Are you a focused leader?

• Do you push for a course of action?
• Do you make deliberate decisions?
• Do you get stressed when you don’t know what’s going to happen?

Then you may have the Navigator style of interaction.

People with the Navigator style push for a course of action

• they tend to move in a deliberate way, speak with a measured tone and pace, and appear calm and focused
• they need to anticipate obstacles and they create a course of action to achieve the desired result
• they make deliberate decisions, checking against a thought-through process
• it tends to come naturally to them to plan, monitor, guide, adjust
• they keep the group on track and help to anticipate problems
• they may become stressed when they don’t know what is going to happen (or if a plan changes, until they get a new course of action), or if they don’t see progress

Focused, navigating leaders want to ensure there is a course of action and that everyone is following it. If there is change, they make sure everyone knows what the changes are and what their part in it is. They come across as deliberate, measured, calm and somewhat reserved and serious.

These are valuable strengths for leaders, but there can be some downsides. Leaders with this style can sometimes seem inflexible in their desire to follow the agreed course of action. They may be seen by others as tense and distant.

For leaders, this style works well when:

• Planning a project in details
• Assessing risks and making contingency plans
• With team members who need help to work out what to do
• When a considered approach is needed

It is not so suitable for situations when:

• Rapid action is required
• Speedy changes are needed
• People want immediate answers to an unexpected event
• When people need to be engaged and enthused

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.

Joshua, a senior engineering manager, used to go to meetings, open his laptop and ignore the other people in the room until the meeting started. The message he sent by his behaviour at best was that he didn’t want to communicate and at worst was seen as lacking interest and enthusiasm. Yet a few simple actions (such as making eye contact and some small talk) completely changed how his colleagues perceived him and he was pleasantly surprised that changing his behaviour meant that people responded more positively to him and to his ideas.

Ann-Marie sometimes conflicted with a colleague, usually when there was a crisis, and he demanded an immediate response from her. She would withdraw from confrontation until she had worked out how to resolve the problem, which he found very frustrating. She learned to change her conflict avoidance into a more assertive and active response. She acknowledged his urgency and summarised briefly what she was going to do, even when she hadn’t fully thought it all through. She also worked on building a relationship with him outside the crisis events, so that they had a more positive basis for their interactions.
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.

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