Leading Different Personalities, Part One

Leading Different Personalities

(How to Connect with the People Who Follow You)

Part One


There are only two types of people in the world, Type A and Type Z. It isn't hard to tell which type you are. Here’s a little test:


- How long before the plane leaves do you arrive at the airport? 

Early plane-catchers, Type A, pack their bags a day in advance, and pack neatly. If they're booked on a flight that leaves at 4 in the afternoon, they get up at 5:30 that morning. If they haven't left the house by 8:00am, they're worried about missing the plane. Late plane-catchers, Type Z, pack hastily at the last minute and arrive at the airport too late to buy an iced coffee.


- What does your morning look like?

Type A eats a good breakfast; Type Z grabs a cup of coffee while rushing out the door, before running back into the house looking for the car keys.


- How do you leave the house?

Type A turns off the lights when leaving a room and locks the doors when leaving a house. They go back to make sure they've locked it, and they worry later about whether they left the iron on or not. They didn't. Type Z leaves the lights burning and, if they lock the door at all when they leave the house, they're apt to – again - have forgotten their keys.


- How do you use toothpaste?

Type A squeezes a tube of toothpaste from the bottom and rolls it very carefully as he uses it, puts the top back on every time. Type Z squeezes the tube from the middle, and he's lost the cap under the cabinet somewhere.


All the above does is point out that we are different from one another! This is true in so many areas of life, especially leadership. Let’s consider styles of leadership for a moment. Is there only one leadership style? No, there are various styles, just as there are various personalities. And God uses them all.


Different personalities and different leadership styles are part of our teams. We need to recognize and embrace the truth found in Colossians 4:  Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (Colossians 4:6, NLT)


As leaders mature, they better understand the differences in people. They recognize that those who follow them are motivated by different causes; they respond to different ideas; and they get excited for different reasons. Every leader must learn these basic personality differences that exist within their organization:


People should be DIFFERENT. This is the beauty of the Body of Christ. The Church is a true and lovely mosaic. Different personalities, approaches, styles and together we make up the Body of Christ.


We must remember, there is VALUE in our differences. Differences balance weaknesses. For example, I am a big picture guy.  I see the goals and the vision which means I tend to undervalue the process and relationships that happen along the way. Therefore, I value those on my team who do that. They help keep me balanced.


Lastly, know that personalities won’t fundamentally CHANGE. Especially in adult life. Part of it is genetics, part of it is society; but trying to change someone’s personality is futile. Someone once said “Don’t try to change a pig. It will only make you mad, and frustrate the pig.” The same thing is true with people’s personalities.


We value differences because they are not going to fundamentally change. But can you change an attitude? Yes! When a leader fails to understand and relate to different personalities within their organization, problems will occur.


If everyone has to see things as you do, if you relate to everyone the same, problems are in your future. Morale, attitude, and focus will wane. People will feel like square pegs being pounded into round holes. We can’t have people around us who think only like we do. We need variety. 


Good leaders recognize the influence, the personalities, and the spiritual gifts of their people. They read people, and then they lead people.



Coming Soon:

Four Basic Personality Types and the Most Effective Ways To Connect with These Personality Types