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Manager’s Checkup: A look at leadership styles

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Whenever you find people working, you'll find different styles. Knowing about your style can help you work better with the diverse members of your team.

For each of the items below, rank-order each of the four responses (from 1 to 4, 1 being "most true" and 4 "least true").

1. When faced with a problem to solve, I prefer to:

A. Make a quick decision

B. Come up with lots of ideas

C. Get employee input

D. Weigh the alternatives

2. To persuade others, I stress:

A. Profit and savings

B. The benefits of a better way

C. An emotional appeal 

D. Sticking to the facts

3. I get people working by:

A. Taking action

B. Providing inspiration

C. Showing I care

D. Giving specific directions

4. Strong leaders should:

A. Get things done

B. Dream up new methods

C. Be good with people

D. Understand the system

5. I criticize employees by:

A. Laying it on the line

B. Delivering a pep talk

C. Asking for cooperation

D. Using a logical argument

6. To me, the most important thing is:

A. Results

B. Innovation

C. Teamwork

D. Quality

7. Good employees should:

A. Take initiative

B. Suggest changes

C. Be friendly and cooperative

D. Meet performance standards

8. One of my greatest strengths is:

A. Decisiveness

B. Foresight

C. Warmth

D. Precision

9. My motto could be:

A. "Do it now."

B. "Dare to dream."

C. "Trust the people."

D. "Do it right."

10. When beginning a project, I:

A. Plunge right in

B. Try a fresh approach

C. Solicit employee opinions

D. Plan carefully

What do your answers mean?

Add up your scores for each of the four letters—A, B, C and D. This scoring system is designed to reflect that most of us use a mix of styles. The lower your score on a particular letter, the more strongly you follow that particular style.

A: Executive. You like to get the job done and enjoy achieving goals. Others may describe your way of communicating as assertive, direct and straightforward. You are good at moving assignments along and appreciate challenges.

B. Inventor. You like to dream up new ideas and enjoy creating methods for making the job and products better. You appear to be gregarious and open, which charms people. You appreciate progress and are valued for innovation and optimism.

C. Coach. You enjoy people and extend warmth to those around you. Traditional values—family, community, work—are important and make you reliable. You can be persuasive and are good at lifting people's spirits.

D. Programmer. You are very organized and good with details. To make a decision you weigh the alternatives and thoroughly think things through before you act. Planning is one of your finest skills.

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