There is a lot of variance there. It comes down to the needs of the company.
The central premise of servant leadership is that the leader meets the needs of the follower so that the follower can meet the needs of the organization.
The bulk of our ongoing services involve us meeting the needs of the leaders so that they can continue to meet the needs of their followers.
If the organization has unique or changing needs (growth, acquisition, new product innovation, etc.) this creates more complexity for the follower, which creates more complexity for the leader, which can extend how long they work with us.
Many clients see value in our standard intake process and are able to operate on their own afterward. Others want ongoing monthly support. The average length of engagement is 12-18 months, however we have a few clients who have been with us for over 5 years and counting.
While our services are theoretically universal in that all organizations would see benefit in clarifying their culture, growing their emotional intelligence and improving their leadership, we have carved out a niche that we work incredibly well with.
1) Organizations of between 20-200 people: These organizations have enough people to be having the ‘collisions’ we help with yet are compact enough to be able to scale what we teach across the entire organization. We also require direct access to the C-Suite within our clients on an ongoing basis and this proves difficult in larger, more bureaucratic structures.
2) Fast Growth Companies: growth tests cultural alignment and EQ. We make sure companies pass that test.
3) Companies with Outbound Sales functions: Client Engagement is the mirror image of Employee Engagement. The methods we teach to grow employees can easily be redeployed to grow sales.
The more of these attributes a company has, the faster they tend to see value from our services.
There are three situations when it makes the most sense to be engaging us:
1) If you are hiring: hiring offers the best chance to begin working on alignment and engagement because it is when you will have the most control over whom you add to your team. In fact, a lot of the processes used in our full intake program are the foundation of our recruitment offering.
2) If you have a leader who has been in their role for less than a year:60% of new leaders fail within 24 months. A lack of EQ in the leader, an inability to have effective conflict in a team, and an overall lack of alignment are just a few of the major contributors to this, and all are problems we happen to solve. We increase the success rate of new leaders. Period.
3) If you are facing disruption: nothing tests a culture and its people more than chaos and uncertainty. Boosting emotional intelligence and increasing psychological safety have been proven to neutralize the damaging effects of these variables.
If you have one of the above issues we should talk. If you have two or more, we should talk now.
However, even if you are engaging with your people more, unless you have an otherworldly level of emotional intelligence, you are still operating out of your own Behavioural Blindspots.
The best way to know if this is true for you or not is feedback. This is why we offer free employee engagement surveys and free leadership 360 reviews for all prospective clients.
We offer these for free because A) we are on a mission to increase feedback in all organizations and B) the vast majority of people who complete one of these assessments see the value in what's produced and convert into long-term clients.
- determine every employee's Behavioural Colour and Emotional Blindspots.
- run half-day WorkplaceEQTM sessions for all employees to allow them to begin to grow their emotional intelligence.
- bookend the entire process with a comprehensive report called an Engagement Audit that tells you exactly what the needs of the organization are, the current ability of your employees to meet those needs, and the subsequent support and direction your leaders must give them as a result.
For those leaders requiring some support and direction on how to deliver the support and direction they must give their followers, we offer Ongoing support. Each monthly package includes:
- A monthly face-to-face or virtual meeting open to all leaders to offer full executive coaching and guidance on how to further the culture.
- A quarterly “town hall” training session open to all staff.
- unlimited 15min ‘micro-Coaching’ calls with a CultureSmith coach for any member of the organization who manages another.
- access to the client-only resource portal full of teachings on organizational psychology, behavioural mechanics, emotional intelligence and much more.
These are offered on an as needed basis and help ensure that every new person you add is a true fit for the culture you have worked so hard to build. Full details on this service can be found here.
It is important to know that we are not consultants in the conventional sense. We are not here to solve your problems. We are here to grow a better version of you so that you can solve your own problems (and stop creating new ones).
The clients who get the most out of working with us are the ones who do the homework we give them because they are after the growth as much as they are the results.
We are like a personal trainer for your subconscious and your culture. We’ll design your workout, tell you exactly what to eat and we’ll spot you as you lift so that you don’t hurt yourself, you just won’t get any of the value if you expect us to lift the weight for you too.
Engagement is the emotional connection an employee has with their company’s values & objectives.
It is not the amount of effort someone brings to their job, it is the amount of discretionary effort they bring. Those who are more engaged bring more effort because they want to, not because they are being ‘bribed or threatened’ into doing so.
We actually argue that the focus should not be on measuring engagement it should be on maintaining it.
The challenge with measuring engagement is that leaders often fall into the trap of trying to move the needle on an score from a survey as opposed to fulsomely interacting with their teams.
If you want a measure of how people are feeling...just go ask them. If you feel you can't you either have an issue with psychological safety, emotional intelligence or both. Neither of these two factors will show up on an engagement survey despite the fact that addressing them is what will actually lead to improved engagement.
Technically engagement should be owned by all. All members of an Executive team should actively try to be the living embodiment of their culture and values.
That said, we have seen the most success when those in charge of operations are empowered to be the steward of engagement initiatives as they are the ones that tend to see the early returns on those initiatives and are therefore well suited to determine what is and is not working.
Theoretically your entire employee base can be disengaged and your company can still be successful, it just becomes a question of cost.
Engaged employees stay for what they give. Disengaged stay for what they get. If you are ‘giving enough’ you can get a high level of productivity from disengaged staff. You simply do not have that cost (nor the risk of people changing what they wish to get) when you have a team of engaged people who are with you for the right reasons.
The simplest distinction between motivation and engagement is that motivation is typically tasked-based while engagement is team or organization-based.
Someone can be highly motivated because they find their job or role enjoyable, yet still disengaged if they are not aligned with the team they are on or company they are a part of. This results in them doing their job well but with little regard for how their job impacts others around them.
This is why we encourage leaders not to measure engagement through productivity alone.
There are three psychological measures of job satisfaction: significance, stimulation and autonomy.
Significance refers to how meaningful the work is to the person, stimulation refers to how enjoyable the tasks are themselves and autonomy refers to how much independence someone feels they have.
As with motivation, these can all be considered role-based, meaning someone can have high levels of job satisfaction yet be considered at least moderately disengaged if they are not aligned with the values and objectives of their company.
This is a great question and we argue that confusion here leads to more failed engagement initiatives than anything else.
Engagement is the emotional connection an employee has with their company's values and objectives. As we've said before engaged people stay for what they give, disengaged stay for what they get.
Employee experience is the day-to-day experience your employees have. Companies that focus on enhancing experience without understanding the psychology behind engagement run the risk of inadvertently 'creating getters' by trying to solve engagement by giving them more things to enhance their experience.
Organizational commitment comes in three forms: Affective, Normative and Continuance.
Affective commitment is when people stay with an organization because they want to.
Normative commitment is when people stay with an organization out of obligation. They feel they ought to.
Continuance commitment is when people stay with an organization because they have to.
Affective commitment is therefore the only form that is a product of true engagement. Because it is often difficult to distinguish between the three types of commitment (unless you have an environment safe enough that people will be honest with you) we typically recommend against using commitment (aka turnover) as a measure of engagement.
Emotional Intelligence is a person's ability to manage their feelings so that those feelings are expressed appropriately and effectively.
It includes the ability to interpret emotions, to access and generate emotions to assist with decision-making, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to actively regulate emotions in order to promote intellectual growth.
WorkplaceEQ is CultureSmith’s proprietary interpretation of Emotional Intelligence as it relates to triggers commonly found within the workplace.
It focuses on first distinguishing between individual vs organizational issues (is this a problem in my team or am I merely perceiving it as such?).
It then further distinguishes between issues of self vs organizational awareness (do I know my triggers and how my environment may bring them out) as well as issues of self vs organizational regulation (how do I control my triggers / set my organization up to minimize triggers?).
There are no shortage of assessments claiming to measure emotional intelligence.
The challenge is that self-awareness is the first dimension of EQ and if someone lacks self-awareness it is difficult for them to answer assessment questions honestly.
We have developed a set of EQ Baseline Questions. When incorporated into regular 360 Degree Feedback sessions, these have proven to give individuals the awareness they need to begin to improve their EQ, as well as the feedback to determine if it is working.
Emotional Intelligence is merely one aspect of a person’s personality with the other two major components being their Behavioural Style (how they prefer to interact with their world) and their Values (how they see the world).
Emotional Intelligence happens to be the most pliable aspect of personality. Meaning, with the right training, a person can grow to ‘change their personality’ by changing this particular dimension of their personality.
The simplest way to view EQ is to see it as a muscle. If you wanted to improve your muscular strength you would follow a daily workout routine and diet. EQ is the same.
The daily workout routine is a set of prescribed cognitive exercises designed to increase your self-awareness and self-regulation. The diet is a steady dose of feedback on how your exercises are changing the way you are behaving and showing up in different settings.
As with trying to transform your body physically, transforming yourself emotionally requires ‘daily sets and reps’ and the determination to stick with them.
Technically emotional intelligence would occupy the grey area between trait and skill.
Again growing your EQ is like growing a muscle. Everyone can grow their muscles to be stronger and everyone can grow their EQ as well. In this way it is like a skill that can be developed.
However, genetics can play a role in muscular development. One person may workout and see gains immediately where another may take more time to see noticeable results. EQ mirrors this as well and in this way it can be viewed as a trait.
So while there are some who may become more emotionally intelligent than others, everyone can (and should) continually improve in these areas.
Social intelligence is technically the highest level of emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence has five dimensions: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and social agility.
Social Intelligence is the ability to not only recognize and regulate your own emotions but recognizing and influence the emotional of others, in constructive ways, often in a group setting where multiple personalities are present.
In short, achieving a high level of social intelligence is the goal of anyone looking to commit themselves to developing their emotional intelligence.
It represents over 58% of all success in all jobs which is why it is the first thing a leader should instill within their followers and the first thing a follower should grow if they ever wish to become a leader.
However, think of it the same way you think of physical fitness.
If you have engaged in a lifetime of poor eating and low activity, the later you start in life the more difficult it will be to become fit.
Conversely, if you were taught the elements of a healthy lifestyle from birth, not only would you be in better shape, your capacity to be in EXCEPTIONAL shape would grow. An unhealthy lifestyle does damage to your body and cells that a change in lifestyle may not be enough to completely correct.
This is the primary reason why when we teach EQ in the workplace, we make our programs applicable at home, so that every leader and employee we work with is given the tools to give their children an edge they never had.
Measuring psychological safety can be done using a very simple assessment. If you are interested in having this assessment done, please contact us and we will administer it at no charge.
However, we offer these free assessments only to those who are serious about change. Measuring psychological safety should not be the goal of leaders. Establishing it and maintaining it should and that requires extensive effort and growth.
Psychological safety is often confused with trust when they are in fact different.
Trust is the level of security a person feels with another person. Safety is the level of security a person feels within their team.
In fact if a person has trust with another but not safety with their team, their desire to engage the person they trust can often lead to silos within the team, which itself leads to a host of other damaging issues.
This is one of the most common (and one of the best) questions we get.
Maintaining safety in a team does not mean you are no longer allowed to hold members of the team accountable. It means that how you hold them accountable must be correlated back to the needs of the team.
Any form of accountability that feels as though it exacts a measure of revenge is not accountability, it is blame.
Accountability that shows the offending party how their action or inaction damaged the team, and how damage to the team prevents the company from executing on their stated mission is not the absence of psychological safety but rather the byproduct of it.
You can absolutely feel psychologically unsafe as a leader and many leaders we've encountered suffer from this.
Again, safety comes down to managing the impressions others have of you. If concern about how you will be perceived as a leader (or a person) directly causes you to alter your leadership in a way you would not otherwise, this can be seen as a consequence of low safety.
ALL members of a team must feel the team is a safe place for interpersonal risk-taking and that includes you as a leader. You simply have both the opportunity and responsibility to establish safety given your postion.
Safety is just as important, if not moreso, with virtual teams. The only difference is the manner in which you establish it.
The goal of safety is to increase feedback. This can happen more organically when people are in the same room together. Managing a virtual team requires more conscious effort on the part of the leader to check-in proactively and solicit feedback from team members and then distribute it to the rest of the team to show modelled behaviour of how interaction should be happening.
The simplest way to distinguish these two terms is to know that one deals with groups and the other within an individual.
Psychological safety is a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.
Emotional safety is being able to identify what it is we are feeling and embracing a willingness to feel them.
While related, these can be mutually exclusive. A leader can create a high expectation of risk taking and safety in a team, however a member of that team may not be able to process how they are feeling due to a lack of personal emotional safety.
This is why our program focuses so heavily on growing the emotional intelligence of all team members in addition to helping leaders create psychological safety, so that those efforts actually pay dividends.
The easiest way to understand this is to think of safety as a precursor to inclusion.
Safety tells members of a team it is safe to take interpersonal risks: to ask questions, own mistakes and not worry about these things impacting the impression others have of them.
Inclusion refers to someone feeling as though they are an integral part of their workplace environment. Essentially, inclusion is the compound effect of unwavering safety over time, combined with the work product the person is allowed to produce as a result. the more meaningful this is, the more inclusion one feels.
We prefer to think of servant leadership as something to be practiced as opposed to learned.
The concept and structure of servant leadership can be learned. However, the three primary variables (needs of the organization, needs of the follower, style of the leader) are interconnected and constantly shifting. A change in one requires changes in the others.
Given this constant shifting, it is not something that can be learned academically. It must be learned experientially.
Implementing servant leaderships is a three step process.
First you must determine the needs of your organization. Once these are clear you must distill them into tasks and metrics that are given to each employee so that they know exactly what they are expected to do to meet these needs.
The second step is to gauge your follower’s levels of mastery and motivation to meet those needs.
Finally, you as a leader then meet any gaps in mastery with increased direction and any gaps in motivation with increased support.
Any gaps you have in mastery or motivation in providing this direction and support should be supplemented by you seeking the direction and support you require to be the leader your organization needs you to be.
The best way to measure servant leadership is to determine operational metrics that show the degree to which the needs of the organization are being met.
Next you would administer servant leadership specific 360 reviews on all leaders where they are scored on the degree to which they are meeting their followers needs, as well as the correlation between the follower’s having their needs met and the organizational objectives being hit.
We construct these for clients routinely. If you’d like to discuss having them built for your team contact us here.
Yes, anyone can become a servant leader and we argue that everyone should.
The first step is to determine what your natural leadership style is. That can be done by completing this assessment.
This will give you a baseline indication of the type of leader you prefer to be. From here you would need to determine the type of leader you need to be which again is a product of the needs your follower needs you to meet for them. For help with this book a free call here.
Servant leadership, when executed properly, is the most agile form of leadership.
The role of the leader is directly correlated back to the needs of the follower, which themselves are directly correlated back to the needs of the organization. As the needs of the organization change, all of the other variables are adjusted accordingly.
Given the amount of volatility business face we would argue that it is in fact the best form of leadership as it adjusts to any and all situations.
Traditional leadership, also known as conventional leadership can be considered both linear and extractive. A leader harvests the will and resources of their followers in service of the organization.
Servant leadership by comparison should be viewed as cyclical and renewable. It begins with the needs of the organization being identified, then compared against the abilities of the followers to meet them. Any gaps identified then become the sole job of the leader to address. In this way the organization is serviced because the follower’s needs are met first. This creates more support, more direction and less burnout and chance of toxicity which is why it is a more renewable and less extractive form of leadership than conventional models.
Toxic leadership requires three variables in order to exist:
An insecure leader,
A threat the leader can position as a reason for others to allow them to consolidate their power and influence,
An environment (culture) full of Colluders and Conformers who either see selfish benefit in allowing the leader to consolidate power or are too afraid to challenge them.
Servant Leadership removes the leader from the centre of their own universe and puts them in direct service of others while also ensuring a team free of collusion and conformity. In other words servant leadership does not provide the ecosystem necessary for toxic leadership to grow.
The wonderful thing about servant leadership is both its scalability and universality.
The primary difference between industries are the needs companies within them have. Given that servant leadership starts with those needs being met by followers whose needs are being met by their leaders, the framework can be applied anywhere. Once the needs our ‘input’ the actual output of tasks will change, but the framework is the same across all organizations.
Conflict is a healthy and essential part of all workplaces.
However, when that conflict starts to become unhealthy, it can often be described as a toxic culture.
Toxic is not a formal psychological term but rather a description of how people often feel when dealing with certain individuals. Toxic describes interactions where boundaries are often blurred and where behaviours are felt to be adversarial. Toxic cultures are not driven by mutual care and support but are often skewed to accommodate an individual’s needs and demands.
Conflict on the other hand can be seen as the necessary friction to create growth and prosperity for a team.
The first step in managing workplace conflict is to understand that it shows up in two different forms: task conflict and relationship conflict.
Task conflict is any disagreement focused on the goal or content of the work. Relationship conflict is any other form of interpersonal conflict.
Managing workplace conflict effectively is ensuring that your team has a high level of acceptance of task conflict to ensure innovation occurs, results are met and processes are improved, while simultaneously ensuring that a low level of relationship conflict occurs to keep team cohesion intact.
The Toxic Triangle refers to the three variables that need to be in place in order for Toxic leadership to emerge. These variables are:
An insecure leader,
A threat the leader can position as a reason for others to allow them to consolidate their power and influence,
An environment (culture) full of Colluders and Conformers who either see selfish benefit in allowing the leader to consolidate power or are too afraid to challenge them.
Think of these three variables as forming the three sides of a triangle. The presence of any one or two of these variables would mean that leadership is dysfunctional, however all three need to be present in order for the ‘circuit to close’ and manifest in actual toxic leadership.
Creating functional leadership is therefore a deliberate process of addressing each variable: the insecure leader through boosting their EQ, the perceived threat by creating enough cognitive diversity on the team that no one person can be seen as the solution to any problem, and the removal of colluders and conformers by aligning all stakeholders on a shared set of values that put the organization’s needs ahead of all other’s.
The answer to this question largely comes down to a matter of organizational commitment which can be broken into three types.
Affective Commitment means you stay because you want to.
Continuance Commitment means you stay because you have to.
Normative Commitment means you stay because you feel you ought to.
In our experience remaining with a toxic culture long enough to turn it around is only ever accomplished if you are experiencing Affective Commitment and the culture in question matters to you.
Turning around a toxic culture can be done, but it requires a lot of work, a lot of help and is emotionally draining. Those with Continuance Commitment usually suffer stress and burnout while those with Normative suffer guilt and burnout. Only those who know they are there because they want to be, and want to be an agent of change, stand to have enough emotional commitment to weather the storms.
Conflict by definition is a disagreement between two or more people. With a definition that broad, literally anything can be seen as a cause of conflict.
This is why cause should be first coupled with type.
The two types of workplace conflict are task conflict and relationship conflict. Task conflict is any disagreement about the goal or content of the work. Relationship conflict offers a bit of an umbrella where all other conflict lies.
Task conflict is often the result of growth and is therefore seen as essential.
Relationship conflict is often the result of poor EQ across the team and should therefore be seen as preventable.
Conflict in the workplace is not only inevitable, it is essential.
As we’ve said in other places on this site, think of conflict like cholesterol: there is healthy cholesterol and unhealthy cholesterol. If you fail to have enough healthy cholesterol, you have a problem. If you have too much unhealthy cholesterol, you have a different problem.
Conflict is the same, you need high levels of healthy conflict and low levels of the unhealthy kind.
Fail to make this distinction and your team can fall into the trap of avoiding conflict altogether, which leads to a drop in performance and in extreme cases outright business failure.
The two preventative measures are establishing conflict acceptance within your team and the other is creating a high degree of resolution potential.
Conflict acceptance is the accepted group norms regarding conflict and communication. These can be either explicit or implicit in nature.
Resolution potential is the degree to which a team believes that conflict can be resolved when it occurs.
The primary factor that allows for a team to have conflict in general is the shared belief that the conflict can be resolved no matter how large it is. Teams who fear that conflict will escalate into larger emotional issues tend to avoid conflict altogether, even when it is seen as essential to achieving a goal.
The third factor is the emotional intelligence of the team members. Self-regulation, empathy and social agility are all dimensions of EQ and all have a positive impact on a team’s ability to resolve conflict.
addressing the leader’s insecurity that triggers the toxic leadership through intensive emotional intelligence training.
Aligning the company on a shared purpose and values so that the perceived threats that toxic leaders use to attempt to consolidate their power are seen as insignificant in comparison to the purpose and values
Building a culture free of Colluders and Conformers by bring team members that are aligned with the values of the culture and establishing that culture on the principles of psychological safety.
Yellows bring many assets to an organization however some of the major ones often include:
1) Creative problem solving: Yellows tend to be abstract, non-linear thinkers.
2) Optimism and excitement: Yellows have an infectious excitement when they sell ideas they are passionate about.
3) Highly Motivating: the infectious excitement they bring often influences others around them.
4) Conflict Negotiation: Yellows are persuasive and highly verbal. While they tend to avoid conflict as they are sensitive to negative experiences, in situations where conflict cannot be avoided they tend to have strong ability to revolve it using their words.
All four Behavioural Colour Profiles has certain restrictions. Some of the major ones for Yellows can be:
1) Over Promise and under deliver: Yellows are an unfettered optimists, who are quick to trust and quick to speak. They also wish to be seen as Credible. As a result they tend to make promises they will be unable to keep as their optimism of their own ability and that of others rarely align with reality. Combined with their struggle to say no, they will often find themselves in difficult situations of their own creation
2) Struggle with the Details: Boredom is the danger zone mood state for Yellows. When loaded with detail they can disengage.
3) Under Instruct / Think They Have Delegated: Easy Trust + Optimism of Others Ability + Fear of Detail + Verbal as opposed to written communication style = Yellows assuming people "get it" right off the bat. This leads to major issues when tasks are not delivered as hoped because others were missing key information or their abilities were over estimated. In extreme situations, this will leave Yellows feeling as though others are not buying into their Vision, when in reality, they have failed to properly communicate it.
4) Trust the Wrong People: Yellows struggle to turn trust off. Others can prey upon that. Having a "sober second look" (ideally outsourced to Blue) mitigates this.
Yellow leaders should be most concerned about their tendency to shift direction often and without warning and the impact this has on those around them.
Not only does this routinely lead to inefficiency, it can have followers lose faith that the Yellow leader knows what they are doing when they fail to stick to any one initiative until they see it through.
With enough focus on self-awareness (knowing how your Yellow impacts you) you can begin to strengthen your self-regulation (recognizing when being Yellow is a liability and shifting to whatever other Colour is needed).
However, once that situation has passed, you will naturally shift back to being Yellow when you are ‘at rest’.
Greens bring several assets to an organization but among the major ones are:
1) Commitment to a Leader and a Cause: Greens are highly conscientious and when they can anchor their passion to something or someone that matters they tend to have an unwavering commitment to that person or ideal.
2) Superior Listening: to Greens listening is not a skill, it is a part of who they are.
3) Peacekeeping: Greens seek harmony and are often concerned with making sure others are ok. They will go out of their way to sure harmony lives within their teams.
4) Dependability and Loyalty: Greens form long term relationships and stick to them.
All four of the Behavioural Colour Profiles experience limitations. Here are just a few common to Greens:
1) Taking Criticism too Personally: it is often easy for Greens to interpret frustration with a situation as frustration with them specifically, especially when dealing with more direct communicators who do not take the time to establish rapport. They wish to see people happy, even those who confront them, which can lead to them taking on more emotional burden than necessary.
2) Difficulty in Establishing Priorities: to Green, everyone has value and they want to help them all. This can lead to them finding it difficult to rank the needs of one person above another leading to ambiguous or fuzzy priorities.
3) Providing a False Sense of Compliance: as an emotive listener who seeks harmony a Green will not always object when they disagree with something. This can easily lead to other parties construing their silence as tacit agreement.
4) Projecting a Lack of Urgency: Greens tend to work without a lot of bluster as they are not looking to be disruptive. This can lead to others feeling as though they lack drive, ambition or motivation.
Caveat: no person should be hired or not hired based on their Behavioural Colour.
That said Greens tend to thrive in roles where they are allowed to be in meaningful service of others and that service is readily recognized. These include account management, customer service, front line and assistant roles.
Roles that require a heavy results orientation with little human interaction are not as appealing. This does not mean that a green cannot do these roles it simply means they require increased emotional intelligence to do them well.
Leading a Green is best done by remaining mindful of their Connection Bias.
This involves sharing ‘your Why’ with those you lead. A Green establishes Connection with those they can see as good people. Being transparent about why things matter to you as a person above and beyond the metric in play is critical when it comes to establishing this type of connection with any Green but especially those you lead.
With enough focus on self-awareness (knowing how your Green impacts you) you can begin to strengthen your self-regulation (recognizing when being Green is a liability and shifting to whatever other Colour is needed).
However, once that situation has passed, you will naturally shift back to being Green when you are ‘at rest’.
All four of the Behavioural Colour Profiles experience limitations in the workplace. Here are the most common ones Reds experience:
1) Overstepping Boundaries: The Result is all that matters to Red. If they perceive that someone is not performing, they are often compelled to take the ball from them and run with it. In certain instances the fallout from this will impede the progress they are trying to create.
2) Direct and Confrontational: Reds have high task orientation, low people orientation and a healthy obsession with time. As a result they tend to see "niceties" as needless and inefficient. Left unchecked Reds can be viewed as bullies over time.
3) Taking on Too Much: Reds need to see things getting done quickly and efficiently and few will work at their pace. "If you want it done right, do it yourself" is the mantra of many failed Reds.
4) Tendency to Push instead of Lead: Reds seek feedback in the form of compliance. The initial reaction they get tells them that what they are doing is working. This can tempt them to push people to get a reaction instead of listening long enough to find an alternative solution.
Red leaders should be most concerned with their need for debate, and most specifically their need for their subordinates to ‘fight’ for their ideas.
Many Red leaders have mistakenly convinced themselves that people need to “pound the table” in support of their ideas in order for them to have merit. Rather they need to understand how to create the space the other three behavioural colours need in order to feel comfortable bringing their ideas forward.
Caveat: no person should ever be hired or not hired based on their Behavioural Colour.
That said roles that have a heavy results orientation, especially those that have a competitive element to them, tend to be appealing to Reds.
These include operations, outside sales, and executive leadership roles.
Roles that require people orientation decoupled from results are less appealing. This does not mean that Reds cannot do these roles, it simply means they need to work on improving their emotional intelligence to do them well.
The best way to lead a Red is to create the space to argue and debate with them.
Red’s hold the Convincing Bias which means that they need to be Convinced of something or someone before buying into them. This cannot happen without debate.
Therefore the best way to lead a Red is to throw out ideas and let them challenge them openly. Either you will convince them of the merits of your idea, in which case they will champion it, or their objections will make the idea better.
They key is to allow the debate to happen early and often.
With enough focus on self-awareness (knowing how your Red impacts you) you can begin to strengthen your self-regulation (recognizing when being Red is a liability and shifting to whatever other Colour is needed).
However, once that situation has passed, you will naturally shift back to being Red when you are ‘at rest’.
All four of the Behavioural Colour Profiles experience limitations in the workplace. Here are the ones most common to Blues:
1) Lean Too Much on Superior for Guidance: Blue’s need for data and careful thought coupled with their respect for process and order can in extreme situations lead to them placing heavy emphasis on "word from above" and can slow down projects as a result.
2) Hesitates to Act Without Precedent: Blue’s slow trust and high loyalty to what has already been proven can lead to potentially strong new ideas facing an unhealthy amount of up front scrutiny.
3) Does Not Verbalize Feelings: Blue’s introversion, strong listening ability and respect for a harmonious workplace may cause them to keep concerns they have to themselves leading to larger issues down the road.
4) May Struggle to Delegate: Blues hold themselves and those around them to high standards. Their lack of desire to verbalize can make it appear easier to do something themselves as opposed to going through the sometimes arduous task of educating and training subordinates and peers.
Blue leaders should be most concerned with their need for logic in what is becoming a highly ambiguous world.
Many ideas need to be implemented before they can be proven and a Blue leader’s need for clarity can often get in the way of this. Faith is not easily come by with Blues, but much of leadership requires it.
Caveat: no one should ever be hired or not hired based on their Behavioural Colour.
That said, roles that offer a high degree of analytics and manipulation of data are often appealing to Blues. These roles include finance, IT, engineering, etc.
Roles that require free thinking and ambiguity are often less appealing. This does not mean that Blues cannot do these job, it simply means they need to increase their emotional intelligence to do them well.
Blues are intrinsically motivated by Process. Bringing order to chaos is ‘fun’ for a Blue on many levels.
Motivating a Blue is actually best done by being mindful of what what demotivates them which is not being able to see a task or project through to completion. If you want to keep a Blue motivated, let them finish what they’ve started before shifting gears on them.
With enough focus on self-awareness (knowing how your Blue impacts you) you can begin to strengthen your self-regulation (recognizing when being Blue is a liability and shifting to whatever other Colour is needed).
However, once that situation has passed, you will naturally shift back to being Blue when you are ‘at rest’.
The secondary colours of a Blue are either Red or Green and this is a product of what triggers the Blue most: their time being wasted or other people’s feelings being disrespected.
If you are more triggered by your time being wasted, you are a secondary Red. If you are more bothered by other people’s feelings being slighted, your Secondary is Green.
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