Catherine (Kitty) Taylor
Special to the State Gazette
Have you empowered your sales and marketing pros to lead?
Leadership isn't a title or a salary range. And I bet every one of your employees is capable of leading.
The trick is to allow their different leadership tendencies to benefit your business. There are seven tendencies, which you can read about more in the Harvard Business Review's piece on the Seven Transformations of Leadership.
Achievers: Goal-oriented leaders. Achievers are focused and determined. Tee up a specific goal for them, and then rely on them to put the right resources together. Words of caution for managing this type of leader? Help them avoid the tunnel vision that's possible with such an intense focus on a goal, and be prepared to help them handle failure in a constructive way, should a goal not be met.
Alchemists: Transformative, big-picture changers. But don't expect them to pay attention to microcosmic details; in fact, you don't want them in the weeds. You want to keep them future-focused. Innovation thrives under these leaders.
Diplomats: Tactful, nimble leaders in delicate situations. You can trust Diplomats to help you avoid the need to back-peddle from words or actions flippantly or heatedly delivered. Help your Diplomats take decisive action, which can sometimes be stalled in the interest of avoiding conflict.
Experts: Leaders who bring logic to the forefront. Data and facts are an Expert's best friend. When the goal requires a cut-and-dry, knowledge-based approach, call in your Experts. Help them keep sight of the opportunity to collaborate with others on ideas; they sometimes rely too heavily on their data.
Individualists: A rule-breaker when needed. When the goal is more about principle than procedure, allow your Individualists to shine. They may fast track that break-through idea -- but be aware: in the fast pursuit of an unconventional solution, help them avoid the risk of stepping on the wrong toes.
Opportunists: Competitive leaders, who may need coaching to help mitigate risk. In the spirit of winning, in the interest of controlling the situation, or in the heat of an ambitious moment, Opportunists can usually be counted on to succeed at all costs, but be ready to manage their me-focused tendencies.
Strategists: Collaborative while executing a shared vision. You know you have a Strategist when your employee sounds and acts like a bold change agent, and is also able to offer practical steps to move the process. Similar to Achievers, be prepared to help them navigate their personal reaction to anything they might perceive as failure.
Leadership-prone employees weave in and out of the different tendencies based on the situation. I'm sure you agree, when this diversity of leadership is present in your workplace, the sky's the limit. So go ahead -- unleash that leadership potential in your people!
Catherine (Kitty) Taylor is the marketing director for RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy. Connect with RedRover on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.