What Does Perceptual Style Theory Tell You About Leadership? Part 1

Each Perceptual Style supports a large number of natural talents that people with that Perceptual Style find easy to learn, hone, and perform. In this and the following four articles I will explore how the natural talents of each of the PS support different ways of leading.

Lynda-Ross Vega

Lynda-Ross Vega

Leadership is a very complex skill that is difficult to pin down. Much of the research on leadership has focused on the more obvious traits such as command, decision making, risk-taking, etc. While these definitions capture much of what is widely recognized as leadership in the business and political arenas, it limits leadership to one or two of the PS. Leadership cannot be explained by PS alone, but we believe that a definition that excludes two thirds of people from the possibility of leadership is incomplete. We prefer a very broad definition of the word: Leadership is when one person points in a direction and others follow. The ‘pointing in a direction’ can be overt and specific, or subtle and indistinct. It is not the nature of the direction which determines leadership rather it is the existence of a reciprocal relationship – leader and follower. The development of this reciprocal relationship is not PS dependent; people with any of the six PS can lead. People follow a leader because they recognize either consciously or unconsciously that the leader has certain qualities:

  1. Their behaviors build on the natural strengths of their PS.
  2. They are aware of the limitations to understanding the world their PS imposes, and they seek to surround themselves and listen to people with PS different than their own.
  3. They are aware that any group of followers is composed of people with PS that are different from their own and they find ways to communicate effectively to all PS.
  4. They provide opportunities for the diversity within their group of followers to engage and build on complementary skills sets.
  5. They learn how to ‘borrow’ successful leadership techniques from the other PS and to use them in a way that puts the stamp of their PS and their unique personality on them.

Using this definition of leadership, we believe that people with all six PS are capable of leading.

Let’s take a look at the first two of these five qualities (we will look at the last three in Part 2):

  1. Their behaviors build on the natural strengths of their PS.

We have often spoken and written that people are most satisfied and find the most meaning in their lives, no matter what they are doing, when their actions draw upon their natural skills. It is also true that people are most effective and efficient when they are using skills that are naturally supported by their PS. Leaders are aware of their own natural skills, develop them, and use them as much as is realistic, possible, and appropriate. Behavior that is PS congruent ‘rings true’ to others while behavior that is PS incongruent does not have the natural fluidity and grace that inspires confidence and a desire to follow no matter how effective.

  1. They are aware of the limitations to understanding the world their PS imposes, and they seek to surround themselves and listen to people with PS different than their own.

One of the most important aspects of Perceptual Style Theory (PST) is that everyone’s understanding of the world is limited by their PS. While this is an easy concept to learn about and understand intellectually, it is a challenging one to integrate into one’s actions in daily life. Leaders not only understand and accept that they have an incomplete view of the world, they recognize the practical limitations of their view and actively seek the advice and counsel of others with different PS to help them fully understand important situations and issues.

To find out more about the services we have available to help you find the success you want and deserve go to www.YourTalentAdvantage.com.

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