientiousness- shapes the environment by working conscientiously under existing circumstances to ensure quality. Prefers concentrating on key details, checking for accuracy, and using a systematic approach to situations.
People will display behavioral tendencies in all four styles, however, a DiSC® assessment will show your primary preferences and dominant styles. From a leadership perspective, this is a great opportunity to affirm which behaviors are contributing to your leadership success, and which behaviors are hindering your ability to lead and influence others.
To specifically target leaders, the DiSC Work of Leaders® profile was created to help leaders improve self-awareness in key areas to help you achieve better outcomes as a leader in crafting a vision, building alignment, and championing execution. After completing an online assessment targeting these specific areas, individuals will have a better understanding of their strengths and opportunities for improvement in these three key areas of leadership. Leaders can use this tool not only as an individual assessment, but comparatively with a leadership team to identify group competencies and areas for development. The concepts from the report are relevant for all levels of leadership and encourage reflection and discussion on your individual leadership challenges and how you can adapt your behavior to be a more effective leader.