Understanding Your Work style to Maximize Your Leadership Potential

By YWB Staff from YW Boston

Goals: Participants will identify their own working style and understand the strengths and challenges of their respective styles, Participants will understand that people with any working style have the potential to be leaders. Participants will identify their peers’ working and leadership styles and brainstorm effective ways of working together across differences.

Description: This interactive, skill-building activity helps participants learn more about their preferred working styles, including how they communicate and socialize with others. It involves taking and scoring a self-assessment and fun, small-group exercises to immediately put the insight and principles into practice. The activity guides participants in understanding that people have the capacity to be leaders regardless of their work style. Knowing their own and their peers’ work styles and general tendencies and comfort zones can help them work better together as a team and draw on each individuals’ strengths and leadership qualities.

Try it on: Experienced: Execute the activity as described in the facilitator’s guide

Novice: Scoring and plotting the results of the self-assessments can be difficult for some participants and it can be hard to keep everyone on track when people are working at their own pace, especially if there are not enough staff members to help out. If you’re concerned about this aspect, have the participants complete the assessments and, while they do a different activity, have a staff member score them and plot each participant on the graph to determine their preferred working style/color affinity group.

Assessing Impact: We have students rate the activity on a Likert scale of Poor (1), Fair (2), Good (3), Great (4), Excellent (5) with room for open-ended comments. We also use the following debrief process (also located in the facilitator’s guide) to ensure the goals of the activity are met and participants receive the take-home points:

a. Ask: i. What did you notice about the differences between the groups’ trips? ii. What are some of the benefits of having people with different communication and leadership styles working together? What are some of the challenges of this? b. Ask: i. What are the strengths of your leadership style when working within a team? ii. What are the challenges of your leadership style when working within a team? iii. What are things that you’d like other groups to know about your style? iv. How accurately do you think this describes your personal work style? Does it matter where in the quadrant you were located? c. If not already brought up, make the points: i. Remember even if you have a dominant work style, you can still have characteristics of other styles; if you’re close to the center of the diagram, you’re like a chameleon: you can switch roles depending on what’s needed in a particular situation or group ii. The point of this exercise isn’t too put you in a box and say you’re like this and will always behave this specific way; however, knowing your own and your peers work styles and general tendencies and comfort zones can help you work better together as a team and draw on each individuals’ strengths and leadership qualities iii. No matter what your work style, you can be a leader! Groups generally function best when people of different styles work together.

Further Reading


Play-based Problem Solving

From VOBS Staff, Voyageur Outward Bound Schools

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