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Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

  • June 5, 2022
  • minute read

What Your Team Isn’t Telling You About Your Leadership Skills 

Listen to Les McKeown read this blog post:

As you’ve heard from me many, many times, the single most important key to managing a organization in Predictable Success is something I call HQTBDM – the mind-numbingly mundane, yet incredibly important skill of consistent High-Quality Team-Based Decision-Making. 

And like any skill, the more you practice HQTBDM, the better you and your team will become at implementing it.

There is however one aspect of building your HQTBDM muscle that, by definition, many leaders fail to recognize, let alone engage with, and that is the blind spots caused by your personal leadership style

Let me explain what I mean:

All of us ‘show up’ as leaders exhibiting a combination of four key leadership styles: VisionaryProcessorOperator or Synergist.

Most of us are a mix of two or more of these styles, but we all tend to ‘lead’ with one style more than the other. (If you’re not sure of your style, you can find out quickly and easily here.)

As you might imagine, each of these four styles brings both strengths and weaknesses to the act of High Quality Team Based Decision-Making.

And as you might also imagine, we as leaders tend to acknowledge our own strengths, but we often fail to recognize our weaknesses.

Fortunately, our colleagues are quick to see them – even if lack of authority, internal culture, courtesy or just plain fear keeps them from sharing with us.

"As leaders, we tend to acknowledge our own strengths, but we often fail to recognize our weaknesses." - Les McKeown, Founder and CEO, Predictable Success

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So, without further ado, here’s what your colleagues are probably not telling you about the role you play in High-Quality Team-Based Decision-Making

If you’re primarily a Visionary:

  • Too often you ‘speak to think’. When you do that, there are many times when we can’t tell if you’re just musing out loud about something or if you’re being directive.
  • What you view as ‘healthy discussion’ is often perceived by us Processors and Synergists as being argumentative. When you get strident, it can make us feel threatened and shuts us down.
  • Your love of the big picture and ability to strategize is a great asset to us, but when you get bored with detail and disengage, it makes us Operators and Processors feel unappreciated. And when you shut us down, our otherwise great decisions end up half-baked and often don’t get implemented as a result.

If you’re primarily an Operator:

  • You are incredibly action-oriented, which we love, but it means you too often find ways to avoid meetings and discussion, which you see as a distraction from the ‘real work’. As a result, we often make decisions that lack your real-world, ‘will it fly’ perspective.
  • When you do make time to join us, you’re often distracted, bored or disengaged, and it drains the creative energy from the room.
  • Your blunt, plain-spoken approach allows us to cut through a lot of rigmarole, but you often don’t see the degree to which we Processors and Synergists can feel disrespected and hurt by some of the things you say – which in turn causes us to often want to work around you, rather than with you.

If you’re primarily a Processor:

  • We get it. We need data in order to make good decisions, and you do a great job in producing that data for us. We Visionaries and Operators would like you to see that a good decision also involves exercising good judgment and experience and ask you not to denigrate our use of it when needed.
  • We’re better as a team for your ability to see the downside in potential scenarios, and your acute risk management. We’d love to see you use your acute analytical skills more often in also making reasonable assessments of the ‘upside’ – the potential rewards and return of a great decision.
  • Your commitment to robust systems and processes brings us repeatability and scalability, which we need. There can be times when the rest of us feel that you’re more committed to those systems and processes than you are to us and the success of our organization. We know that’s not really true, but sometimes meetings with you can feel a little like being sent to the headmaster’s office.

If you’re primarily a Synergist:

  • You’re invested in the rest of us – our engagement, our well-being – and we love how you check in with us often and enjoy pop-ins, and water-cooler and corridor discussions. However some of us, especially us Processors and Operators, have a need for strong boundaries around our ‘productive times’, and we need for you to be more respectful of that.
  • Meetings with you are always fun, open, transparent and engaging. They can also often fail to get to the point, and we end up not addressing the key matter(s) at hand. It would be great if you could discipline yourself not to allow meetings to ‘wander off’ the agenda so often.
  • We have a lot of hard decisions to make – we’re running a complicated business after all. Sometimes we can’t spend the time internalizing and discussing our motivations and the impact on others just as much as you’d like to. We’d love it if you could learn to recognize when we’re in ‘triage mode’ and just need to make a decision and move on.

Now of course, for each one of those potentially negative bullet points above, there are tens of equally important strong points about your personal leadership style. But it's likely you hear about those more often 🙂

What about you? What might not your colleagues be telling you about the role you play in High-Quality Team-Based Decision-Making?

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!


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  1. Hi, I like to listen to articles like this. However, the SoundCloud service that you use does not allow you to listen at a faster rate. Can you consider using a different service?

  2. Hey – great to see you here!

    What about you? What might not your colleagues be telling you about the role you play in High-Quality Team-Based Decision-Making?

    Let me know in the comments below!

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