What Kind of Leader Are You: A Fixer, Fighter or Friend?

Typically merely being within the room is a disempowering act. That’s one of many hidden challenges of being in a management position—no matter your background, there’s a chance that the energy that obtained you this far has now grow to be a legal responsibility. If you’re in cost, your opinion merely takes up extra space than that of others, whether or not you propose it to or not. What you say and do carries extra weight. That’s not essentially a nasty factor, except it means you’re disempowering and demotivating others from discovering their very own voice.

You should utilize the three archetypes defined under—Fixer, Fighter and Good friend—to find out your individual management model and uncover the potential issues inherent to every. Not only one has to swimsuit you, however one will hopefully converse to you greater than the others. (For instance, over the course of my profession I’ve occupied the position of Fixer and Good friend at instances, however the Fighter is my go-to theme.) 

The archetypes may additionally assist to find out the sort of office tradition you’ve got cultivated. You may, for instance, resolve that you’ve got a Fixer tradition, which can inform what sorts of culture-wide communication and habits you must deal with altering.

The Good friend

The Good friend’s motto: “We’re all on the identical crew.”

The Good friend is the chief with the open door and a smile on their face. Associates are all the time accessible to reply questions, to supply encouragement to somebody who’s down, and to try to deal with every individual on their crew as in the event that they’re a member of the household. Typically talking, they’re good to be round, and as soon as a cultural subject is delivered to their consideration, they spring into motion to make issues higher. They care deeply in regards to the expertise their crew is having. Relating to the care aspect of the equation, Associates have lots in reserve. However this overflowing capability for caring and generosity tends to backfire on Associates in the long term.

What Good friend leaders don’t typically see is how fraught with threat it’s to speak about how we’re all in it collectively, or to say, as Associates typically do, that the members of the crew are all a part of one large household. It’s a noble want to wish to create a heat, private and welcoming vibe the place folks really feel like they belong. However the phrase household is greater than a little bit bit difficult for most individuals, evoking at the very least as a lot unfavourable emotion because it does optimistic. Describing your crew as a household additionally units up a really complicated blended actuality as a result of you may’t hearth a member of your loved ones, however you completely need to be capable of hearth an worker who isn’t pulling their weight. That doesn’t imply don’t ever work with household or shut pals. Nevertheless it does make issues more durable with regards to staff feeling that accountability is being utilized even-handedly. The nearer you’re to somebody personally, the upper the usual you need to maintain them to, to offset the pure tendency to present them the good thing about the doubt in a manner that’s unfair to others.

That leads us to the shadow aspect of Good friend management: Associates wrestle to carry a constant customary of excellence. For apparent causes, when push involves shove and Associates have to decide on between being powerful and being good, they’ll have a tendency towards good. This has critical ramifications for each the people on the crew and the tradition as an entire. People have a tendency to not get the sort of agency and clear boundaries they should find out about themselves. As for groups, undue strain is placed on the stronger members to choose up the slack that outcomes from the Good friend being too lenient on the individuals who want some strain. In consequence, these stronger gamers may resort to judging themselves, pondering alongside the strains of Perhaps I’m simply being too onerous on Chris, I imply the boss doesn’t appear to suppose it’s an issue. That inner dialogue that every individual generates whereas making an attempt to kind out what they’re observing and the way they really feel about it, multiplied throughout the group, is what creates the underlying dynamics of an organization tradition. By being too good, too accommodating and too prepared to look the opposite manner, Associates will are likely to create and assist cultural dynamics that lack accountability and clear expectations round efficiency.

There’s additionally a counterintuitive subject that occurs typically in Good friend-led cultures. On account of the lax requirements and agreements round accountability, the issues that aren’t being talked about want a spot to go. This results in gossip and politics, typically slightly below the floor of what seems like a cheerful and optimistic tradition. Individuals have a tough time being sincere with one another as a result of the tradition mandates concord over honesty. Even individuals who have robust opinions in different components of their lives will adapt to the cultural mandate out of self-preservation. Higher that than to threat being judged or criticized as “too intense.” When the dialog can’t be actual, all people loses.

As with the opposite two management archetypes, the Good friend takes on an excessive amount of accountability for creating the vibe, worries about how others really feel, and goes excessive to painting issues in a optimistic and collegial manner. The duty for Associates is to drag again on that tendency and to do much less energetic culture- and team-building themselves. By shifting their focus and pulling again on their strengths and the micro-behaviors that they’re used to counting on, Associates open up area for others to tackle a few of these strengths and behaviors for themselves. And let’s be clear: This pivot isn’t a simple one to make.

To create the tradition they need, Associates need to cope with a worry notably prevalent for this archetype: the worry of not being appreciated. Associates need to be prepared to simply accept the straightforward, uncomfortable fact: If you’re the one handing out folks’s paychecks, you don’t get to be a part of the gang. That’s the worth of management. If you do settle for that actuality, one thing very fascinating can occur. Your crew, feeling your readability and function across the enterprise, has the area to develop and alter within the methods they’re on the lookout for as properly. Associates can uncover a brand new sort of skilled relationship because of this, not as pleasant or informal as earlier than however way more alive and rewarding. 

The Good friend’s present

Associates naturally take care of folks and don’t want anybody to inform them in regards to the significance of specializing in tradition. They’re service-oriented, typically have deep non secular or non secular convictions, and would be the first to say, “Tradition is every little thing.” Associates worth human relationships and choosing somebody up after they’re down. Associates consider everybody deserves a second likelihood and have the center to present it to them.

The Good friend’s problem

Associates wrestle with making a tradition of accountability. Their worst nightmare is to be seen as a tyrant. Their compassion for folks makes it onerous to impose what seems like harsh penalties, even after they aren’t in actuality. Of their reluctance to be seen because the unhealthy man, Associates deprive their crew of one of many key components of fine authority: being prepared to face for the factor that should change and requiring every crew member to place within the work to vary it.

The Good friend’s journey

To totally inhabit their strengths, Associates must do some work to deepen their relationships exterior of labor. Doing so signifies that they want much less friendship from the folks on their crew and are higher in a position to tolerate the inevitable loneliness that comes with being in a management place, particularly in the event that they discover themselves within the position of CEO. To reset the accountability dynamic internally, Associates ought to have a level-setting dialog with every member of their crew to make clear objectives, roles and duties. And crucially for all leaders who’re studying about themselves, Associates should take 100% possession for the dynamic they’ve created up up to now. You earn the best to ask folks to adapt to a brand new settlement by acknowledging your position in creating and perpetuating the previous one.

The Good friend’s Yoda second

Good friend sorts are often robust and self-deprecating communicators; they know easy methods to speak about necessary issues in a manner that’s lighthearted and easy. Right here’s the sort of factor Good friend leaders may say, in their very own phrases after all, to restart the tradition dialog: “Hey, so you recognize me and the way a lot I would like this place to be nice and for you guys to have enjoyable right here. However I’m actually at a loss about what to do. It’s only one instance however we’ve gotten this particular service grievance 3 times now, and I really feel like no person is de facto taking it severely or taking accountability for wanting into why it’s taking place so we are able to do one thing about it. Enjoyable is nice, but it surely must be a byproduct of doing nice work. Have you learnt what I imply?”

How are you going to assist a Good friend?

In the event you’re a coach, marketing consultant or mentor to a Good friend-type chief, one of the simplest ways you may assistance is by holding them accountable for accepting the fact that it’s lonely on the prime—whether or not that’s within the CEO seat or as a pacesetter of a crew inside a bigger group. They’ll want you to level out particular examples of how they’ve gotten too near the folks on their crew, whether or not that’s the tendency to be in too many conferences, the tone of their voice or the way in which they socialize with folks on the crew. Within the age of social media, bosses needs to be particularly cautious of how boundaries can get blurred if, for instance, they grow to be pals with staff on Fb, which occurs all too typically. No instance is just too small. Assist them uncover the braveness to guide from a wholesome distance, and also you’ll assist them get again on the street to creating the tradition they actually need.

A ultimate thought for the Good friend

Right here’s a bit of recommendation particularly helpful for Associates who’re taking up a brand new crew or beginning a brand new enterprise, although it’s price retaining in thoughts no matter your management model: There’s no hurt in beginning out a little bit bit on the cool aspect, a little bit extra formal and businesslike than you may wish to be down the street. It’s simpler to heat up and grow to be extra weak and clear in your model over time. It’s more durable to go the opposite manner, to reclaim the stable floor of authority you want when you’ve made your self an excessive amount of part of the crew on the outset.

The Fighter

The Fighter’s motto: “Why wouldn’t we?”

The Fighter is the chief with an overflowing cup of latest concepts. And that’s not restricted to the plain issues like inventing a brand new product or renaming the corporate. Fighters see concepts—i.e., alternatives for enchancment—in each nook, from refinements to the enterprise mannequin, to small tweaks for present merchandise and processes to the micro-moments on the shopper journey. Fighters dwell within the fact that it doesn’t matter what it’s, it may all the time get higher, that you could all the time get a notch nearer to the aim. The Fighter sees their enterprise the way in which Michelangelo noticed his well-known statue: They need to take away each little bit of stone that isn’t David.

That’s the reason working for a Fighter could be so enlivening. Fighters are probably the most naturally inspiring of the three archetypes. Their groups and organizations have function; they’re going someplace. In the event you work for a Fighter, you’re feeling like nice work and revolutionary concepts matter. Fighters see alternative and chance at each flip. However, in some unspecified time in the future, though the Fighter won’t run out of power, the crew will.

The shadow aspect of the Fighter is that they’re onerous to maintain up with or compete with. It’s not as a result of they’re sooner or smarter than the opposite sorts; it’s as a result of they don’t admire how a lot work they’re creating of their wake. They don’t understand how a lot area their concepts take up, leaving much less room for the concepts of others. Fighters don’t see how a lot they disempower their groups with their very presence. What Associates do by taking an excessive amount of accountability for being the social glue, Fighters do by taking an excessive amount of accountability for developing with concepts. When a pacesetter is just too fast with concepts there’s much less motivation for the crew to provide you with their very own. And even when they do, on a Fighter-led crew they received’t have time to do something with them.

New concepts take numerous work to implement, and Fighters don’t admire how that further work impacts folks and takes them away from different, equally necessary, duties. This work-creation component was off my radar as a Fighter-type chief for many of my profession. I didn’t understand that one thought from the CEO can simply create 5 tasks, draw a dozen folks into the loop and drag them away from different priorities. To not point out the very actual value of all that further task-switching that’s already uncontrolled within the trendy workplace.

Right here’s the irony: When Fighters study to see these impacts and refine their method by listening fastidiously to others, they get to see their two or three finest concepts adopted by way of on, versus seeing their six or seven concepts all remaining in half-finished kind. However the self-discipline to decelerate has to come back first. Having been acknowledged and valued for developing with concepts all through their lifetime, Fighters hardly ever encounter somebody who is powerful sufficient to carry them accountable and pressure them to reign of their creativity. I used to be lucky sufficient to have a mentor try this for me at a crucial second in my profession.

There are two methods during which Fighters sometimes don’t observe by way of. First, they generate concepts and have a tendency to not full them. Whereas the Fighter has moved on to the subsequent thought, the subsequent nice journey or the most recent piece of expertise, the crew is left holding the bag. This causes frustration for the crew, and over the lengthy haul undermines the inspirational and motivational qualities the Fighter in any other case brings to the desk. Second, Fighters hardly ever get to the post-game evaluation. Even when their concepts do get carried out, they don’t pause to know and quantify the outcomes. As such, these outcomes don’t inform subsequent concepts they generate, which results in extra wasted effort, and on and on.

The Fighter’s present

Fighters by no means cease asking why. They’re all the time pushing for issues to get higher. They’re naturally inspiring, typically idealistic, and have a knack for seeing potential in others that they don’t see in themselves. They’re pushed by a want to make the world a greater place.

The Fighter’s problem

Fighters wrestle to see the worth of the little issues. They’re reluctant to go to the subsequent decimal level, to trace tasks all the way down to their actual prices in time, cash and morale, as a result of they don’t wish to be sidetracked from implementing their subsequent thought. The Fighter’s worst nightmare is the established order.

The Fighter’s journey

The transformative second for Fighters is to simply accept the world as it’s, and study that change occurs with small steps and ongoing refinement. They should construct up the muscle of going to that subsequent decimal level, to see that doing so doesn’t take away creativity or self-expression however moderately liberates it. They are going to initially see deadlines, restricted assets and present inefficiencies as lumps of coal, however as they make the pivot, Fighters will start to see them because the supply of the diamonds inside.

The Fighter’s first step

For many Fighters step one is to scrub up the previous with their crew, to acknowledge the toll that their model has taken thus far, and to be prepared to see how overwhelmed everybody has grow to be. It would sound like this: “Hey, guys, I’ve been doing a little pondering and I understand how briskly I’ve been going, how onerous I’ve been pushing you. I didn’t see it until now. I’m actually sorry. I do know a few of you’ve got tried to inform me and I wasn’t listening. I’d actually like to show that round and I’d love your concepts for a way to try this. One concept that I had, I promise it’s no more work, is for us all to get collectively and determine which tasks we are able to archive, which concepts we are able to delete, and so forth, to scrub out all of our inboxes and make extra space for the best issues to get the eye they deserve. How does that sound?”

How are you going to assist a Fighter?

The most effective present you can provide a Fighter is a powerful accountability associate. That could possibly be a supervisor educated on data-driven course of and enchancment, a strong-minded coach or a mentor who will push again when their minds wander. Whoever it’s, they need to be somebody who can meet and match the Fighters’ power, construct belief after which present the Fighter easy methods to redirect that power extra successfully. Who can maintain the Fighter accountable to drag again, and to maintain pulling again, till others begin to emerge with concepts and initiatives of their very own. On this manner you’ll assist Fighters obtain their dream: to construct a crew pushed by concepts and unafraid to threat the unknown on the street to creating one thing nice.

A ultimate phrase for the Fighter

Granularity is your new finest buddy. Take the time to interrupt down issues into their element components. Then break the parts down into their components, and search for the patterns and connections between them. What if you happen to change the sequence? What if you happen to took out step three completely? The smaller you’re prepared to get, the extra energy your concepts could have in the long run.

The Fixer

The Fixer’s motto: “In order for you it completed proper, you need to do it your self.”

The Fixer is the archetype that may sound most acquainted. I’ve left Fixers till final due to all that’s been written about them through the years. They’re probably the most misunderstood of the three—the leaders and managers who are likely to the micromanagement aspect of life, who dwell on this planet of duties, crossing issues off the listing, and catching the errors of themselves and others. Fixers verify every little thing personally earlier than it goes out the door. They spend their days sprucing issues till they’re excellent, and are finely attuned to the little issues which might be coming down the pike that others will are likely to brush off. Fixers repair no matter they will discover that’s damaged. That present, as soon as unleashed, is the management path for the Fixer. Due to the talent and a spotlight to element that comes naturally to them greater than to the opposite two sorts, Fixers can grow to be the embodiment of excellence. That’s, as soon as they get out of the way in which of excellence in others.

There’s a query I used to ask to flush out the Fixers in an viewers of leaders: “Don’t you simply hate how you need to leap in and repair issues on your crew, how if you happen to don’t get in there and do it, it received’t get completed proper?” The Fixers will reveal themselves immediately (although not after they learn this!) with a figuring out groan or woe-is-me sigh that claims, “Don’t I do know it… If solely I may discover good individuals who cared about excellence as a lot as I do.”

“Liars, all of you!” I’d say, playfully after all. “You’re keen on being the hero! You’re keen on leaping in and saving the day.” Then figuring out laughter fills the room, the laughter of permitting ourselves to be seen and feeling liberated by it. Fixers really feel higher within the act of fixing. It scratches an itch, makes them really feel valued, necessary and helpful. The pivot for Fixers is to see how a lot they’re filling the area, in the identical manner Fighters and Associates do of their methods. Besides as a substitute of making an attempt to be the social or thought glue, Fixers attempt to maintain issues along with excellence glue. However their requirements are so excessive that, over time, the remainder of the crew will quit on even making an attempt to succeed in them.

The Fixer’s present

Fixers are consummate professionals, artisans of their chosen craft. They take the time to do it proper. At their finest, they spend money on the final centimeter of the shopper expertise, or in a second of mentoring to take the time to completely clarify what they imply, as a result of that’s what care seems wish to them. They’re delighted by refined experiences and make some extent of delivering that sort of delight to others. They’ve the capability—although they typically need to study the persistence—to mentor, practice and problem folks to a normal of excellence that’s vastly wanted in our world.

The Fixer’s problem

The flipside of this customary of care is that Fixers typically lose the forest for the timber. They’re so busy fixing typos, calling again disgruntled prospects and double-checking every little thing that they’ve hassle zooming out and placing themselves within the footwear of somebody who’s going by way of one thing that they don’t perceive or haven’t skilled themselves. After they’re not vigilant, Fixers’ want for management and order blinds them to the messier, extra private and extra human components of main a crew.

The Fixer’s journey

As an alternative of studying to let go of being the one with concepts, or being the one who cheers folks up, fixers remodel their management model by studying to let go of the necessity for an excessive amount of management. 

The Fixer’s first step

To start their journey from Superman to Yoda, Fixers want new experiences. They’ll profit greater than the opposite two sorts from time exterior the workplace, whether or not it’s structured or not. The trail of Fixers is to fall again into themselves, to take a two-week cellphone-free trip, to indulge themselves in what is going to really feel like reckless quantities of self-care—for instance, a therapeutic massage after work earlier than coming residence for dinner. Right here’s a declaration a Fixer may make after they’re prepared to vary issues:

“So, I’ll be out subsequent month for a number of weeks. Let’s spend a while ensuring you guys have every little thing you want earlier than I am going, as a result of I received’t be taking my telephone with me. I’m not going to lie; that is going to be onerous for me, however I wish to take a step to indicate you the way a lot I imply what I say… that I belief you to handle issues in my absence. You guys have nice judgment, higher than I provide you with credit score for typically. And that is one small step within the route of creating some extra room round right here.”

How are you going to assist a Fixer?

Fixers should be held accountable for strategic pondering. In the event you handle or coach a Fixer, it can typically really feel such as you’re having to drag their fingers off the steering wheel one after the other. Do it with a smile in your face and preserve it lighthearted. Every time you do, allow them to know why, and ensure to remind them whose job it’s to do the factor they had been about to do themselves. Preserve reminding them that every step they take away from fixing is a step nearer to main. They’ll thanks for it in the long run.

A ultimate phrase for the Fixer

Don’t look. As onerous as will probably be at first, discover alternatives to not take a look at different folks’s work. Ask to be faraway from the cc subject on electronic mail threads. Encourage your crew to make use of one another for a re-evaluation on issues as a substitute of coming to you. Bow out of conferences which might be about course of or implementation, and solely make your self accessible for the big-picture stuff. Don’t fall into the lure of pondering that you just’ll have time for strategic work and big-picture pondering whenever you’re completed checking off your listing.

Whichever of the management archetypes most closely fits you—Fixer, Fighter or Good friend—don’t use it as a software to self-criticize, although who doesn’t profit from a little bit lighthearted teasing coming from individuals who love them? As you consider these concepts within the days forward, keep in mind that management isn’t a vacation spot, it’s a course of. It’s every of us studying a little bit bit extra every day about who we’re, who we wish to be tomorrow, and what we are able to do immediately to get a little bit bit nearer. And if you happen to’re ever unsure—whether or not you’re a Fixer, Fighter or a Good friend—much less is sort of all the time extra.

Reprinted by permission of IdeaPress. Tailored from Good Authority: How you can Turn out to be the Chief Your Staff is Ready For. Copyright 2016 by Jonathan Raymond. All rights reserved. This text was revealed in September 2016 and has been up to date. Picture by Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Jonathan Raymond

After 20 years of not having the ability to resolve whether or not he was a enterprise growth man or a private progress instructor, Jonathan Raymond stopped making an attempt to determine it out. He’s the proprietor of Refound, an internet coaching startup that provides Good Authority coaching packages for homeowners, executives and managers. He’s head over heels in love together with his spouse, tries to not spoil his daughter and can by no means quit on the New York Knicks. Jonathan is the previous CEO and chief model officer of EMyth, the place he led the transformation of a worldwide teaching model and has labored in tech, clear tech and the nonprofit world after graduating regulation faculty in 1998. He lives in Ashland, Oregon, a stunning city that’s too far-off from a heat ocean.

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