Model the Way and Your Leadership Style

In my last post I mapped the DISC behavioral styles to The Leadership Challenge® Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. Today, I want to delve into the first practice: Model The Way. While we’ve always heard that we should lead by example, in this short video I’ll share some surprising information about the behaviors that your team members are looking for when they look for you to Model the Way.

Don’t want to watch the video? Read the details below.

The top qualities as uncovered in surveys by Barry Posner and James Kouzes that help us create credibilty as leaders are:

  • Honesty
  • Inspiring
  • Competent
  • Forward Thinking

How difficult will these qualities be to exhibit based on your DISC profile?

While honesty should come easily to all of us, telling the truth isn’t the only aspect of honesty. Openness and transparency are also related. If you are one of the more reserved styles, an S or C, you may be inclined to hold back information if you think it will damage the relationship. Or you may fall into passive aggressive behaviors because you know you are “right.” If you are a high D, you might not see the need for openness, opting for a “just get it done” attitude.

That “just get it done” attitude might also become a blind spot when your team is looking for direction – the forward thinking quality. If a bus driver said, “Jump on! Don’t worry where we’re going. I’ll get you there quickly.” Would you jump on? Probably not.

Being aware of our blindspots will enable us to get coaching or mentoring to bring out the behviors that will let us rise to the leadership challenge.

Click here to enroll in our next workshop. 


DISCover Your Leadership Style and therefore Your Leadership Challenge

Once you’ve discovered your preferred leadership style you can then apply it to a leadership model that works. For over 30 years two researchers, James Kouzes and Barry Posner, have been studying what front line workers look for in their leaders. While the individual trait ranking may change slightly over time five fundamental practices have not. While all leaders need to practice all habits, your behavioral preferences will make certain leadership practices easier than others.

In this short video I map the DISC behavioral styles to the Leadership Challenge®. You’ll know your Leadership Challenge® strengths and potential blind spots.

Don’t want to watch the video? Scroll down and read the summary.


Leadership behaviors can be broken down to five areas. Each of those areas can be mapped to a primary behavioral style.

Leadership Practice

Behavioral Style

Model the Way


Inspire a Shared Vision


Challenge the Process


Enable Others to Act


Encourage the Heart


All leaders are required to exhibit behaviors of each practice. Since Model the Way refers to exemplifying leadership behaviors, it is incumbent upon us to behave like a leader no matter what our style. Some of these behaviors will come easier based on our preference

Inspire a Shared Vision

High “I” s (Influencing) should be more able to exhibit behaviors that support inspiring a shared vision. Naturally effusive and inspiring, they are willing to be in the spotlight and enthusiastically bring people to their point of view. Too often, I find that they either don’t have a vision to share, or they flit from vision to vision with no long term horizon. This could drive their teams crazy.

Challenge the Process

Hi “D” s and “C” s (Dominance and Compliance) should be more willing to challenge the process. D’s will do it just because they want to get things done and remove obstacles. Cs will do it because they came up with a better way via analysis.

Enable others to Act

Being people oriented, S’s (Steady) and I’s would find it easier to delegate. They may only delegate when the other person explicitly requests it, though. Steady operators won’t want to upset the apple cart and potentially be afraid of upsetting the other person if they try to offload work.

Encourage the Heart

As steady relaters, S’s, should find encouraging others a very natural behavior. D’s and C’s may have the hardest time with this as they are more focused on results.

All leaders must exhibit behaviors of each of the five practices. Call me at 317.475.6555 to learn more.

The Science of Leadership

So much is written and talked about leadership in this country on a daily basis. You don’t need me to say more. This brings up the question: 

Why don’t our supervisors and managers

exhibit leadership?

While the answer to that question may be specific to your culture, often it’s due to a lack of understanding of themselves and others. Watch the short video below to see how our preferred behavioral style affects our leadership style.  Then call me to discuss your situation. I guarantee that you will gain value from a conversation, even if we don’t do business together.

Dominant leaders will have a tendency to drive themselves and others to results quickly, without much attention to data or personal feelings.

Inspiring leaders will use their powers of personal persuasion to create a vision and path to the result. They might need help staying on track.

Steady leaders will want to bring all team players along in the same direction. Their focus on cohesiveness and collaboration is highly valued in many cultures these days. They might be slower to make decisions.

Conscientious leaders bring a systematic, data driven approach to the table. Their careful approach should lead to good decisions. One of their potential blind spots is “paralysis by analysis.”

Without an understanding of ourselves, it is difficult to understand others. Then adapting our style to the situation is a challenge. With a good, scientific understanding of ourselves and training in the scientifically proven leadership qualities, our supervisors can exhibit the behaviors that truly lead. 

For your complimentary assessment and Leadership Style Coaching Session click the link.

*Our consultant will deliver the assessment to explain the concepts and coach you to use them  in the workplace.

To learn more, enroll in our DISCover Your Leadership Style workshop.


Results Should Follow

Dart board bullseye

You’d think that getting results would come naturally after the foundations for a highly cohesive team are laid. Unfortunately, obstacles will continue to get in the way and the challenge for leadership is to be vigilant and persistent.

Based on over 30 years of research into what workers are looking for from their leaders, James Kouzes and Barry Posner identified a fundamental leadership behavior:

Inspire a Shared Vision

Create that vision for your team and continue the communication around it to inspire their buy-in. Then recognize the common obstacles to focusing on team results:

  1. Ego – The need to be right may raise its ugly head and impede the way.
    Career goals – If career goals aren’t aligned with team goals, there might be a me/job conflict.
  2. Money – Whether personal finance, or an imbalanced bonus structure, money issues can divert attention from the team results.
  3. “My team” – In a large, siloed organization the “us vs. them” mentality sometimes is easy to spot. In smaller organizations, it might still exist if the team isn’t properly integrated.

Beware of these challenges to even the most cohesive teams. To see how our assessments can help team members understand each other, click here for a complimentary assessment and coaching session: Free Assessment

*Our consultant will deliver the assessment to explain the concepts and coach you to use them in the workplace.

Commitment is Hard; Accountability is Harder

Now that we’ve laid the foundation for a Highly Cohesive Team in my three previous blogs,


Healthy Conflict

Commitment to Team Goals

our next challenge is to hold each other accountable to the behaviors that will lead to those goals. As a supervisor, wouldn’t you like to get out of the mediation business? I can’t guarantee you will 100%; it is a part of your job. Yet, the more that peers can hold each other accountable, the more your time will be freed up for bigger picture work.

And, as a supervisor, how do you feel about your team members holding YOU accountable? If your team members don’t trust you enough to hold you accountable, see step 1.

In my years of coaching, I find that one of the biggest hurdles to peer accountability is the lack of training on a conversational model for it. In this short video,  I educate you on the basic framework for an accountability conversation. To really empower the team for true accountability give me a call at 317.475.6555, and I’ll share how other teams have achieved that level of cohesiveness.

To see how our assessments can help team members understand each other, click here for a complimentary assessment and coaching session: Free Assessment

*Our consultant will deliver the assessment to explain the concepts and coach you to use them  in the workplace.

Treadmill, Training, or Talent Development?

Here we are, another year under our belts. It seems like just yesterday it was summer and I was getting ready to head out to do some boating.

It’s a cliché that the older you get, time seems to speed up. It sure seems like it to me. It may be that there’s more and more things we need or want to get done and not enough hours in the day to do it. We all have responsibilities and goals and juggle our time around what’s a priority and what can wait. Being in the professional development and education area for many years, I see the conflict between what is important and what is urgent every day.

We teach Time Management workshops to everybody from Senior Executives to Customer Service Professionals and use Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix to illustrate some of the decisions we have to make about how we spend our time. Because unlike money, we can’t spend time and then make more later!


We have a tendency to put our day-to -day responsibilities in the urgent and important category. This is where the lion’s share of our time gets allocated. Yet for most of us, putting out fires all day isn’t the most productive use of our time.

Usually our New Year’s resolutions go in the important and not urgent category and that often goes to the back of line when it comes to where we center out attention. For example, we know that cultivating better eating habits are important but there is a drive through on the way to taking the kids to school and it won’t hurt just this one time to get to get one of those…… Mc-something or biscuits ….right? I really need to exercise and I promise I will start this weekend but today I’m just too tired.

Important but not urgent, right?

Our challenge, as Covey lays out, is to move from the Important/Urgent quadrant and devote activities to the Important/Not Urgent quadrant.

This same thing happens with talent management. Some of us have to move this to the important/urgent category as we might need to stay certified to do our jobs. CPA’s, Financial Planners and Medical Professionals all have to make this a priority or they can’t work. At the end of the year, we typically get a lot of registrations from those who are urgently filling CPE/CEU requirements.

In an information economy, professional development is a given if we don’t want to become obsolete in the workplace.

How can we make better use of our time to be more successful at our professional development goals?

  1. Have a goal in mind– If it’s to become certified, research what it takes to attain that credential. In project management we would do what is known as decompose the project (certification) and create a work breakdown structure of smaller deliverables all the way down to tasks. You can then allocate time on your calendar each day or week to work on those tasks and deliverables. This helps to make the goal more manageable. We can see the attainment of those smaller goals. It’s also easier to stay motivated if you can see you are making progress.
  2. Get buy-in from family and friends– It’s not unusual for people to have a goal and then not tell anybody. They don’t want to look bad in case they don’t follow through. If you tell the people closest to you they will likely give you the encouragement and help you need to stick with it. It will also be easier to say no to things like spontaneous after- work beers if you have few chapters to cover that night.
  3. Have a clear vision of how this credential/skill will benefit you professionally. Why are you working on this certification/degree? What will the attainment of this do for your career? Are you trying for a promotion? Will this help you get into a different industry that interests you? If you learn this new programming language, what will you do with it? Are you trying to write a specific program? Do you want to be able to work on different types of projects? If at all possible keep reminders around of all the reasons why you are working on whatever it is. For those of us that might be motivated more by loss than gain, we may want to keep in mind what we won’t be able to do and can’t have, if we don’t complete our goals.
  4. Become more efficient with your time. ( See the matrix above) We often don’t realize how much time we just plain waste every day. What are we spending time on that is urgent but not important? What can we delegate? What can really wait? Try and keep a log for a day. How much time do you spend just watching TV? When you take a break at lunch do you surf Facebook or take a minute to read a chapter or two or maybe watch a couple of eLearning lectures. Many of the new sources of eLearning have the ability to access content on smartphones and tablets now.
  5. If you get off track don’t beat yourself up. This happens more often than not. What happened? Did you let other things get in the way? Was it harder than you thought it would be? Don’t give up just yet. Go back and analyze what went wrong and why. If you need help, ask somebody. Sometimes the best thing to do is find somebody who accomplished what you want to, ask them how they did it and , if possible, just do what they did. It doesn’t always work the same but you will gain valuable insight.

The most important takeaway is that you will be amazed at what you can accomplish if you have a clear vision, don’t give up and tell yourself that mistakes are just part of it.

If you ever need help you can call us here at ETI. We work with people every day on their professional development. We know how hard it can be as well as how rewarding.

With Great Conflict Comes Great Commitment

In a previous vlog I talked about  the foundation for a highly cohesive team:


Which leads to

Healthy Conflict

Once teams are able to engage in open, honest, healthy discussion they can then be more committed to the goals that result. Watch this short video to learn more:

Healthy conflict doesn’t mean there will be consensus. I advocate that it is up to the team leader to decide the course in many cases. Yet, involving the team in order to hear all sides of the issue is crucial. Once people have some say in the decision-making process, they have more buy-in to the goal. Then, when they cascade the decision throughout the organization, we can align behind the leadership. Give me a call at 317.475.6555, and I’ll share what usually gets in the way of commitment to team goals.

To see how our assessments can help team members understand each other, click here for a complimentary assessment and coaching session: Free Assessment

*Our consultant will deliver the assessment to explain the concepts and coach you to use them  in the workplace.

Healthy Conflict Makes Healthy Teams

In a previous video I talked about  the foundation for a highly cohesive team:


Once trust is deepened we can then have conflict without the threat that sometimes accompanies it. Conflict is essential to progress and beneficial change. In “The Leadership Challenge” the authors identify “Challenging the Process” as a key leadership trait. Leaders must challenge and be challenged. Having team meetings where ideas can freely flow typically gets us the best options for decisions. The second behavior of highly cohesive teams is:

Healthy Conflict

Click on the video below to see how teams can establish conflict norms and understand each other to handle conflict better. Once the team establishes the expectations and ground rules for conflict, the team will be comfortable in voicing their opinions. Understanding each others’ backgrounds, motivations, and behavioral styles helps to break down barriers based on preconceptions that “everyone should be like me.” For more exercises to create the environment for healthy conflict, see Lencioni’s other examples in his book, or give me a call at 317.475.6555.

To see how our assessments can help team members understand each other and build trust for healthy conflict, click here for a complimentary assessment and coaching session: Free Assessment

*Our consultant will deliver the assessment to explain the concepts and coach you to use them  in the workplace.


It all starts with Trust

An Easy Trust Conversation

In a previous blog I introduced Patrick Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team.” If you’ve watched my video or read the fable, you know that the foundation is


Intuitively we all know it starts with trust, and that’s why Lencioni makes it the foundation of his model. For some teams our full, 2-day workshop is required to begin the trust-building process. For others, helping them get started on the right foot is enough. To do this we use the exercises in the book. They are three simple conversations to open up to our co-workers.

Click on the video below to see how natural the conversation is. ETI Account Representative, Lastar Jackson, didn’t know what I was going to ask him. During this brief encounter at the coffee machine we learned a little bit about each other. Building a personal relationship tends to break down barriers. You don’t have to be their best bud; if you want to keep it completely professional see Lencioni’s other examples in his book, or give me a call at 317.475.6555.

Try this conversation and let me know how it went!

Click here for a complimentary assessment and coaching session: Free Assessment

*Our consultant will deliver the assessment to explain the concepts and coach you to use them  in the workplace.

Six Blogs about Five Dysfunctions

First in the Series

Introduction to the Five Dysfunctions of a Team

One of our most common inquiries is for the workshop The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. It is very popular due to the best-selling fable by Patrick Lencioni. People google “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, and ETI often is a top search result.

Best results for this workshop come when we can work with the smallest intact team: that top executive team, the five or six members of the sales staff, the entire staff of a small, ROWE style workplace. And, many times just an overview of the concepts suffices to establish a good foundation for the team.

The Five Functions of a Highly Cohesive Team

Lencioni has begun to rebrand his training program to The Five Functions of a Highly Cohesive Team. I applaud that move, since I flipped the script on “dysfunctions” a long time ago. The five functions are:

  1. Instill deep trust
  2. Have healthy conflict
  3. Commit to team goals
  4. Hold each other accountable
  5. Focus on results

Intuitively we all know it starts with trust, and that’s why Lencioni makes it the foundation of his model.

With high trust, we can have healthy, fruitful debate to make team decisions.

When all members have had a chance to give input and arguments, they are more likely to commit to the team decision, even when it is not their idea that carries the day.

Accountability is difficult for peers and up the org chart. I’ll be sending more in-depth information on this later.

Individual, or silo results get in the way of team results when the team is dysfunctional.

To get started understanding yourself and your team members, click here for a complimentary assessment and coaching session.: Free Assessment

*Our consultant will contact you to go over the assessment results