While I was studying at Duke, I had the opportunity to take a number of surveys, and spent a lot of time reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses as well as my leadership style. At times, the results of the surveys were surprising, and at other times, they were exactly what I expected. I learned a lot about myself, and have an idea of who I will be when I grow up.
One insight that I gained is that I have a very collaborative leadership style. If someone wants to step up and offer to help, I will rarely tell them no. I watch what they do carefully, and will step in to interfere if they need help. I wouldn’t ever let someone drown, and people know that I have their back, but most times my interference is more a nudge than a push. If I need to get someone to do something different at work, I tell them what I need, and I nudge them. Gently. If that doesn’t get the point across, I’ll nudge them harder, and finally push rather hard. Most of the time that isn’t really necessary, since most people aren’t dense. I’ve really only had to poke someone very hard twice. My manager says that I am very restrained when dealing with people, and will use a one-liner to let them know what I’m thinking. That is entirely true, since I’ve usually managed to get my point across and don’t feel the need to keep driving the point home. It is just who I am. If the message is received, and understood, then I don’t need to repeat it.
Most people I know wouldn’t describe me as loud or pushy. Yet, interestingly enough, in many cases in my life, people look to me to lead. They trust me to give them ideas, and to not necessarily push my own views or ideas of the world on them. I’m flexible enough to realize that there are many possible solutions to a problem, and that there may not be a single correct solution. The correct solution may be dependent on the context and place in which it is being implemented.
In becoming a leader, I think that it’s important to reflect on what you do well and what you don’t do so well. I do very well with soft skills and in helping people get a vision. I do well recruiting people- and despite being an introvert, I really like being around others. I love the big picture, and seeing how things go together, solving puzzles, and seeing where we’re going. Planning ahead is good. Getting lost in the moment doesn’t tend to happen. Repetition can drive me crazy. Strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to understand them, and how they work together to make a whole person.
Now I’m off to go “nudge” my children into doing their chores… I wonder how that will work for me?