Leading through self-awareness

Leadership types

Great leaders are aware of their capabilities and caution areas, and they continuously develop themselves to maximize the former and minimize the latter.

The first step is to understand how you naturally lead. That insight allows you to be conscientious about your employees and how to relate to and inspire them individually.

One of the best ways to build self-awareness is with people data. This might look like a 360 assessment, which gathers and collates feedback from supervisors, colleagues, and direct reports. 360s can help you understand how you’re currently perceived as a leader—but it doesn’t tell you how you’re naturally wired to lead or what your natural leadership strengths are. A workplace behavioral assessment can help you understand what drives and motivates you at work, as well as how that influences how you lead.

Hover over one of the quadrants on the map to see traits of effective leaders for each.

You might have noticed that the leaders in the activity above have a dominant leadership style but also have tendencies related to other styles. Just because a leader is in the Teamwork and Employee Experience quadrant, it doesn’t mean they’ll never take risks or innovate. It just means that doing so might require them to stretch their natural tendencies a bit.

Before you can determine your leadership style, you need to understand your natural drives and needs. Let’s consider an example.

Janet is a new manager. Her PI Behavioral Assessment™ results show she’s cooperative, easy-going, and generally won’t challenge the status quo. Because she’s easygoing, her team feels comfortable coming to her with problems they’re facing so they can troubleshoot together. This helps team members feel supported and understood. However, Janet’s tendency to not want to challenge the status quo may limit her ability to manage up. She can mitigate this by putting processes in place designed to help her overcome her tendency to shy away from tougher conversations.

Just like Janet, you can use behavioral assessment data to determine your natural leadership style’s strengths and caution areas.

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