Everyone wants to work for a strong leader, right?
A leader who is calm under pressure and energised in a crisis. Who thinks logically while others panic and who is steady and reliable.
But that same strong leader might also seem uncaring and withdrawn at times, preferring to hide any difficulties and being loathe admit any vulnerability or emotion.
Perhaps then it might be better to work for a leader with a quest for perfection?
Someone who thinks ahead, plans in detail and cares passionately about the quality of the work her team produces. She will accept nothing nothing but the best for her clients, her team and herself.
Yet the desire for perfection might bring with it delays, as work is checked over and again. And trust might be shared between a handful of ‘chosen ones’ rather than the wider team who might not quite reach the elevated standards she expects. If something goes wrong, blame might be apportioned quickly and perhaps randomly.
There are of course positives and negatives to all leaders and to all leadership styles, and one way that executive coaching can help leaders to accentuate the good and reduce the bad is to look at the five behavioural drivers identified by one of the world’s leading psychologists, Taibi Kahler.
The first leader mentioned above clearly has a strong drive to Be Strong, the second leader is driven by a need to Be Perfect. Other leaders might be under the influence of Kahler’s remaining drivers: Try Hard, Hurry Up and Please Others.
The five drivers are present in all of us, to a lesser or greater extent. Their relative potency will be determined by our early life experiences – the behaviours that were rewarded, punished or indulged as children and the examples that we saw from the adults around us.
By becoming aware of what’s driving them, leaders can better understand their behaviour and develop strategies to enhance their leadership skills. In particular, it might be the work of an executive coaching partnership to look at the triggers that cause the leader to switch from the positive to the negative aspects of their main driver.
In this way, the leader gains a greater sense of autonomy, and freedom from patterns of behaviour driven by their subconscious. They can lead and communicate with greater authenticity, reacting in real-time to what the situation needs of them, whether that’s a call for perfection or a show of strength.