Colours of leadership

A frustrated sigh whooshed from my frozen lungs.My older son raced up the snow pile to push his brother down the hill. Jumping up and down, he beat on his chest, “I’m the boss.”“No, I get to be boss,” my youngest yelled as he tackled his prancing brother.The chatter of children arguing that they are best suited to be leader rattles in my brain.As a consultant, I hear this rant when I go into organizations. Adults are a little more sophisticated than kids, but they limit their thinking to believing they are best suited to being a leader.DISC behavioural psychology describes four distinct behavioural styles, each with strengths and weaknesses.Red is a big picture thinker.Yellow is most concerned about people and emotions.Green wants to ensure there is a logical plan to get results.Blue pays close attention to the detail.Each style—red, yellow, green and blue—has the potential to be a leader. Different leadership styles are best suited to different stages of business development.Red (Dominance)The red leader is focused on results. Big picture and bottom line. Red leaders are direct and encourage confrontation, being unaware of conflict. They’re future-oriented, striding toward the next big idea.Red leaders are well-suited to direct startups, getting stuff done, ensuring there is enough money to breathe into the next month.The red leader’s weakness is bulldozing over people, leaving a path of unfulfilled employees, carelessly acquired assets, and wasted stops and starts.Routine does not jive with the reds, and they often glance over the steps needed to get to the finish line. They thrive and are happiest in a changing environment with new challenges—not problems—to keep them entertained.Yellow (Influence)The yellow leader is charismatic, building people up and resolving conflict with ease. They thrive with human interaction and the opportunity to focus on making a difference.In the lifespan of an organization, yellow leaders are best suited to the stage of growth where people are needed. They are butterflies in a garden, and the flowers love them.The yellow leader’s weakness is their lack of attention to detail and their need to be liked by everyone. Ignoring the details will drive the detail-oriented people (the blues and greens) crazy.Accountability is not on the radar of yellow leaders; they want everyone to like them and if the work doesn’t get done, “Well, at least we’re having fun.”Green (Steadiness)The green leader is great at managing the middle line, taking care of the process. They love co-operation and harmony. The status quo is their friend.Green leaders embrace the how of an organization. They thrive when the business has rhythm and the dramatic ups and downs of a startup are over.Greens struggle with conflict, avoiding it at all costs. With any group of people, there is always some conflict. Unaddressed conflict leaves employees feeling unheard and not valued.It will take lots of convincing for green leaders to be open to change. Without change, even slow change, a company will be a failed dream.Blue (Compliance)No detail escapes the blue leader. They are hawk-eyed about details and numbers. They feel most secure with the brain-numbing detail of spreadsheet analysis. They fine-tune the organization, creating a smooth-running machine.The blue leaders are best suited at the quality control phase of the business. They thrive on maintaining high standards and ensuring that everything is done by the book.Analysis paralysis is the disease that limits their success. Gathering more and more information to ensure no mistake is made can kill the enthusiasm and forward motion of the rest of the team.Since they are detail-oriented thinkers, they are hard to convince without facts and can get stuck “in the box.” Their objectivity can make them come off as cold and can make networking a challenge.What happens when a leader moves on and a new leader takes on an existing team?When a new leader takes over, the team assumes since the new person is in the lead role they must be the same as the previous leader.When the new leader behaves differently, the team doesn’t understand and often does not accept the difference.A red leader had spent the past five years building a solid base of clients for a new accounting firm. The thrill of the build had evaporated and the thought of developing strategies to solidify and maintain the team and their clients exhausted him.He wanted and needed a new adventure.A green leader was hired as a replacement. No early introductions to the team. No acknowledgement of the growth stage of the business. Just plop—here is your new leader.The team expected the green leader to behave like the red leader—quick decisions, plowing ahead with new ideas, results and the quick fierce frown when things didn’t go as he thought they should.The team knew what to expect from their red leader.By contrast, the green leader was thoughtful and purposeful. He asked for feedback before implementing change. He would take a few days to get back to a team member if there was something he disagreed with. He was quiet and methodical.The challenge was the team was used to the behaviour of a red leader and when the green behaved exactly the opposite, they grumbled and complained. The leadership style had changed, and they did not have the language or the understanding to accept it. But they knew they didn’t like it.Enough complaints to head office, without any understanding or language besides “He just doesn’t fit in,” meant the green leader uprooted his family again and returned to his previous role.The unchallenged red moved back into leadership, and the turbulence continued.When organizations thoughtfully move people into existing roles, the change can bring success to the new leader, the organization and the team.Anyone from any style can say “I get to be boss.” If the needs of the business, based on its stage, and the motivation of the potential leader align, there is great opportunity for success in guiding the business and its people.As the business evolves, there will be an opportunity for another colour to become the leader and stand at the top of the snow pile.
photograph
Myrna Selzler
Bodacious Artisan Foods Inc.
BABz Burgerz and Breadz
p: (250) 861-9303 toll-free (888) 720-2745
e: myrna@buybabz.com
West Kelowna
British Columbia, Canada
www.buybabz.com
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Ingredients:

1 pkg Classic Flatbread

1 c oatmeal

1/2 c coconut

1/3 c chocolate chips

1 banana, plus 1 cup water, blended

1 TB sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 small package of Easter Eggs

Instructions:

Blend and let rest for 10 minutes or more.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. I used 1 T of batter per cookie and it made about 35 cookies.

Top with chocolate easter eggs for fun!

Bake ate 350 for about 30 minutes. Enjoy!

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