The world needs three types of leaders: artistic, scientific and interpersonal. And the world needs them to work together to change feelings, knowledge and actions as a team. Their initial joining up or onboarding is one of the crucibles of leadership. Doing that poorly produces lots of pain. Doing that well accelerates success.
Artistic leaders work with different media, care about perceptions, create new approaches, and connect with others’ souls to impact feelings. These leaders, like Apple’s Steve Jobs, lead with a combination of thinking and intuition.
Scientific leaders work on different problems, care about solutions, develop better thinking, and connect with others’ minds to impact knowledge. These leaders, like Microsoft’s Bill Gates, lead with a combination of thinking and logic.
Interpersonal leaders work in different contexts, care about their cause, rally the team, and connect with others’ hearts to impact actions. These leaders like General Electric’s Jack Welch do just that.
Pull them together by helping them agree on context, purpose, core choices, how to connect, and the impact they will have.
Begin by choosing where to play. This gets at the context, problems and media in which leaders choose to engage. These are not necessarily different. Taking others’ points of view into consideration broadens each individual’s perspective and frame of reference.
Purpose is about what matters and why. There’s no inherent conflict between perceptions, solutions and causes. Indeed, when artistic, scientific and interpersonal leaders align around a common purpose they will spark new perceptions that lead to better solutions in service to a cause more people care about more deeply.
The strongest leaders make the clearest choices around how to win. Whether the focus is on new approaches, better thinking, or rallying the team, the chances of winning are increased by paying attention to all of them. Choose a strategic focus. Then align your posture and culture around that choice.
There are multiple approaches to how to connect with others. Whether you’re focused on their minds, hearts or souls these are just different doors into the same houses. Either way, you can’t lead anyone if you can’t connect with him or her.
Feelings, knowledge and actions are inextricably linked. Where some artists are content with influencing feelings, it’s better if you move someone to action. Where some scientists are content with influencing knowledge, it’s better if people can turn that new knowledge into tangible benefits. Interpersonal leaders are all about influencing actions in pursuit of a cause. For them, everything else is a tool along the way.
Start deploying these ideas now
The immediate next step for each of you is to change your attitude. Be aware of the differences in your team members. Work to understand those differences. Believe in the ability of those differences to create value. Whether you use a Hermann Whole Brain, Myers-Briggs, DISC or other Interpersonal Styles framework to conceptualize differences, pay attention to them, seek out, celebrate and leverage the inherent value of diversity of approach.