Psychology and Leadership: What Does Your Style Say about You?
leadership is a complex skill that is difficult to pin
down. Much of the research on the subject has focused on obvious traits such as
command, decision making, risk-taking, etc. While these definitions capture
much of what is widely recognized as leadership in business and politics, it
limits leadership to one or two of the six distinct human Perceptual styles.
There are many definitions of leadership, but heres the
version we prefer: leadership is when one person points in a direction and
others follow. This pointing in a direction can be obvious or it can be
subtle. Either way, heres the thing to remember: its not the nature of the
direction that determines leadership; its the existence of a reciprocal
relationship between leader and follower.
People follow a leader not because that person has a
certain Perceptual style, but because they recognizeeither consciously or
unconsciouslythat the leader possesses certain qualities:
Lets take a look at the first two of these five qualities now.
1. Their behaviors build on their
According to the Perceptual
styles Theory, people tend to find the most satisfaction and meaning in their
lives, no matter what they are doing, when their actions draw upon their
natural skills. It is also true that people are most effective and efficient as
leaders when they are using skills that are naturally supported by their Perceptual
Effective leaders are not only
aware of their own natural skills, they develop and use these skills as much as
is realistic, possible, and appropriate. Not only does this contribute to
personal satisfaction, it builds trust among followers.
Why? Because behavior that is in
tune with a leaders natural skills and abilities rings true to others, while
behavior that is incongruent with that persons Perceptual style comes off as
2. They are aware of their
limitations, and seek input from people with
perspectives different from their
One of the most important
aspects of the Perceptual style Theory is that everyones understanding of the
world is limited by their Perceptual style. While this is easy to grasp
intellectually, its challenging to remember this in the course of daily life.
Effective leaders tend to be
those who understand and accept that they have an incomplete view of the world,
and actively seek the advice and counsel of others with different Perceptual
styles to help them get a handle on the big picture in all its complexity.