The Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Leadership Style by Gwen Moran

DeM Banter:  Spending a lot of time pondering leadership strengths and how to get young leaders to identitfy and nurture their strengths.  DISC seems like a strong C+ test… leaning heavily toward Gallup’s StrengthFinder… any thoughts? 

There are many leadership styles and a cottage industry has cropped up around defining them. Gayle Lantz, president of WorkMatters, Inc., a human resources consulting firm in Birmingham, Ala., uses the popular DISC assessment tool to as part of her practice to identify leadership styles.

DISC, an acronym for dominance, influencing, steadiness, and compliance, uses a series of questions each with four answers. Respondents indicate which style is most and least like their own. Lantz says she usually sees four core leadership styles emerge from these assessments. Individuals often tend to be a combination of styles, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

“To get the best results on a team, it’s important to have a balance of different styles and also to get to a place of appreciating the other styles, as well,” she says. Look for your own style in these four types.

Conductor. These leaders are direct, with a constant sense of urgency and focus on results. Conductors want to win, and often make quick decisions to get a competitive edge. The hard-charging style of these leaders drives change, values new ideas, and isn’t afraid of confrontation. As a result, conductors tend to get things done.

Be careful of: Conductors may be characterized as difficult or egotistical. Impatience and the desire to move forward quickly can lead to impulsive decisions or mistakes. Lantz cautions conductors to take a breath and not expect others to always work at the same pace.

Related: How to Make Criticism Drive You

Influencer. If you have an optimistic, motivational, people-oriented communicator on your team, chances are you’ve found an Influencer. These leaders are typically enthusiastic and in tune with other people around them. They like helping and motivating other people and have a natural ability to do so.

Be careful of: Influencers may be too verbose and have trouble staying focused. The can also be disorganized and easily led by others. According to Lantz, influencers need to be careful not to let their relationships and fears get in the way of making good decisions.

Supporter. Steady and unflappable, supporters tend to be the glue that holds their team together. It’s difficult to make them lose their tempers and they tend to be very loyal to those around them. They are patient, reliable and create a sense of calm and stability.

Related: Jim Collins on Creative Discipline, Paranoia and Other Marks of a Great Leader

Be careful of: That same temperament that makes supporters such a stabilizing influence can also keep them mired in indecision and complacency. Because they dislike confrontation, they may avoid situations where it’s inevitable. Risk-aversion and procrastination can also trip up supporters in their leadership roles.

Analyzer. Smart and analytical with a penchant for following the rules, analyzers are those


2 Replies to “The Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Leadership Style by Gwen Moran”

  1. Bill, it’s “nice to know” what style I am, but that doesn’t quite help me identify my true talent to develop it so that I stand out from the crowd, and we are living in a super competitive world these days. Only the best at what they do are going to get the job they want, and organizations that can attract and continuously engage those people who know what their talent is and are continously strengthening it will have a superior competitive advantage. It’s a game of survival today at all levels – individual, team, organization, city, country, and so on.

    Too many of the psychometric tests pigeonhole people rather than helping them develop themselves to stand out. You’re a “Conductor”. You’re a “Shaper”. You’re an “ESTJ”. Nice to know, but what am I suppose to do with that from a personal development standpoint? And then you receive all that advice that starts with “and watch out for…”, “be careful of…”, “weaknesses can be…”. What am I suppose to work on – strengths or weaknesses? Now I am confused and demotivated. And let’s not forget the supervisors who have been trained all their lives to identify weaknesses and then help people to try and overcome those. Not very motivating to have to spend time on things you don’t like when you would rather be spending that developmental time on the things that get you pumped up.

    Strengths Finder is the only tool with which I have experience, thus far, that really helps both the team and the individual focus on the positives in a way that gets real development activity moving and delivering concrete results. This is because it doesn’t talk about types but about talents, and it doesn’t waste time on the “be careful of…” negatives. Focus your time and energies on developing your strengths. It creates a positive spiral for everyone involved.

    So when you are evaluating tools listen carefully to how people are reacting. There’s a big difference between “Well, that’s nice to know.” and “I can do something with that.” Good luck!

    1. Roger: AGREE 100%! Love your comment…”Too many of the psychometric tests pigeonhole people rather than helping them develop themselves to stand out. You’re a “Conductor”. You’re a “Shaper”. You’re an “ESTJ”. Nice to know, but what am I suppose to do with that from a personal development standpoint?” This is a fear I have… this stuff becomes just and event and not a way of thinking…and applying…and growing… Back in the 100th we had several stellar young leaders who totally understood all of this and it was so cool to watch these Airmen grow…and in a strange DeMarco way… I can’t wait to watch what they will do, I know it will be great. One morning a captain mentioned that if you don’t think about leadership… if you don’t live this leadership stuff… you can’t be an effective leader (paraphrasing the conversation) but it was at that point… I knew he totally GOT IT! We need that type of culture. Thats Roger… I am going to look for the bit on focusing on strengths…believe it was John Maxwell… but that is where we gain the most bang for the leadership buck!

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