Since I’m on this journey to know myself better and become more effective, I’ve been thinking a lot about personality types recently. There are many tools to determine how and why we display certain behaviors in our life and work: Myers-Briggs, Strengthsfinder, DISC, Enneagram, and so on.
Regardless of the type of test you take, it’s really important to know yourself and put your natural strengths to work for you. If you don’t know (generally) what your results are for these types of tools, I’d recommend searching the internet for a free assessment and see what comes up. Understanding who you are is the first step to living in the fullest potential of who God made you to be.
One of the most helpful tests is the DISC test, which measures four types of personality behaviors: Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Compliance (C).
If you did a survey of many of the top business and church leaders, you would find that most of them have a high “dominant” personality. Dominant leaders are usually go-getters, confident, good decision makers, and like having the reigns of control. This makes them great at starting companies and leading organizations.
But what about the rest of the population (including me) who have other personality types? Does that mean you can’t lead? No way! The good news: leadership isn’t a personality type.
You might be more of a “steady” person, or maybe you like to follow directions rather than telling others what to do. That doesn’t mean you can’t lead others. Being a good leader is about knowing your strengths, caring about people, and taking responsibility. It’s not about being bossy or mean or even charismatic.
Know your strengths: A leader knows his or her strengths and operates from those. I have a friend who just isn’t very good at organizing the little details of a project. Instead of pretending to be something she is not, she has people who are very detailed come and support her in her role. Leaders are self-aware without being insecure, knowing that everyone has weaknesses and that’s ok.
Care for people: Leaders, by definition, put other people ahead of themselves. People who simply use others to get what they want aren’t leaders. Leaders want to use who and what they are to benefit others. You don’t have to be out in front of people to care about them. Sometimes the best leaders aren’t even on most people’s radar.
Taking responsibility: Leaders go first. In fact, that’s what “leader” literally means. It doesn’t take a certain type of personality to notice a problem and be the first to step forward with a solution. Any personality can own up to what’s wrong and try to fix it. Boldness and initiative aren’t bound up in extroverted personality types, they may just express themselves differently.
No matter who you are, you can step up and lead. You have an arena of influence and you have opportunities for making the world around you better for the sake of others. Find a way to leverage your best gifts and go lead!