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How to Leverage Your Personality in the Workplace

How to Leverage Your Personality in the Workplace
Your personality is one of your most valuable assets—especially in leadership.
Yes, you read that statement correctly.
Often, leaders try to hide their personalities. This usually occurs because they feel it will alienate some of their team members, or worse, they feel like their personality is a hindrance to their ability to lead.
But, in this day and age, people are seeking authentic connections. Anyone can go onto social media and pretend to be someone they are not. But, it takes great courage to authentically showcase the things that make you, you.

What is Personality?

Merriam-Webster defines personality as “distinction or excellence of personal and social traits.” In other words, your personality is what makes you unique. It may include your hobbies, style of speech, the way you act and react to situations, the things you enjoy and don’t enjoy, your sense of humor, and so much more.
Your personality can be used to lighten tough circumstances or help others realize the importance of handling a situation in a certain way. It can be used to build connections between you and your team or to inspire the group to reach a goal.

An Inspiring Story

I don’t have to tell you that the year 2020 was a difficult one for the medical field. COVID cases were on the rise, the Great Resignation was taking its toll, and many companies feared the world was on the verge of economic recession.
Right in the middle of all of this, one of my clients—let’s call him John—found himself named interim CEO of a medical establishment in the wake of a huge scandal. Without going into detail, most of the C-suite staff had been dismissed from their positions due to mismanagement of funds, and John was left to pick up the pieces.
Morale hit an all-time low, and he knew that if too many more employees resigned, the company would become unsustainable. He tried everything from motivational talks to free lunches to team-building activities, but nothing seemed to work.
Finally one day, he showed up to work in his scuba diving gear. As an avid scuba diver, it allowed him to mentally escape the workplace and imagine himself underwater. The minute he walked through the door, his employees started laughing and talking. Conversations drifted naturally from one topic to the next as they enjoyed this lighthearted moment.
While the scuba gear didn’t change the circumstances, it did change the perspectives of John’s staff. For one day, team members got to laugh and think about anything other than the challenges they were facing. They were able to connect on a personal level in a way they hadn’t before.
In the end, that one act is what pulled the team through. The company survived, and John was able to rebuild his team. All by leveraging his personality.

Dismantling the Myth

One common myth is that people with “leadership personalities” make better leaders. But, that’s not true. In fact, there is no one personality that is suited for every leadership situation.
There are certainly skills that most good leaders have in common, but this is not the same as personality. Skills are something you work to develop, but personality is what gives you the ability to lead authentically.
Next time you find yourself in a challenging situation, don’t be afraid to look at your personality as a way out. It just might be the thing to get you through.
If you want to learn more about authentic, personality-driven leadership, check out our podcast, Ep 21: Be the Leader the Situation Needs.


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