Take Me To Your Leader

After ridiculing CareerLeader, it's time to post about a self-assessment which really works. One of my classes this term is ESD.945 "Systems Leadership and Management". It's a project-based class which looks explicitly at effective teamwork, decision-making, leadership style, and management theory. I have always found it strange that much of being a manager is about leadership, but that business school focuses so much on the nuts and bolts of strategy/economics/accounting. One of our early exercises in this class was to take the "Belbin Team Roles" test. I have to say that I was surprised at the results.

"Know Thyself, Algorithmically": The test prioritizes your teamwork style into a variety of iconic roles. I had always seen myself as a dispassionate, technocratic "coordinator": the one who doesn't care much about the direction of the team as long as everything is humming along efficiently. As it turns out, I'm more of a "shaper", a description which fits over 80% of business school graduates. I have a vision, and dang it if we're not moving in that direction. It's either time that I own up to this tendency, or explicitly walk away from it. Denial helps nobody.

I at least have one trait which is rare among MBA-types. My second-highest score is as an "implementer". Though the name sounds like an individual contributor, this role actually shows strengths in delegation, leading the team towards its goals, and generally making sure that Stuff Gets Done. Implementers are apparently rare in business school, so I do have an edge here.

My team for this class contains another strong "shaper" personality. We're already talking about how to best make sure that we work constructively. This is a conversation which probably wouldn't have happened without the test. Call it an early win.

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