Describing my leadership style…

A component of the higher education program is to have two different internships: one over the summer and one during our second year of the program. Over the past week I’ve been interviewing for internship positions at different institutions back up north. I really dislike phone interviews because I can never tell how well I do. I play off people’s expressions and emotions in a face-to-face interview, and I can generally gauge how they like me. I feel like that’s the case for most people…regardless, there’s a typical interview question that’s asked that I feel is pertinent for this blog:

What is your leadership style? Describe it.

During Assistant Hall Director training this winter, we along with the Residence Hall Directors took something called the DISC assessment. Basically, this assessment describes how you interact with your coworkers and what type of personality style you have. I found it extremely interesting, and accurate. According to the assessment, there are four different trait styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. I fall into the Steadiness category. (Sidenote: I’ve also taken StrengthsFinder, and one of my strengths is Consistency, which I found interesting). 

As described on http://www.discprofile.com/styles/S-style.htm, an S:

  • is motivated by cooperation, opportunities to help and sincere appreciation
  • prioritizes giving support, collaboration and maintaining stability
  • is described as calm, patient, predictable, deliberate, stable and consistent.
  • may be limited by being indecisive, overly accommodating and tendency to avoid change
  • may fear change, loss of stability and offending others.
  • values loyalty, helping others and security

Goals:

  • personal accomplishments
  • group acceptance
  • power through formal roles and positions of authority
  • maintenance of status quo and controlled environment

Needs others who:

  • react quickly to unexpected change
  • become involved in more than one thing
  • are self-promoting
  • apply pressure on others
  • work comfortably in an unpredictable environment
  • help to prioritize work
  • are flexible in work procedures

This describes me exactly. I was astonished. I am very task oriented, however in a large group setting, I prefer to sit back and see what everyone else has to say before offering my opinion and ideas. The way that I usually describe my leadership style is exactly that: if someone is leading the group, I will be happy to do whatever it is to support them in order to make sure the task gets done. However, if no one is stepping up, I will be more than happy to do that for the group. For me, there is only one thing on my mind: getting to the goal and solving the problem. I don’t care how we get there and what the most efficient way is…well, sometimes I do. I am mostly just focused on achieving what we as a group need to achieve. I know some people who need to think of the easiest and quickest way to do something. One of my RAs is a perfect example. She needs to know all of the details ahead of time and loves structure, and one of the reasons is because she likes to discover a faster and easier way of accomplishing things. I am not like that. I need to know a few details, sure, but my focus is on getting the task accomplished, and I’m not picky about how we get there.

Describing leadership styles can be difficult and vague. But I’ve been in this field long enough to know that there are certain tools that can be used to help, such as StrengthsFinder and DISC. And thanks to DISC, I had an easier time of answering that interview question.

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