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Manager’s Checkup: Less needing, more leading

by on
in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Why are you in a leadership role? Are you focusing on your growth and that of your team? Or are you motivated by your own needs? In their book Grown-Up Leadership, Leigh and Maureen Bailey offer advice to help you realize "the benefits of person­al growth for you and your team."

Among those benefits, the authors feel, is moving beyond common habits of "need-motivat­ed" leadership. The Baileys focus on two such types of behavior, what they call Accommodators and Intimidators. "Most people can identify with either an Accommodator or Intimidator ten­dency," they write, "each of which can provide significant challenges for leaders." Which one are you? Here's a quick assessment. For each item, rank yourself from 0 (false) to 3 (true): 

___ 1. I tend to put the needs of others before my own needs.

___ 2. I'm likely to focus on minute details of a project or situation.

___ 3. I find it easier to say "yes" than "no."

___ 4. I like having the attention of others.

___ 5. I feel anxious in situations others experience as nonthreatening.

___ 6. Winning is a priority for me, regardless of the cost.

___ 7. I tend to assume that others are more competent than me.

___ 8. I prefer to be the one in charge.

___ 9. I know and follow rules carefully.

___ 10. I don't mind if my positions cause confrontation or conflict.

___ 11. I want to be included in others' projects or conversations.

___ 12. I question the input or suggestions of others.

What do your answers mean?

Total up your rankings for the odd-numbered statements, and then subtract from that figure the total of your rankings for the even-num­bered statements. If your net score is positive (greater than 0), then you're more likely to be demon­strating Accommodator tendencies; if your score is negative (less than 0), you're more likely to fall in the Intimidator category.

In themselves, these are fairly simple categories to under­stand. As the Baileys put it, the Accommodator's "secret motto" is "I don't trust myself, so I will fol­low you"; for the Intimidator, it's "I don't trust you, so I will fight you to get what I need." In their book, the Baileys offer an extended ver­sion of this quiz as a starting point for a more thorough exploration of your behaviors and motivations—a step along the path of personal growth that leads to more effective leadership.

It's critical to realize that, from the Baileys' perspective, both Accommodators and Intimidators are limited by their "need-motivat­ed" behaviors in their effectiveness as leaders. Through self-awareness and action, they write, we can reach a middle ground that "repre­sents growth for both Intimidators and Accommodators alike, a place where you can connect better with people and be more honest, respectful and authentic."

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