If I were to list my top two foundational components of quality leadership, they would be Communication and Personalities. It seems that every leadership problem that I come across can be traced back to one if these two topics.

While many books, surveys, and tests have been written about both of them, I wanted to share my quick message about one today. I want to provide two sides of the personality part of leadership.

First, we as leaders need to understand our personality. We need to understand more that what makes us tick. We need to understand how we tick. The what can be defined as our passion, our dreams or our goals. The how describes more of how we accomplish those goals.

I know that my personality is more of an aggressive, take on the new frontier, type of personality. This “drive” is evident in all of my actions. It is in my communication, my scheduling and even down to how I dress. As a leader, I need to be aware of this “how” that makes up my style.

The problem with me understanding my “how” is that I can often expect others to be the same as I am. I sometimes make the assumption that everyone operates in the same manner. This only leads to disappointment and frustration on my part. My personality is just that, it is my personality. For me to be an effective leader, I need to understand myself before I can understand, and lead, others. This leads me to my second point. The personality of others.

To be a great leader, one needs to understand the personality of each of your team members. I guarantee that they are not like you, and they are not all the same. Each person is created differently. They have different experiences and they process information differently. To make the assumption that everyone can be treated the same will only lead to your downfall and failure as a leader.

I have found that my role as leader becomes easier when I understand the real person that I am speaking with and trying to lead. This understanding takes time and patience. You will need to understand the different types of personalities and their traits. The more you study them, the easier it will become to recognize them. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that you can easily categorize your team once you have the types. Just because you can say ENTJ, does not make all ENTJ’s the same. (you can Google that). My point in writing this is not so you can easily categorize; it is so you can understand how you are to treat and communicate to each unique individual that makes up your team.

This week’s experiment: What is your personality type? What are the personality types of those on your team? Are you treating them all the same?