How Does being more self aware as a leader make others want to work with you? written by Nick Roud, Executive Coach

if your actions inspire others to dream more; learn more; do more and become more, you are a leader - John Quincy Adams

Go on try it, name them! Name those leaders who you would jump over burning hot coals for, those who thru-out your career have inspired you, made you feel safe, loved, listen to and basically have left a positive lasting effect on you?

I can personally name 1 such leader (I will not mention names here as its not the right place) but let me share with you a very story - come along with me for a few mins and while I share a little more about this leader who really did all the above and more please think about this question,

“have you ever in your life, career had a leader you would walk over burning hot coals for (and what has he/she installed in you that you are now using in your leadership role!”

Leader 1: whilst I was working in London I was a little bit lost on my next step having spent a few previous years in a Chartered Accountancy firm and then moved to an exhibition organisation, I wasn’t that happy with my current role! I approached said leader and asked if I could spend some time in his team (of which I had viewed from afar) without hesitation he said something like - welcome to the family Nick, what took you so long!!! He and I spoke with my current manager and everything was agreed, so picture the scene if you can, centre of London day 1, new responsibilities, the world was my oyster!!, I was moving into a new division and a brand new environment, I couldn’t have been happier.

But what made this leader so good? Well, He believed in me, spent time sharing with me so much about the industry, about the purpose, about his journey, about his family, about what he expected from me, about how he wanted me to shine and be brilliant (not for him - but for me), his view on business and life just exposed me to see so much more and what was possible, he put me in positions to learn about things I may never have been exposed to …..and thats how the next 15 years went, my relationship and trust with him just grew, yes we sometimes disagreed and yes we sometimes needed to have a heated chat but those conversations had to happen for me to grow (don’t walk away from the tricky chats these sometimes show us the real essence of who we actually are!!)

If I look back now many years later and now living on the other side of the world raising a young family, I regularly revisit my time working for (and) with him and reflect just how special that time was for personal development.

Now don’t get me wrong, to me, this leader was very self aware and very comfortable in his own self.

As you read in the title of my blog today “does being more self aware as a leader make others want to work for you” well 100% this guy new his purpose, he new what he was very good at and he never hid away from where he did not have the skills. It wasn’t that he had given me the “opportunity” it was that when the time came to meet he had 100% time for me, all the pressures that goes with being a Managing Director with all the pressures he was probably under, he still took the time and made the effort to help me “grow”. Now that is leadership wouldn’t you say!

One day I will ask him what did he do to get to know himself better, was it coaching, was it learning, was it luck, what was it (and when I publish my book next year I hope to have him in it!!)

Over the years and probably from my “not so great time at school” I have truly been fascinated with so called “leaders” and what makes him/her really tick away from their title.

  • leaders on the sports field

  • leaders in the political space

  • leaders who made the world what it is today

  • leaders (who are not in the spotlight but continue to make such an impact on so many others),

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In my coaching business, Roud Career Coaching and with my ongoing quest (for the next 26 years) to partner and work with the absolute best around I am always deeply passionate about getting under the “lid”, getting under the persona and really engaging with people and on the back of this attitude I bought into my coaching business an online leadership tool called:- MLEI, Mattone Leadership Enneagram Inventory. It is so insightful, helpful to you the leader and relevant the executives, leaders and high potential individuals are truly benefiting.

If its ok with you I would like to share in my own words a little more about this powerful tool that in my view is putting the “Lead” back into a gapping hole that is Leadership!

And if on looking at this article and you feel you would like to work with me on your leadership, then feel free to get in contact.

Quick question for you before we get into it…… how can you possible Lead others if you firstly don’t know who your are as a Leader?

MLEI, Mattone Leadership Enneagram Inventory

Most of us have some idea of our inner-core (i.e. character, self-concept, values, thinking patterns, emotional make-up, etc) strengths and weaknesses, but we may not know much about how our inner-core strengths and weaknesses we possess translate into the “traits” that ultimately determine how you come across as a leader, which are the outer-core leadership behaviours we exhibit.

Put another way, your strength, vibrancy and maturity of your inner-core determines the strength, vibrancy and effectiveness of your outer-core.

Let’s also consider that there is no “correct” leadership style, because every organisation is different and needs to be led differently. But anyone who wants to excel as a leader needs to know where they are strong and not so strong both in the inner-core as well as the outer-core.

Truly great leadership is in my view less a “title” or function of what your predominant trait is and much more a function of the overall maturity of your traits, all of which combine to determine your leadership presence and effectiveness. 

So, do you know your predominant leadership traits? Do you know your maturity level? Do you really understand how your leadership style is helping or hindering those you serve those being your organisation, your board, your stakeholders, your teams?

The MLEI tool will assist you and will determine and answers both of these critical questions.

As a leadership tool the MLEI is less a personality inventory in that it doesn’t measure who you are or even why you do what you do as much as it is a measure of your potential to respond either maturely or immaturely to people and situations, especially when under stress. It is more of a leading indicator measure which can show you the leader both the “good signs” and “red flags” and will help you in navigating your ongoing journey.

The MLEI constructs (i.e. the nine types/constructs) I have put more context to these below, correlate with some of the 16 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), however, they are not the same assessment. The MLEI is in fact a deeper assessment of health, vibrancy and maturity of a leaders’ inner core which directly translates to their outer-core actions. 

The MLEI is completed on-line and does not take a great deal of time (15-20mins max). Once this has been completed a full detailed 12-page report comes to me, to which myself and you the executive will get to work.

The detailed 12-page report is what I like to call our “foundation work” and is a wonderful starting point in your coaching joinery. It displays scores on two separate scales or dimensions. One set of scores (identified as whole numbers) describes how active that trait is relative to your other traits. The trait that is the highest scoring trait is called “predominant” and, therefore, it is likely to translate and spill over to a leaders outer-core competencies and have the most impact on how they are viewed by others. In our database we have over 6,800 senior executives from all around the world so you will know you are in exceptional company!

The set of nine “whole numbers” tells us nothing about maturity. They only tell us about how active each trait is.  For each of the nine traits/scales the coachee can score from 12-60. The scaled mean for seven of the traits is 36. For one of the specific leadership traits “the Helper” trait the scaled mean is 29. This means that leaders tend not to activate this trait as much as their other traits and this happens for a variety of reasons including they might hesitate showing too much heart for fear of being seen as soft or weak. 

Please Note: The very best leaders are not afraid to be altruistic and show their heart as long as they are mature in demonstrating their heart—meaning they are authentic. For one of the other nine traits “the Artist trait”, the scaled mean is 31. This means that leaders, on average, tend not to activate their creativity, innovation and “thinking outside the box” as much as seven of their other traits.

If you see a number of scores in the 40’s and 50’s, this tells us that the leader has a strong presence and “aura”. If you see a lot of scores around 36 and less, this means that the leader has more of a quieter presence. Neither correlate with leadership success. In fact, the higher one scores on the MLEI, the more likely it is they have the potential for immaturity. 

The second set of scores (decimals) represents the maturity scale. For each of the nine traits and the aggregate scale, the leader can score from -.8 to +.8, with the + side being the mature side. The analogy to explain: Think of cholesterol. We have good and bad cholesterol. The bad cholesterol tends to spike when under stress. This is no different than what we see with the MLEI traits. Under stress, we are much more likely to activate the immature or “bad cholesterol” side of the trait.The -.8 to +.8 scale is theoretical. Statistically, we see scores ranging from -.4 to +.4, however the MLEI database is comprised of 6500 successful leaders so we have a skewed distribution of leaders who score from 0 to +.4.

A leaders Aggregate Maturity Ratio (AMR), corresponds to a percentile ranking showing how the leader’s maturity results fall within the database of 6800 leaders (see below AMR/Percentile Matrix). Steve Jobs’ results are in the MLEI database.

We want leaders who take the MLEI to be compared against the best, so if they happen to score in the 0 to +.10 range, they should still feel positive about their results, not negative. They need to understand they are being compared against the best and that their results have less to do with who they are and much more to do with how they are likely to act in the future, especially under stress (the MLEI is a leading indicator assessment).

 I am working with some interesting organisations who want to be progressive, agile and in having a leadership group with high mature levels is one of the very best places to start really making a very big difference! 

So what are these nine traits Nick you keep taking about and what do they each mean. Well below are the nine critical leadership traits.

1.     Perfectionist

2.     Helper

3.     Entertainer

4.     Artist

5.     Thinker

6.     Disciple

7.     Activist

8.     Driver

9.    Arbitrator 

Each of these leadership traits are explained in a little more detail below:

1. The Perfectionist

The functions of Ethical Standards & Responsabilities. The potential for moderation, conscience, maturity, self-discipline and delayed gratification. Negatively, the potential for rigid self-control, impersonal perfectionism and self regteousness.

2. The Helper

The functions of Empathy & Altruism. The potential for other-directedness, thoughtfulness for others, genuine self-sacrifice, generosity and nurturance. Negatively, the potential for intrusiveness, possessiveness, manipulation and self - deception.

3. The Entertainer

The functions of Self-Esteem and Self-Development. The potential for ambition, self improvement, personal excellence, professional competence, self-assurance and social self-distinction. Negatively, the potential for pragmatic calculation, arrogant narcissism, the exploitation of others and hostility.

4. The Artist

The functions of Self-Awareness and Artistic Creativity. The potential for intuition, sensitivity, individualism, self-expression and self-revelation. Negatively, the potential for self-absorption, self-consciousness, self-doubt, self-inhibition and depression.

5. The Thinker

The functions of Mental Focus and Expert Knowledge. The potential for curiosity, perceptiveness, the acquisition of knowledge, inventive originality, and technical expertise. Negatively, the potential for speculative theorizing, emotional detachment, eccentricity, social isolation and mental projections.

6. The Disciple

The functions of Trust and Perseverance. The potential for emotional bonding with others, group identification, sociability, industriousness, loyalty to others and commitment to larger efforts. Negatively, the potential for dependency, ambivalence, rebelliousness, anxiety and inferiority feelings.

7. The Activist

The functions of spontaneity and Diverse Activity. The potential for enthusiasm, productivity, achievement, skill acquisition, and the desire for change and variety. Negatively, the potential for hyperactivity, superficiality, impulsiveness, excessiveness and escapism.

8. The Driver

The functions of self-assertion and leadership. The potential for self-confidence, self determination, self-reliance, magnanimity, and the ability to take personal initiative. Negatively, the potential for domination of others, crude insensitivity, combativeness and ruthlessness.

9. The Arbitrator

The functions of Receptivity and Interpersonal Mediation. The potential for emotional stability, acceptance, unself-consciousness, emotional and physical endurance, and creating harmony with others. Negatively, the potential for passivity, disengaged emotions and attention, neglectfulness, and mental dissociation.

With these nine leadership traits, there are three basic leader trait combinations, each of which is further subdivided into three subtypes. We all operate in all three trait combinations and we all possess each one of the nine traits.

The (MOST) important question for a leader, however, are

(1) which trait is my most active or predominant trait?

(2) how mature are each of my nine traits and how mature am I overall?

“Heart Leaders”

People who predominantly lead from the heart tend to find that their emotions are their greatest strengths and their greatest weaknesses. Mature heart leaders, though, are admirable for having emotions and not leading in a robotic or unfeeling manner. The three subtypes of hear leaders are helpers, entertainers, and artists.

  • Leaders with a predominate “Helper” trait are empathetic, have close relationships, and handle conflict well if they’re mature enough, but if not, they can be manipulative and selfish.

  • Leaders with a predominant “Entertainer” trait place success at the centre of their self-concept. They’re great when style beats substance and can be charismatic. At the same time, they can be jealous and hostile to challengers

  • Leaders with a predominant “Artist” trait are creative and innovative and have deep self-understanding. People appreciate that they are good at communicating feelings. But they risk becoming too self-involved and making unreasonable demands.

“Head Leaders”

People who have outstanding ability to think and get things done are predominant head leaders, and they can accomplish amazing things. With maturity, head leaders can lead to new levels of achievement, impressing followers and competitors alike. But insecurities can derail the maturity of head leaders, causing them to live too much in their heads or feel like they must constantly be engaged in activity. Subtypes are thinkers, disciples and activists. 

The energy and drive of the activist is admirable, but sometimes thought and planning should take precedence. 

  • Leaders with a predominant “Thinker” trait are analytical and can turn complex thoughts into action. They’re great problem solvers, but they won’t act until certain, and that can let opportunities slip by.

  • Leaders with a predominant “Disciple” trait are loyal and dependable and get things done. However, they may become too dependent on authority and unable to act on their own.

  • Leaders with a predominant “Activist” trait are always working toward accomplishments and project a positive outlook. However, underneath they may have hidden pain that they use actively to distract themselves from. 

 “Gut Leaders”

Gut leaders are strongly engaged with their environment, but immaturity in a gut leader can cause frustrations due to the fact that we live in an imperfect world. They may be disappointed in their own lack of standing, when people fail to live up to their expectations, and when people don’t strive for perfection. The gut leader subtypes are drivers, arbitrators, and perfectionists.

  • Leaders with a predominant “Driver” trait have confidence and inspire confidence. They’re take-charge and assertive (some would say aggressive), but can be over focused on “making it” and may exploit others in the process

  • Leaders with a predominant “Arbitrator” trait are terrific at identifying common ground and pulling people together. But sometimes people can’t live up to the arbitrator’s idealized image of them, leading to shattered illusions. 

  • Leaders with predominant “Perfectionist” trait can produce amazing results that other would have trouble finding fault with. However, they can be highly critical of themselves and others, immobilizing everyone out of fear of mistakes. 

In conclusion, knowing which of your traits are more active than the others is so important, but so is understanding the thoughts and behaviours that can derail you. The person who knows these things stays true to himself or herself, and can often get back on track when derailing attitudes or actions arise.

“Great leadership starts with you”!

Your objective as a leader is to 1) optimize the mature elements of your predominant type and (2) create paths to grow and mature in each of the other eight types that comprise your unique “fingerprint”. This is the essence of strengthening a leader’s core so he/she benefits, stakeholders benefit, organisations benefit and those they serve benefit!

This therefore comes back to our title of today’s blog and I hope it has really got you thinking about yourself. “How does being more self aware as a leader make others what to work with you”

Glossary

Agility – the ability of an individual, team, or organization to sense changes and respond accordingly and quickly

Coaching – an extension of traditional training methods to focus on observation of an individual, provision of non-judgmental feedback, encouragement of practice, and recognition of improvement

Leadership, knowing who you are as a leader in order to inspire, lead and drive the organisation, you're stakeholders, your teams to greater success.

MLEI, Mattone Leadership Enneagram Inventory (an online test)

Leadership training – a program of skills and needs assessment, learning information and skills, and practicing them so as to become a more effective leader

Trait - a quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a person

A little bit about me, married to Nicola and dad to Louie & Willow everything I do is for them. I am a Master Certified Executive Coach. 90% of my clients who work with me are CEO’s Senior Executives, Leaders and High Potential individuals. I have 100s and 100s of coaching hours accumulated over the years along with a few specific leadership coaching programs that continue to get results.

Look after yourself and each other

Regards, Nick

Master Executive Coach

Roud Career Coaching

+64 21 375 630

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Nick Roud - #1 Master Certified Executive Coach on Intelligent Leadership in New Zealand.

Nick Roud - #1 Master Certified Executive Coach on Intelligent Leadership in New Zealand.