Different Drummers

To empower others, you must take their measurements regularly…


The four key leaders divided the responsibilities as many businesses do: Sales, Technology, Finance and Operations. The few clashes this team encountered were also typical: Sales seemed to always want to move more quickly when ideas and changes were proposed.

As a part of their team evolution they examine their personalities and the strengths and differences they each brought to the company. They discovered that all three of the support function leaders had a tendency to need more time alone to think through decisions, and the Sales leader’s greatest conclusions came as he talked things out with others.

Of course this personality difference had an impact: after discussions the Sales leader was ready to act, but the others always wanted more time to “think.” The frustration was compounded because the complexity of the support groups also required more evaluation before each change than the sales teams needed.

Their honest personality discussion was revealing as they were asked to describe how they each approached the responsibilities they had at company-wide social functions:

  • Operations Leader: “I sit in the corner with a glass of wine and let people come to me.”
  • Technology Leader: “I stand behind him.”
  • Finance Leader: “I make a plan and work the room so I systematically speak to people.”
  • Sales Leader: “You think about it?!”

Reality: Take the time to learn how your team ticks. We all have specific ways we function best; it is critical for leaders to understand their own needs and tendencies so they don’t act or react blindly. To assume others think and produce like we do is a terminal mistake in judgment for people at all levels of an organization.


  • Know what you want to accomplish for your team before using one of the many professional assessment tools that measure personality and preference differences; they are not created equally.
  • Never label people by their profile description; it is disrespectful and can remove responsibility for them to use balanced behavior.
  • Here are some common personality extremes that can impact perception of performance: