Personalized Leadership


Know Your Team Members

Leadership is one of the essential skills a project manager must have. Leadership is defined as the process of influencing others to support the accomplishment of a task. As a project manager you have to lead your team members to the successful completion of the project.
Leading team members usually takes the form of providing guidance and/or support in accomplishing a task. Guidance is telling the team member what to do, what is the next step. Support is telling the team member how to take the next step.
However, not all team members are the same. Some need more guidance and/or support than others. In general team members can be divided in four types. Each type requires a different type of leadership. Leadership has to be personalized.

Type 1: much guidance, little support

These types you have to tell them what to do next and then they accomplish the task with little or no support. Lead this type of team member by telling them what to do next.

Type 2: much guidance, much support

These team members may be new to project management and you have to tell them what to do next and them how to accomplish the task. Lead these types by telling them what to do and how to do it.

Type 3: little guidance, much support

Some team members know what to do next, but may be a bit uncertain. Lead these types by telling them how the task can be accomplished. Many mentoring models are based on this approach. These types are the future managers: they know the steps to be taken to complete the task at hand.

Type 4: little guidance, little support

Team members of this type can work independent. This is the team member you want to leave in charge when you go on vacation.

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6 thoughts on “Personalized Leadership”

  1. Geoff. Thank you for the explanation and the link. We should certainly consider using these type of personality assesment tools. They can save us a lot of trouble down the road.

  2. Sure! Let me first say that I am not a representative of the company, nor do I benefit in any manner from discussing their tools. I'm a believer in 'personality tests' such as the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). The DISC profile is easy to administer, only takes about 30 minutes start to finish. Rather than go on too much about it – here is a link to the site that explains it and it's uses. I use it with my Project Management training classes as well as any project teams I am involved with. People that have already taken the DISC Profile understand who they are and how they not only react to other people but how they have a tendency (big word there!) to react to situations. It's wonderful for team building and most importantly, I've NEVER conducted a DISC profile where the group wasn't laughing while finally understanding their peers or the people they work with. I've heard many times "OH! So THAT"S why you are like you are – you can't help it,you're wired that way!" It's a great tool to use – enjoy!

  3. Nice post! Results in one thinking – "Should I be a Project Manager, or a Project Leader?" I realize we have to be both and that the fulcrum moves constantly between the two ideals of management and leadership. The leadership experience will help you realize your team members and in which of the 4 categories they fall. While certainly not stereotyping, I do understand that there are certain traits to personnel depending on their field. If I'm in a room with two strangers. I can talk to them for a few minutes and be able to tell who's the "Marketing and Communications" team member and who's the "Information Technology Programmer". I also like to administer the DISC Profile to my team. It helps me and if they haven't done it before, it helps the team members understand a little bit more about themselves and it serves for the team to bond when we discuss our results. I say "Our" because I take it everytime I start a new project – right with my team. They need to know who I am just as importantly as I need to know who they are. You CAN have fun with this approach as well. People WILL laugh at themselves if they know what's driving them to be 'who they are'.

  4. Ellen, thank you for your nice comment and educative question. Life would be boring if we all came with a bar code indicating what type we are. The best way to judge early on is to talk to references. After explaining the four types to the reference, ask them in which type the candidate would fall. Unfortunately, resumes are not a good indicator anymore. References and then an interview is what I do and or recommend.

  5. Nice post! We should all be lucky enough to have Type 4 people on our team. How do we know, short of learning by experience (some of it unpleasant), which people are which types? Is there some way to judge early on?

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