I’ve always loved learning about how people tick, including myself. I enjoy the potential insight that all the different kinds of assessment tests and quizzes provide.
I do believe, though, that rather than wielding them as a way to label and compartmentalize ourselves and others, assessments are best seen as a tool to understand our own thoughts and feelings, as well as where others are coming from, and improve our ability to communicate effectively.
God is a master Creator, and each of us as his creations is unique.
As I contemplated this week’s episode of the Epoch Podcast, I had the opportunity to get more honest with myself about how I view other people’s ways of doing things.
David and I both work from home since 2011/12, so we’ve logged countless hours experiencing the differences in how we work, and I can assure you there’s been plenty of butting heads.
When my brother introduced me to the LEMON Leadership perspective of how people approach leading and work, I was surprised and confused that David and I tested as having the same style, because we definitely approach things very differently.
I realized that I initially assessed my style based on how I approach life in general or things I don’t necessarily know how to do and am not necessarily in charge of (including working with the Epoch team), whereas David assessed his style based on his past work experience leading a small team of people.
I also think the way the book is written affected my connection to the various leadership styles. We talk about that some in the podcast, but I found it substantially frustrating that there was no clearcut or consistent way of handling the different leadership styles.
The different ways of processing “work” from Johnson’s analysis are:
I found myself identifying most with Organizers in that I love accomplishing things, checking them off. I also agree that there is always action to be taken to move forward and it frustrates me when things drag out, stalled in the discussion phase. JUST DO SOMETHING!
So I thought I was an Organizer.
(It’s a really misleading title, by the way. “Organizers” are often anything but organized, it seems. I think they would better be called an “Initiator” or “Implementor” or “Opener”, to stick with the correct initial.)
As we discussed the different styles and motivations and everything, however, I realized my frustration with the way everything was laid out was more than just a pet peeve and decided to actually do something about it. David had charted some details from the book, so I used that compiled information and created my own version of the test – with an equal number of questions for each style, for one thing!
Taking the time to assess the motivations and ways of thinking about and processing “work” brought me to the realization that I was probably actually primarily a Manager (which my test confirmed, haha). I initially was really turned off by the idea of a manager, but I realized that was also because of how they are portrayed in the book (and probably by society in general).
[access our rogue LEMON Leadership online quiz]
I want to continue growing my heart of honor for others, and I think that might start by better understanding and honoring the way I work best and why.
In order to be able to truly appreciate a leadership style, we have to be able to see past the common negative stereotypes that keep us from recognizing all the benefits of that style.
The way I felt “Managers” were portrayed in the book, for example, was very straight-laced and inflexible. We’ve all known people like that, and they’re probably not our favorite. Additionally, I had the impression that they were the kind of people who like to follow rules – “give me exactly what to do an I’ll enforce it with an iron fist”. And that’s probably about as far from something I can identify with as you can get.
As I contemplated the different leadership styles, however, I began to see the strength of a Manager as someone who can take an objective and put the best systems and protocols in place to meet it.
Good Managers should be able to adapt their systems when necessary, but those around them often don’t understand the reasons behind the systems and how they work together with other systems to support the whole.
(A personal example from my household is that I know how much having a messy house brings down the atmosphere and how quickly mess breeds mess – because of this, we each have our own dish and I ask that we wash it as soon as we’re done using it, along with various other simple requests to help EASILY keep things much cleaner. It may seem annoying to care about one dish, but I have in mind how it supports the function of the whole household. I don’t prefer to let things get super messy and then have to take a long time to clean and then start the cycle over again, which is what happens without an intentional system in place.)
What I realized is that I don’t mind when people want you to do things a certain way as long as they know WHY and can be flexible if presented with a different, valid option.
Although there are certainly Managers with a chip on their shoulder, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the times they come across in a negative way could be circumvented by them feeling appreciated for what they do and honoring the systems they’ve taken time to put in place.
My goal as a Manager type is always to make things easier and more sustainable for people while creating a quality result.
Seeing how easily Managers can be misunderstood reminds me how likely that’s the case for the other leadership types as well. Taking a step back to comprehend and appreciate how others are wired instead of just wanting to covertly shift them to our “better” way will enable us all to work together more effectively. Although I do think we can learn from each other that some ways of doing things ARE better and honor that, too, it doesn’t mean that MY ways are all the better ways. (I guess… ;))
Our default way of thinking shouldn’t be that something different is inferior, but rather seeking to truly understand things from the other person’s perspective in order to be able to access the best solution.