temperament
Great leaders have the leadership skills to build great teams: How strategically are you building yours?

Being able to build a team with a mix of temperaments based on the problems you need to solve is a leadership skill worth mastering.

Different temperaments—Guardians, Artisans, Idealists, Rationals—tend to approach problems in different ways. As a leader, you’re always having to think about, react to, and ultimately solve problems. By understanding how the people on your team are also going to think about, react to, and solve problems, you can be more strategic when forming teams. You also tailor how you lead, advise, and communicate based on temperaments to help people perform at their best.

What does that look like in practice? Say you are looking to create a new line of business. A Guardian would look out and see what’s already working and proven in the industry. An Artisan would look beyond your industry to see what’s working elsewhere that could be applied here. A Rational would combine these, starting with what’s proven in the industry and then looking for the best-case scenario in trying to blend elements from other industries. An Idealist would be thinking more abstractly, exploring “what if” beyond the scope of what’s already tried and true.

These same kinds of tendencies would come into play in all of your projects, whether the goal is to create a system, a sales program, a procedure, etc.

So if you come in and say, “All right, we have to change everything and think out of the box…”

  • A Rational and Idealist are thinking, “All right, it’s about time.”
  • A Guardian is thinking, “Everything? Why would we change everything?”
  • And an Artisan is thinking, “Well, tell me when you get to something important and I’ll engage because I don’t believe you’re really going to change everything anyway.”

Teaming for success
Once you understand these differences, you can be mindful about forming teams for success and about engaging people on the team. Depending on the team’s purpose, diversity in temperaments can be very important. For example, if you bring 10 Guardians into the room, they’re going to give you—within a certain spectrum—a plan that’s similar to what’s been done in the past with different details. That might be awesome. But if you need different perspectives, you need to bring in different temperaments. If you’re seeking innovation, say, you need a different kind of thinker—a Rational or an Artisan. If you’re a people-based business or need a people-centric solution, you need an Idealist. There’s magic in the mix!

Has a project gone astray?
Also consider temperament if a project has gone astray and needs better organization. You could be getting ready to go to the moon, but if you can’t get anybody to park in the right parking places to launch the rocket, you aren’t going anywhere. These are different problems, so different thinkers are required to solve them. If you have a Rational and two Idealists in the room, you want to bring in three Guardians and say, “We need help! We’re up here in the clouds and we need you to structure this project in a way that makes sense to you.”

Does your project have the right leader?
Understanding these leadership traits is important for choosing project leaders as well as team members, whether the project is a full-blown initiative or simply leading a meeting. Think about the temperaments in relation to the leadership qualities your project needs. At the highest level, Guardians will be more logistical. Idealists? Diplomatic, so they’re always going to be able to connect with and understand where people fit in. Artisans are tactical: “How do I take advantage of the situation?” Rationals are strategic.

Choosing a leader with the right leadership traits for the task at hand not only sets up your overall project for success but also bolsters the individual leader with a strong foundation to be successful.

Hone your effective leadership skills
Think about a project or team you need to start up, or perhaps a project or team that is struggling. Ask yourself:

  • What are the goals of the project or team?
  • Who should lead the project?
  • How can the temperaments of those involved contribute to or detract from success?
  • How will I assign or reassign people accordingly?

How can we help your leaders and business excel?