Posted: 02 Apr. 2015 5 min. read

A leader’s job is to get everyone’s best contribution

Leaders sometimes ask me whether Business Chemistry is really just about making everyone feel included. While that's a worthy endeavor in my opinion, Business Chemistry offers so much more, like the potential to make a good leader great.

I think great leadership is about creating environments that both empower and compel people to make their very best contribution. But since not everyone is empowered or compelled by the same environment, the trick is to understand what different people need and to provide them with the right kind of space to excel. For those leaders who aren't sure where to start, Business Chemistry can help!

Guardians need room to speak and to reflect. They tend to be reserved and quiet, particularly around people they don't know well. And they sometimes speak slowly, so a Guardian's perspective will often be drowned out by talkative colleagues, especially on conference calls. A leader looking for a Guardian's best contribution should strategize around how to make sure everyone has an opportunity to speak without fighting for the floor, because Guardians are unlikely to do so.

Many Guardians also make decisions slowly, after careful consideration. So providing a Guardian with information in advance of a discussion gives them time to reflect and can increase the likelihood that they'll be ready to contribute to a discussion and/or move forward with making a decision.

Pioneers need room to dream and to move. They can chafe under structure and often abhor details. Most Pioneers crave the chance to brainstorm, to be imaginative, and to explore. If you're hoping to engage a Pioneer, make sure there are ample opportunities for big picture thinking before moving on to the minutia.

Pioneers can also be energetic and restless. To keep a pioneer engaged, a savvy leader will incorporate movement, scene changes and an element of surprise into their meetings and work environment.

Drivers need room to act and to explore. They're often competitive and accustomed to being in charge, and seldom hesitate to make tough decisions. In short, Drivers want to get things moving and a leader who wants to keep them motivated should be prepared to set a brisk pace and/or be selective about who needs to take part in which phases of a process.

Many Drivers are also technical, intensely curious, and experimental. They like to dive deep and develop an expertise around things that interest them. Their leader should make sure they have opportunities to explore and fine-tune their knowledge.

Integrators need room to connect and to consider. They're relationship-oriented and expressive and they prioritize connection with colleagues. As a leader, make sure you aren't skipping over the “niceties," because for Integrators they're actually necessities.

Integrators are also contextual, collaborative and consensus-oriented. In making decisions they're likely to focus on the context and implications of the decision, as well as where their colleagues and stakeholders sit. To make an Integrator comfortable, give them the opportunity to gather and consider the information they require.

It’s a tall order to meet so many diverse needs, but it’s how great leaders set themselves apart. How do you meet the challenge?



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Suzanne Vickberg (aka Dr. Suz)

Suzanne Vickberg (aka Dr. Suz)

Research Lead | Deloitte LLP

Dr. Suz is a social-personality psychologist and a leading practitioner of Deloitte’s Business Chemistry, which she uses to guide clients as they explore how their work is shaped by the mix of individ