How to Use Your Personality Type to Be a Better Leader
By Sarah Robson, Marketing Manager at Netstar.
When any new member joins the team here at Netstar, we always ask them to take a short personality profile to find out what animal they are. When I joined Netstar as Marketing Manager last year, I got the chance to take it myself. The outcome tells you what combination you are of four different types, Lion, Camel, Monkey, or Turtle. It also tells you which your dominant animal type is. So, what does it mean? Well if you’ve ever heard of Dr. Larry Little or Make a Difference, then you might already know. If you haven’t, you’re about to find out.
What is the personality profile?
Last week I attended a speaking session with Dr. Larry Little, the author of Make a Difference, a book which centres around filling out a short personality profile to better understand yourself and your communication style. According to Larry, the greatest myth about relationships is that they “just happen”. The first thing we were asked to do was complete the profile to determine our type. This involved choosing words out of groups of four, that you felt best applied to you. The outcome was a breakdown of scores for different animal types. The idea is that by understanding yourself better, you can learn to adjust your communication style to suit those around you. The ultimate goal is to become a better leader.
The greatest myth about relationships is that they “just happen”.
Each animal has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, lions are great at thinking about the big picture, but can sometimes be workaholics. Camels are great with detail, but can sometimes be overly critical. Monkeys have very strong people skills, but they can struggle with putting systems in place. Turtles are known to be wise and value one-on-one relationships, but can sometimes procrastinate.
The session centred around becoming a better leader. According to Larry we are all leaders, starting with leading ourselves.
We were asked to split up into our various groups of animals and carry out some tasks. They related to how we saw ourselves and how we saw other specific groups. The aim was to debunk myths we might believe about the other types, and to understand that although we may see ourselves a certain way, others will inevitably see us differently to how we think we are perceived.
Gaining an understanding of how each group views the other gives you a broad perspective of how we all operate differently. It highlights the things we need to be aware of, or do, to work more effectively with our colleagues.
It doesn’t just apply to the workplace, we can use it in our personal lives too. Say a Lion is married to a Monkey, or Turtle and they understand these principles; imagine the potential headaches that they might be able to avoid if they know how to better relate to each other!
I asked Larry for some advice for those taking the test for the first time, who might not know what it is about. This is what he said:
“The test is about helping you to become more aware of who you are, so you can invest more effectively in those around you.”
Dr. Larry Little, Eagle Center For Leadership
After what I have learned I can really see how effective it is in helping you understand yourself better and then to be able to adjust your communication style to suit those around you. I’ve already been putting some of it into practice and have found it extremely useful.
As a Lion/ Camel I realise that things I sometimes see as weaknesses in others, can actually be their biggest strengths; I just need to adjust my perspective in order to be able to see it. I also realise that the Camel side of me will always have high standards, and I need to sometimes go easy on myself and others if I feel these standards haven’t been met.
It’s important to learn how to adjust your communication style and bring out your other animal sides when dealing with others. It is also crucial to always remember to return to your ‘home quadrant’ (your own animal type), often enough so that you don’t burn out.
Can You Change Your Animal?
Your profile can change over time. In times of stress an individual is likely to revert to their secondary type. Say someone is a Monkey/ Camel, in times of stress they will revert to their Camel type.
You can also influence your animal type through your behaviour. Communication style is a choice not something which is set in stone. You can influence your type through the choices that you make and the behaviour you exhibit. If you make an effort to be more detail oriented and start breaking down tasks, over time this is likely to lead to you scoring more highly in the Camel quadrant. Your values will likely have adjusted according to your new behaviour pattern.
If you are interested in finding out more about what the Make a Difference personality profile means, or you want to find out which animal you are, you can take the personality profile here.
Or if you would like to speak to us about how we use this in our business, get in touch by filling out our online contact form, or call us on 02036 574 489.