A few weeks ago I wrote a post about 4 quadrants of our life representing our public persona, secrets, blindspots, and potential. You can read it here. If we want to grow as a leader, we need to attack our blindspots (things everyone knows about us that we don’t know about ourselves). One way we can decrease our blindspots is by learning more about ourselves.
Earlier this week I asked a group of our leaders to take a simple personality test. It’s actually one of the most simple tests out there. You can find it here. Also here’s an even more specific test that gives you more info about each personality style.
This test puts people into 4 categories. I’ll briefly describe the 4 personalities, but you can read more about them through the above link.
Lion: The lion likes to lead. They’re good at making decisions and can be very goal-oriented. They enjoy challenges and can be competitive and sometimes aggressive.
Beaver: They’re organized. They like details and want to do things the “right way”. They don’t like sudden changes and can be sensitive.
Otter: Otters are very social. They love people and can be great motivators. They can be visionary and willing to take risks.
Golden Retriever: They’re great friends and very loyal. They look for stability and security. They’re calm and usually have a few close friends. They’re not big on conflict, but like to promote peace.
It’s important to know what you are and have a good guess as to the personality of those on your team. Here’s why:
- Lion: Be careful, you can run over people. This can be especially true if you’re working with a golden retriever. If you’re working with another lion, you’re probably going to fight more. Don’t take this as a knock on your fellow lion. They’re just expressing their personality just like you. Don’t be so goal-oriented that you forget that your otters and golden retriever value relationships and fun.
- Beaver: Not everyone thinks like you! The world is not going to end if a detail is missed or a plan feels chaotic sometimes. It may not be chaotic, it may just not measure up to your high standard of organization. Relax and have fun with the otters on your team. You need them. You’ll probably appreciate the goals the lion sets, but also don’t forget that your golden retrievers need relationship.
- Otter: You need to set goals and follow through or your lions and beavers will bolt. Stop telling your beavers to chill out. You probably do need to be more organized and focus on details. Saying, “Don’t worry, it’ll work itself out,” is not a good plan, especially for your beavers and lions.
- Golden Retriever: Sometimes there will be tension on your team, especially if there’s a lion on it. The lion isn’t a problem needing to be solved. Let him roar and challenge. But, you will have to be a lion to keep a lion in line. Working on and worrying about team camaraderie is great, but don’t forget the bigger picture. Focus on a goal and make it happen.
The most important thing
Regardless of what personality type you are, it’s essential for you to understand that your way of thinking isn’t the only way or best way. It’s just one way. We may have one dominant style, but as a leader we need to learn to play in all four personality styles.
I wrote about how our personalities can also affect how we lead our groups. You can read more here. It has a few more personality links you can try out. Up until a few years ago I would have told you I hate details! But, this all changed when I interned at a new church plant. I was working on the program and I learned that there are people out there who absolutely can not freely focus on worshipping God if there is a glaring spelling or punctuation mistake on the screen or program. For their sake, I needed to passionately pursue every punctuation mistake. As a pastor, my job is to take away everything that could hinder a person from connecting with God on a Sunday morning, and that includes details like spelling. It was a valuable lesson I still carry with me today.
We need all 4 types and as a leader, we need to learn to love, appreciate, and relate to all 4 types.