Leading People with Different Personalities
As a worship leader, you’re constantly leading people with different personalities, values, and expectations.
Diversity is both a strength and a challenge.
It’s a strength because our differences help us to be constantly learning, gleaning, and growing as people and leaders. If we all thought the exact same way, how boring would that be?
But our differences can also be a challenge because there will inevitably be clashes. What might be normal for one person might be offensive or annoying to another. Due to our different upbringing and backgrounds, “the norm” when it comes to behaviors and attitudes looks different to each of us.
My guess is that if you stop and think about your team right now, there are one or two people that have unique personalities, perspectives, or tendencies that can be a challenge to lead at times.
I’m not just talking about huge things, I’m talking about the simplest things like the way someone asks questions, or the large amounts of negative feedback someone offers after a set, rarely coupled with positive reinforcement, or the way people behave in team briefings by cutting their nails or chewing loudly. (I believe that the public consumption of apples should be illegal.)
For many years, I lived in a place of frustration with some of the people on my team because I just couldn’t understand why they did or didn’t do certain things in certain ways.
If you’re not careful, you can begin to lead your team out of frustration with these differences, or even say things about issues in a cutting or demeaning way.
What I found so helpful was beginning to identify people’s personalities. I didn’t know a lot about personality types when I started leading, but I’ve found a little understanding of this topic to be incredibly helpful. Identifying someone as more of an extrovert will help you have grace with that person who is having their own side personal conversation with someone when you’re trying to address the team. Identifying the introverted person who doesn’t say a whole lot will make you aware of the need to draw them out and ask them direct questions.Being able to recognize different personality, traits, and tendencies on your team will help you lead more effectively. Click To Tweet
As you begin to understand your team members’ basic needs and how they operate, it will help you learn how to engage the whole team. The goal is that we would learn how to better encourage and motivate our team members right where they are instead of expecting them to change and become more like us.
I encourage you to familiarize yourself with some of the basic personality types as identified in common personality tests (A few of my favorites are at the end of this post). Even take time to talk about it as a team. If you are struggling with the different personality traits represented on your team, it is a safe bet that there are others on the team who are working through some of the same struggles.
We will encounter a wide array of behaviors, actions, and attitudes as leaders and we need to recognize that some of them are just personality differences from which we need to learn and even glean. Others are issues that need to be addressed. The key is to figure out which things you should let go as simple “differences of opinion” and which areas to address with your team members and invite them to change.
Celebrating the differences God has given us is important. Your team members are a gift, and often times, the way they differ from you is a strength and benefit to your team if you can recognize it.
Do you find dealing with different personalities to be a challenge with your team? How have you dealt with this?
A few great online personality tests:
1. Jung Typology Test is based on the Myers-Briggs test and is pretty in-depth with lots of questions.
2. LOGB stands for Lion, Otter, Golden Retriever, Beaver. This one is short and to the point.
3. 16 Personalities has lots of options and is a bit more in-depth.
Huge thanks to my friend Jordan Vanderplate for letting me use this photo of Flekkerøy, Norway. Check out more of his work here.