A Leader’s Work Styles; The 4 Key Work Styles All Leaders Must Be Aware Of!

It’s an honor getting to speak and conduct Trainings for companies on The 5 Types of Leaders, The 5 Employees, their 5 Professional Rockstars, and More! The truth is… knowing the various Types, who they are, and most importantly, what they need most from us right now is a vital part of Leadership. So is knowing the various working styles of your Leaders, Employees, and Coworkers!

As a Leader or Employee, whether you’re an “Inspired & Motivated” or “The Resident Grouch”, “The Example” or “The Visionary”… Leaders and Employees have their own Work Style; how they tackle tasks, get stuff done, and function professionally. As I share, you’re going to see yourself in one or more of the Types, you’ll also see some of your Leadership Peers, Direct Reports, and Employees! The goal is to identify and celebrate the positives and enhance awareness and what to do regarding the concerns… enhancing your Leadership & Work/Life Harmony and those you’re leading. So, what are the 4 Key Work Styles?

The Zoned-In!

This is the Leader or Employee that gets locked-in on a task or project and shuts everything out as if they have blinders on! They’re focused, their office door is shut, they need to be left alone or look as though they want to be, and their intense focus produces high-quality work and rave reviews.

The Pro is exactly what I mentioned; the work and outcome of the task or project is impeccable, and their end-game results cannot be denied! I’ve conducted Leadership Trainings worldwide and every now and then I bump into “The Zoned-In” and each time the company raves about their work and their potential… and you’re right… there’s a but! How could there be a but? Every organization wants a high performer who produces great work, on time, and has the potential to positively impact the company and clients right?

The concern is, in a leadership position, “The Zoned-In” zones in so hard they tend to neglect other tasks, their coworkers, and spur of the moment issues that need to be addressed to make the workday for others successful. In one company, a gentleman zoned in on his tasks, but in doing so, he made himself unavailable to other issues his staff needed him for! When they can to his office for help and support they were shooed away. They soon stopped coming and handled issues on their own; only to be reprimanded later they didn’t do it correctly… sound familiar?

“The Zoned-In” working style may work great as a more Front-Line Employee, however this style may provide some limitations when your coworkers or customers/clients need your help… or… once you’re promoted. Yes, your administrative tasks are important, but so are your People. As a Leader, your job is now to do your People that are doing your old job AND your new administration tasks… it’s NOT either or… Be Mindful!

What to do? The answer isn’t nice, neat, and clean… however, it starts by knowing your people, what they need, why they need help (are they new, is their a lack of training, is the information new, has there been change, are they dealing with a know difficult client/customer) and anticipating issues so you’re not surprised or irritated when they occur.

It may also involve you selecting an appropriate time to shut yourself down to Zone-In. Perhaps that one time per week when you’re physically in the office isn’t it and that time needs to be more for your People that have been waiting for you! Perhaps you schedule a designated “shut-down time” once per week with the exception of a “defined emergency”.

Here’s another idea, what’s the most common issue your people come to you with and why don’t they know what to do? Is there a Training you can conduct, send them to, can they shadow you, can you shadow them, is the problem-solving technique written down in a manual so they can refer to it before coming to you? All these questions and your answers will allow you to be a leader, enjoy your working style, and positively impact your People and Organization!

The Tornado!

This Leader or Employee is exactly what is sounds like… they look like and operate like the Tasmanian Devil! I know… I just dated the heck out of myself. For those that don’t know, it was a cartoon character way back in the day that entered the scene as a tornado spewing unrecognizable words in a whirlwind and was gone as quickly as he came! Do you know anyone like that?

Many years ago, I had the pleasure of working with a very nice and very smart gentleman; however our styles clashed in a very uncomfortable way. I still remember him bursting into our office once per week with his jacket askew, his shirt untucked, wrinkled, frazzled, and spewing all types of important information, half-sentences, and work-worry! I’m still cringing a bit at this moment writing about it!

Many “Tornados” care about their work, are interested in problem-solving, and tend to be very intelligent! The concerns are, it can appear as if you’re not as capable due to the chaotic nature displayed and it may be hard for certain people to follow the train of thought to the end or your leadership style.

What to do? When you’re in a leadership position and you’re “The Tornado”, be a tornado of curiosity about other people and their ideas to breed more connection and a culture of care. It may also be beneficial to adopt the term, “Stay with me, my point is…”. This allows people to maintain their focus, allows you to finish your thought, and blow people away with how profound your ideas really are.

I once had a professor in Graduate School and she was a “Tornado” as she danced atop the radiators and her desk in the middle of class. However, if you stayed with her in her dialogue and just listened to the end… she was a freak’in genius! Lastly, when you’re the “Non-Tornado” working with “The Tornado”  be mindful to let them finish and/or offer de-escalation questions such as: how was your weekend? What are your plans for the weekend? What did you like most about…? How did you come up with this idea? And offer goodie-time coffee, snacks, etc. to help slow the Tornado down and make the information transaction more conversational.

The Short-Spurt!

This is me for sure and wrapped up in it is all of my undiagnosed AHDH, Inattentive Type! I ended my 10th grade year with four F’s, two D’s, and a C. I can still remember my mom’s face attempting to make out the letter F on my report card… and four of them at that! It’s no wonder when I bump into people from high school and college they are blown away I now travel the world and work with companies big and small to teach Leadership, Lol! Back then, I had no idea what was going on and now I do… and I of course passed it on to my youngest son!

“The Short-Spurt” Leader or Employee may not be as lazy as you think… or maybe they are, perhaps they have ADHD, perhaps they’re simply not interested in the task at hand… the point is, they work great in short-spurts!

Assuming they’re not lazy or uninterested… they enjoy their work, are typically interested in several things, and enjoy hands-on work and interaction. These Leaders and Employees may also be your biggest social butterflies! The Concern is they may struggle to best organize their day and get back to task after their breaks. For example, the Employee that takes 1,700 smoke breaks but their work is great. However, their work peers keep complaining to you about it and it’s driving you crazy because his/her work is fantastic and the other employees could take as many smoke breaks or bathroom breaks if their work was half as good!

What to do? You’re a “Short-Spurt”… recognize it, organize your day and schedule to fit you, produce GREAT WORK and RESULTS, and get back to task after your break to allow yourself professional success!

You’re the Boss of a “Short-Spurt”… recognize it, share the realistic parameters of breaks, be sure you, them and the team knows what success and desired results looks like, and be willing to follow-through with tough conversations; as every job is not suitable for short-spurt work.

As a coworker, someone’s short-spurt style may drive you crazy because you don’t think it’s fair or their working style is dumping their work on your lap! When it’s a “fair thing”; although you may be right… please remember, you have as much access to breaks, bathroom breaks, working-from-home options, chat breaks, or smoking breaks as they do. Some companies and bosses are flexible… as long as the work gets done or when someone is a high-producer (fair or not) they get certain perks… and so may you! When their absence is dumping more work on your lap, you have an option to discuss it with them in a professional manner or with your boss in a professional manner; accompanying your problem with a suggested solution.

The Sunday Driver!

You know that one car on the road doing below the speed limit; moving so slow it’s causing a bigger issue? Well, some Leaders and Employees work this way, but for various reasons.

Some may work slowly because it’s simply their nature. I think of my Dad, I love the man, he means well, and has the biggest heart on the planet; however I have to purposely slow myself down when we’re with each other or speaking because he moves and delivers his message at a slower pace than me. Some are slow movers, some are overthinkers, and some may be perfectionists… causing your impatience to boil over! Lastly, other Leaders and Employees are taking in the lay of the land, selecting the weakest workers, and purposefully choosing to keep pace with them; daring you to ask them to work faster, harder, or better when no one else is!

Considering “The Sunday Driver’s” slow work isn’t intentional; overthinking and perfectionism at least comes from a place of caring about their work! The concern is missed deadlines, lower production, and a non-urgent company culture.

What to do? When you’re the Leader, be willing to have the tough conversation with your People… only after you’ve shared and implemented your Vision, Expectations, and Rules for your Team (Your Leader’s 3).

I’ve shared this in other articles… Know your People, why they work at the company, and what they desire to get from it. Be willing to preface that there will be good times, that you will celebrate them, and may also have to ask questions and have tough conversations from time to time; always for the purpose of them and the company to be great and you wouldn’t be doing your job if you didn’t. Then, be willing to have the tough conversation when necessary! It may sound something like, “Hi ___, do you have a second? You’ve been doing great/good with ____. You mentioned your professional language/your want is ____. It’s going to be hard to achieve that with deadlines not being met/or metrics not being met. Can you help me to understand what’s going on with that?”.

I have no idea what they’re going to say and neither do you… but you may be surprised by whatever they say! Now it’s time to reinstall the standard, ask what they can do to address the situation, and when they don’t know… you share your idea or protocol as a Leader. What’s the standard you desire them to meet, what idea do THEY have to achieve it, help them when necessary, and thank them for having the conversation!

When the company culture is poor, toxic, or perhaps you don’t have the power you wish as a leader… these conversations are not fun and that’s when sharing with your boss what your idea is, what conversations you want to have, what the parameters of the job REALLY are, how much power and authority you REALLY have, and allow your boss to help fine-tune your plan to either effectively institute change… or… gain yourself professional protection as you gear up and are ready to start a NEW DAY for your Leadership and Team! Leadership isn’t for the faint of heart, everyone will not always like your changes, standards, or expectations; but as long as you communicate, are transparent, and fair (doesn’t always have to be equal) the right people will stay AND the right people will leave… Be Mindful!

You now know the 4 Key Work Styles! Where do you fit? What was your Biggest Takeaway? What did you learn about someone you work with or worked with in the past? What homework are you going to give yourself from this article; enhancing not only your Leadership & Work/Life Harmony… but also that of those you’re leading?

“As a Leader, your job is now to do your People that are doing your old job AND your new administration tasks… it’s NOT either or… Be Mindful!”

                                                          – Andre Young

Written by: Andre Young

Want your Leaders, Employees, and Teams to better Communicate, Connect, and Create a Culture? Click www.youevolvingnow.com to chat and customize The World’s Best Leadership & Work/Life Harmony Training for your Organization!!!

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