Are you an approachable leader?

• Do you push to get the best result?
• Do you make consultative decisions?
• Do you get stressed when you don’t have enough input, time or credit?

Then you may have the Synthesiser style of interaction.

People with the Synthesiser style push for the best result:

• they tend to move and speak in an unassuming way, and appear patient and approachable
• they need to integrate and they gather information and input to get the best result
• they make consultative decisions, integrating many sources of input and points of view
• it tends to come naturally to them to define, clarify, support, integrate
• they support the group’s process and help to avoid mistakes
• they may get stressed when they don’t have enough time or are not given credit for their efforts, or if they are pressed to decide too quickly

Approachable, synthesising leaders want to discuss and explore topics fully, to integrate information and input from others before deciding how to get the best result. They come across as quiet and patient, open, friendly and unassuming.

These are valuable strengths for leaders, but there can be some downsides. Leaders with this style sometimes do a lot of activity behind the scenes and don’t always articulate what they have done. They may be seen by others as indecisive or unassertive.

For leaders, this style works well when:

• A lot of information and input has to be integrated
• Coaching or mentoring others
• In complex situations where there are many possible solutions
• When it’s important to consult people and pick up nuances

It is not so suitable for situations when:

• Clear instruction is needed
• There isn’t much time to consider everything
• Other people dominate so you can’t get your views heard
• A “good enough” result is sufficient

So how can you flex your style when necessary?

The framework of the four Berens’ Interaction Styles™ gives you other options. Here are two leaders (names changed) who learned to adapt their style to be more effective in specific situations.

Jenny’s demeanour came across as unassertive and she found it difficult to make her points heard when in discussion with others. She learned how to signal through her body language that she had something to say, such as by shifting her body, leaning forward, taking in a breath, moving her hand – a bit like attracting the attention of a waiter in a restaurant. She also worked on how to express herself more concisely and assertively, by planning and summarising what she wanted to say in advance, speaking more loudly and lowering her tone. She also used assertive phrases such as “I think…, I want…, my opinion is…”. These small changes helped her to have a bigger impact.

Jim, a newly appointed leader was people oriented, liked by his team and successful at getting results. He had been promoted internally and was aware that he needed to develop other skills and behaviours in order to be successful at the more senior level. He knew that his approachable manner could be seen as lacking authority and that his consultative style could be seen as indecisive, so he consciously adapted his behaviour to ensure that he was firm and fair with others and kept them informed about key decisions.

So what?

Being aware of your natural style means that you can rely on your strengths for the right situations, and can flex it in other situations to have the positive impact and influence that you want.

Now what?

• Find out more about styles of leadership and influencing in my book.
• Pick up a set of my cards for specific tips for each of the four styles.
Contact me for an explanatory discussion.
• Sign up for my monthly newsletter for insights and tips on living and working with others.

See other blogs in my Managing and Leading category.