The Promoter

The Promoter is the leader who explains clearly and passionately why something is really special and worthwhile.

I’ve known people who worked for a company for over 35 years and never said a bad thing about the organization. When they interacted with family members and friends and people in their neighborhood, they always spoke positively about the business. This had a very real way of influencing how other people thought about the organization.

Think back over the past month about how you talked about your organization to your family members, friends, and neighbors. The way you view your company will impact the way you interact with your co-workers and your customers.

Two Questions for The Promoter Approach to Leadership

1. Are you a promoter of your organization or do you tear it down when you are on your home turf?

2. What are three examples of how you talked about your company with people not associated with your business in the past month?

The Encourager

The Encourager is the leader who finds opportunities to encourage other people to do their best work.

My dad died on March 18, 2009. It was the day after St. Patrick’s Day. My dad was a great big Irishman and St. Patrick’s Day was his favorite day of the year so he hung in there for one more day. One of the things I loved the most about my dad was his encouragement.

Dad would watch another person in action. Then after the activity was over he would call the other person over to him, and he would say, “I just want you to know that I’m really, really proud of you for the way you handled that situation.” Then he would point out specific things that had happened so the other person knew he really was being sincere.

When you watch people in your organization at work and you see someone do something that really demonstrates an important behavior, go up to them and say, “I am really proud of you for the way you handled that difficult situation with a customer. (Or whatever it was.) I noticed how you calmly listened and then delivered real help to that person. Thank you very much.”

Two Questions for The Encourager Approach to Leadership

1. What is something positive that you noticed someone doing in the past week?

2. How can you encourage that person to let him or her know that you noticed the tremendous effort and are very appreciative of the action? (Will you make a phone call, send a text, have a face-to-face conversation, write an email, jot off a handwritten note, etc.?)

The Visionary

The Visionary is the leader who explains clearly what success will look like when it is achieved.

This was Walt Disney’s particular strength. In the making of the film, Snow White, he acted out the parts of Snow White, the evil queen, and the seven dwarfs so the animators could see what the final version was supposed to look like.

Two Questions for The Visionary Approach to Leadership

1. If your organization, or your part of the organization, is truly successful two years from now, what will that success look like? (Consider bringing a small group of people together to discuss what that picture of success would look like if your organization is truly successful.)

2. How can you explain to your employees what that success will look like two years from now for your organization or your part of the organization? (Can you add in detailed descriptions and explain it with enthusiasm so the picture of success becomes crystal clear for everyone? In doing so, you will help people see how their efforts today are moving toward making that vision a reality.)

The Orchestrator

The Orchestrator is the leader who thinks through the sequence of activities and conversations that need to occur in order to improve a result.

Through discussions with executives in a wide variety of corporations I’ve learned that it is not enough to know what to do and who to meet with in order to improve a result or gain support for a new project. You have to think through the order of who to talk to first, second, and third, and which activity needs to be accomplished first, second, and third. If you just move into action without orchestrating the sequence of people and events, then you may very well never gain any support or momentum for the project.

Two Questions for The Orchestrator Approach to Leadership

1. Who are five individuals or groups that you need to gain the support of in order for your project to succeed?

2. In what order do you need to meet with these people to gain their support so that in the end your project will gain the support it needs to succeed?

The Coach

The Coach is the leader who engages the other person in a conversation through meaningful questions and offers advice based on watching his or her performance.

In an athletic event, the coach stands on the sideline and observes the players. He or she watches what each player does that is effective and ineffective. When a player comes off the field the coach shares those observations and discusses them with the person.

You can do the same in your business. Observe an employee while he or she is in action. Don’t interrupt the person or intervene to help. Just watch. Then when the activity is over share what you observed and engage the other person in a private conversation about what just happened. You might say, “I noticed every time Colleen spoke you listened, but every time Suzanne spoke you interrupted her. Why is that?” By basing your input on observed behaviors rather than on general statements, you can have a greater impact on the individual.

Two Questions for The Coach Approach to Leadership

1. Who can you invest some time in observing today?

2. After you observe this person, what questions can you ask or what insights can you share to cause this person to think about leveraging his or her strengths more effectively in the future?