In management, it is important to identify and value the differences individuals bring to the success of the team and the organisation; building on this where it works well.  Each manager’s style can contribute to a positive and progressive team or (as you may have encountered from some of your bosses), if unaware of their impact on others, can breed stress and conflict.

Do you think you can motivate others if you’re not very motivated yourself?  If you have a pessimistic outlook about your role and your organisation, how do you think that would affect those around you?

Are you surprised sometimes by your reaction in certain situations?  Would you prefer to handle stressful situations in a better way?  Are you confused about how differently people can react?  Can it be a struggle to deal with difficult people?

Self-awareness is one of the most important aspects in developing great leadership skills: you should know what motivates you, stresses you, triggers certain behaviours in you – and then you can appreciate the differences in others and find it much easier to adapt your style to your teams needs.  And to be honest, although it can be quite a challenge to identify and use this knowledge, I think we’d be really bored if we were all the same!

So let’s take an example of one of the most easily identifiable differences in styles you will find with the individuals in a team.  And that is about those people who are highly structured and planned in their approach to tasks compared to those who prefer a more flexible and “go with the flow” approach.

The former will want to get things decided and organised right away, and may see the latter as indecisive and unorganised.  The latter will prefer to work at their own pace, which sometimes means finishing in a burst of energy last minute, and who may see the former as controlling.  It is important to realise that both styles are equally effective and successful, so if you are different to your team members it is worth taking this into consideration when setting goals and actions.  So which is your preferred style?

  • If you are structured and planned as a manager, constantly checking up on actions with someone who has a more flexible approach can be de-motivating for them.  Let them know when the deadline is and then trust them to do it, even if they’re doing it at 2am.
  • If you have a more flexible approach as a manager, not providing effective deadlines and goals can be de-motivating for someone preferring more structure.  Give them a good period of notice and fix the deadlines.

There are many management tools which can help leaders develop a greater understanding of themselves and the different working styles of their team, such as some of those I use, like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) instrument and Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument.  There may also be the opportunity to use some NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) techniques to help with understanding what affects behaviour.

To find out more about the options available to help you gain improved self awareness click HERE.



  1. Cruze7

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