Everything you need to know about an Operator

The Operator leader

Operators are very much team players. So how exactly do they lead their teams to victory?

As a leader, Operators will generally be focused on the development of repeatable, carefully researched, and well thought-out systems. They are often supportive managers who focus on helping others to accomplish tasks. Operators will generally provide detailed guidelines and direction for the team to follow precisely. They focus the the team around repeatable success and high quality results.

Below is a list of strengths and cautions when an Operator is in a management role.

Leading strengths
  • Puts emphasis on team welfare
  • Anticipates problems early
  • Accepting of new ideas
  • Promotes getting the job done right
Leading cautions
  • Might appear overly task-focused
  • May avoid conflict
  • Can struggle under time pressure
  • May struggle with ambiguous situations

But it’s not just about knowing how you lead; you also should be aware of the individuals you manage and the Team Type they form. This allows you to tailor your leadership strategies based on the people you’re actually managing—and use your strengths as an Operator to your advantage.

Let’s say you’re an Operator who’s managing an Exploring Team. This Team Type is on the quadrant directly opposite yours, which means you’ll generally have competing values. Don’t panic! Different personalities don’t innately lead to failure. Understanding this difference in opinions, however, is a crucial step.

Take a look below at some points of friction to be aware of. Use these to learn how you can use your strengths to lead a team that doesn’t directly align with your Reference Profile.

Leading an Exploring Team as an Operator

When an Operator is leading a Exploring Team, they may be uncomfortable due to their desire for a structured and steady environment. You may encounter areas of friction, but there are ways you can help your people stretch their behavioral drives and make the team feel like magic.



The Exploring Team’s intense approach and flexibility of rules may clash with an Operator’s steady and structured style.

An Operator’s desire to take time and reflect can clash with the Exploring Team’s desire to meet and discuss problems right away. It can be frustrating for the team if they feel they don’t have the time and space to talk things out.

Operators can fall into a trap of giving everything a process which might not always work, depending on your company objectives. Exploring Teams tend to be creative and look for new ways to get the work done. An Exploring Team can help Operators push boundaries when appropriate.

An Exploring Team will often be quick to jump to innovate and build but in some cases this might lead to hasty decisions. Operators have a tendency to approach problem solving through in-depth analysis. Being so thorough can help define clear objectives for product innovation so the team can be innovative in the areas that really matter.

Based on the benefits and areas of friction that can arise when having a differently aligned team, come up with strategies that will help you lean into your strengths. For example, you could identify the areas/tasks that are repeatable in your team and define processes to make the team more efficient in some areas but not limit them in all aspects to a mandated process.

So, we understand who we are, where we fit into a team, and how we can lead other teams as an Operator. When it comes to leading, though, there is much more to consider. You also need to think about what Strategy Type your team needs to accomplish their goals.

Do you feel prepared to make sure your team feels like magic rather than causing constant friction? Want to learn more? Check out our two workshops around building and cultivating teams that work like a dream.

Copy link