Monthly Archives: July 2010

Understanding Yourself to Become a Better Leader – Prepared or Going with the Flow

Part 4 of 4

This is part of a series of posts about understanding yourself and your personality in order to become a better leader.  There are many tools that can be used for personality assessments.  The company I currently work for uses the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  There are many other personality assessment tools available, but I have found this tool to be pretty accurate for me.  The MBTI is broken up into 4 segments with results placing the participant in one of two categories based on the responses the questions in the survey.  My results showed that I am an ISTJ.  Getting my results has caused me to do a lot of reflection over the last year and a half on how I can use this information to become a better leader.  I thought I would share my reflection and understanding of the results.

This is part 4 of 4 – Judging vs. Perceiving

Judging (J) – tend to be organized and orderly and to make decisions quickly

Perceiving (P) – tend to be flexible and adaptable and to keep your options open as long as possible

My reflections have been centered around being a ‘J’.  Some of the thinking tendencies are:

  • Be prepared for the worst with many contingencies prepared
  • Enjoy looking ahead and planning for the future
  • Arrange you world so you don’t have to deal with last minute rushes
  • Like established methods and procedures
  • Are likely to deliver what was prepared in advance with little deviation
  • Work within a superstructure of efficiency

My personality of being a ‘J’ has come in handy when trying new standardized work because I like to create established methods and procedures.  The standardized work gives me a sense that I am working efficiently which helps to calm me.  It can be a roadblock sometimes with trying something new though.  This is a hurdle I had to get over quickly since I am in the role of creating change.  I can’t ask others to change and not be willing to do it myself.

Being prepared for the worst and have contingency plans is a great asset when creating change.  When trialing a new process flow or changeover procedure, you plan to be successful, but nothing ever seems to go as planned.  It is great to have contingency plans to help make the trial go smoother or show that even if things don’t work perfectly the new idea can still work.  Too many times if it doesn’t work perfectly right from the start people fall back to their old way of doing things.  Sometimes creating too many contingency plans can mean taking too much time to get something ready and not enough doing.

Judging has its advantages but can have disadvantages too.  It is hard work practicing to be out of your tendencies but it will pay dividends in your leadership.

Which category are you in?  J?  P?  How does your natural tendency tend to help you as a leader?  Hurt you as a leader?

Summary

No matter what category you fall into in all four segments, it is important to be able to balance between both.  Both have advantages and both have disadvantages.  As a good leader, you have to be able to know when to use what traits.  The first step in being able to do this is to understand yourself and what are your natural tendencies.  Once you understand them, then you can devise a plan to work on the other areas.  It is basic problem solving: understand the current state (what are your tendencies), design the future state (balance of all 8 categories in the four segments) and analyze the gap.

As lean change agents, we need to be the best leaders we can.

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Lean Terms Video

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July yesterday.  If you are like me, you have today off as a holiday.  With that in mind, I thought I would take a quick break from the 4 part series and have a little fun today.  Here is a video on YouTube about using some lean terms with your spouse at home.  I hope you enjoy it and I will have the 4th part of the Leadership series on Wednesday.

Enjoy

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Understanding Yourself to Become a Better Leader – Don’t Over Think

Part 3 of 4

This is part of a series of posts about understanding yourself and your personality in order to become a better leader.  There are many tools that can be used for personality assessments.  The company I currently work for uses the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  There are many other personality assessment tools available, but I have found this tool to be pretty accurate for me.  The MBTI is broken up into 4 segments with results placing the participant in one of two categories based on the responses the the questions in the survey.  My results showed that I am an ISTJ.  Getting my results have caused me to do a lot of reflection over the last year and a half on how I can use this information to become a better leader.  I thought I would share my reflection and understanding of the results.

This is part 3 of 4 – Thinking vs. Feeling

Thinking (T) – make decisions using logical, objective analysis

Feeling (F) – make decisions to create harmony by applying person-centered values

My reflections have been centered around being a ‘T’.  Some of the thinking tendencies are:

  • Uses hard data to make decisions
  • Confident and clear about objectives and decisions
  • Hold questions until others have had a chance
  • Seen as close minded, not open to new ideas, skeptical
  • Don’t pay much attention to people’s emotions
  • Focus on cause and effect

Part of this was hard for me to swallow as I reflected.  The part about not paying attention to people’s feelings was very difficult.  I realize that I do care about how people feel but when it come to getting the job done, I hate excuses.  This comes off as not caring or even closed minded.  As leaders we have to be open to how people react to tone of voice or comments.  This is one thing that I have been working the hardest on.  One way to work on this is to have people you trust at work.  People that you can go to and ask if you are coming off as not caring or will come to you and have that open dialogue.

Holding questions until others have had a chance can be helpful to gather as much information before jumping in.  This can allow for better questions to be asked to dig deeper into the issues.  Waiting too long can be seen as not participating.  Asking questions is very important in coaching others to think through processes, but they have to be the right questions at the right time.

Being clear and confident in the objectives and decisions is a good thing for a strong leader.  People seem to rally around leaders with confidence and can give clear direction as to where they are heading.  This strong confidence needs to be balanced with not being seen as closed minded.  Sometimes leaders become over-confident to the point where they do not want to listen to other perspectives or ideas.  Leaders will lose people if they are seen as inflexible or close minded.  One way to be open to new ideas is through using data to help show how the new idea might be beneficial through data.  Sometimes though you have to use your intuition (N – from part 2) to try something new.

Thinking has its advantages but can have disadvantages too.  It is hard work practicing to be out of your tendencies but it will pay dividends in your leadership.

Which category are you in?  T?  F?  How does your natural tendency tend to help you as a leader?  Hurt you as a leader?

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