Work styles - mix and match for the most effective style

Dec 11 19:36 2005 Linda Finkle Print This Article

Follow along with Jane and Bob, fearless management heroes, as they traverse the depths of work environments and pull together a team, while taking into consideration workstyles of leaders and team members alike!

Jane and Bob have their team,Guest Posting and they are very happy with them. They understand each team member's work style, and now they can eliminate and minimize any negative impact caused by putting together people whose work styles are not complementary. In addition, Jane and Bob can actually use their understanding of work styles to create a more cohesive team.

Let's find out what Jane and Bob already know.

When Jane and Bob talk about work styles, they're referring to each team member's work style, how he or she gets work done, as well as leadership work styles, how leaders lead.

Leadership work styles include

authoritative/decisive - This leader is a take charge type, confident, and decisive. She delegates details and responsibilities well, and has a great demand for perfection. Think "take charge!"

persuasive - This leader type gets things done through influence. He influences convincingly and with determination. He believes in people, and is devastated when someone lets him down. This person is an effective and enthusiastic team builder. He is all about people.

caretaker/persistent - She is usually promoted from within, and employees respect her. She has a stabilizing effect and keeps things running harmoniously; however, she prefers the pace to be set by another, external source. She can then take action and adjust as needed. She makes the best of what comes along and persistently presses towards the goal. She's the diplomat.

procedural/traditional - He follows the systems that have already been established. He is an effective leader through factors of rules, regulations, and proven methods. Accuracy, quality, and a high regard for uncompromising interest in correct results define this leader.

Whatever the leadership style, each can get the job done, the action items checked off, and the goal met. However, it doesn't just stop with knowing what the leader's work style is. The leadership work style must work and play well with others, meaning the work styles of the team members.

Matching the leadership work style with the team's needs and work styles will be more effective than not paying attention to it at all. For example, if Jane and Bob have members on their team that do not respond well to decisions being made without their input, then an authoritative/decisive leadership style is not going to work well.

Members' work styles include

dominance - She automatically knows if it works or not, and her primary concern is getting things done. She's action-oriented, fast, and decisive, but she can be impatient with implementation, for example, if it takes too long.

extroversion - He tends to say, "That will work, but it would be even better if…" He works well with others, is creative, and wants to include/encourage others. He can also be diverse, but he loathes the detail, except in presentations. He can get carried away with too many ideas, so a good leader must limit his focus.

pace/patience - She needs time to think about it, although once she gets going, she's dependable, works methodically, and gets routine jobs done with little resistance. She can only take on one new task at a time, and she is paced to the deadline. She can often get lost in the importance of completing the task, and can't always foresee what else is needed to complete the task.

conformity - He will compare the way you're doing it now to how it has been done in the past, and point out all the reasons it can't be done this way. He's very organized, has deliberate actions, and is thorough and punctual. His work will be accurate and complete.

So what?

Jane and Bob, knowing what the various work styles of their staff are as well as their own leadership styles, can mix and match accordingly. They know that someone with a conformity work style is best led by someone with a procedural/traditional leadership style But what if there's no choice? If Jane and Bob are both persuasive, not procedural/traditional, they need to understand that a high conformist team member likes rules, procedures, and details. The more specific they can be with their conformist team members, then the more productive and happy (which means even more productive) the team members will be.

Jane and Bob also know the following

Often team conflict arises due to differences in work style between the leader and the team. It could be a work style difference, or may even be a cultural or gender issue

Team conflict can arise when you have the wrong people (from a work style perspective) placed in the wrong role or position on the team

Matching the work styles with the roles and tasks and with other team members will produce a more effective team with less conflict

If they can't match (which is more likely), then knowing the work style characteristics of their own leadership style as well as those of the team members will make the project run more smoothly, keep it on track, and keep everyone happy - which all translates into a successful project.

Jane and Bob are off to mix and match to get the best, most effective team for their project!

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Linda Finkle
Linda Finkle

Linda Finkle, CCG, MCC, CDMP, is an expert on businesses, planning, and success.  Sign up for "How to Lead Them To Water AND Get Them To Drink" at so that you, too, can create efficient work environments and effective teams.

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