I believe former President Bill Clinton is quoted as saying, “If everyone on your team looks and acts just like you, you don’t have a team – you have an ant hill,” or something to that effect. He’s right! Unfortunately, many leaders are more comfortable with a carbon copy of themselves than their opposite. People who are different can scare some leaders, and their success in areas of their weakness is often intimidating. The greatest teams, though, are not ant hills but are diverse, complementary teams.
Your team should be a mix of the four human behavior styles: Assertive, Animated, Attentive and Accurate, identified in my book, Leveraging Your Leadership Style. Each style brings unique talents and gifts to the table that are challenging for the other styles. Assertive people are the ones driving results for your company, but without your Supportive team members, people may feel pushed around. Left to their own devices, Supportive people may procrastinate on getting things done, thus needing the Assertive members.
In order for the world to go around, all four styles must be at play to keep things in balance. Your company and teams are no different. In fact, suffice it to say that it is more critical in smaller teams to ensure a representation of all four styles. If you all look and act alike, huge holes exist that no one sees, and you are setting yourself up for failure.
Yet, I see leaders hiring their twins all the time. Oh sure, they may get along, but the company objectives will suffer. Why? Because they are missing half the equation. The two of them will focus on the same aspect of the business. Without the missing pieces, they will never put the puzzle together correctly.
When we are strong enough leaders to hire our opposites, we are creating a winning team that will consider all sides of the equation. We may experience some tension from time to time, but healthy conflict is what grows and stretches us all. And in that uncomfortable place is where success resides.
Ruth Bell Graham, wife of the evangelical preacher Billy Graham said, “If you and your husband aren’t fighting and think identically, there isn’t a need for both of you.” Perhaps this is why so many couples marry their opposite? We complete each other per God’s design.
Since we have all four styles, we can connect with one part of someone’s style for better understanding yet still have different components that help us see things differently. This is where the magic happens! Who wouldn’t want that?
If you are leader who is uncomfortable hiring someone who lives in your area of weakness, let’s talk about developing your leadership skills. I can help you overcome your fear and build a dynamic, cohesive team that will get the results you seek.
You can also pick up a copy of my book, Leveraging Your Leadership Style to discover your specific leadership style and what you actually need on your team.