Appreciating Differences - Jack Falt - Ottawa area, Ontario, Canada

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Book Review by Jack Falt

Beck, John D.W., & Yeager, Neil M., The Leaders’ Window: Mastering the Four Styles of leadership to Build high-Performing Teams, Second Edition, Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black Publishing, 2001, ISBN 0-89106-160-6, 300 pp

The Leaders’ Window is not an Jung/Myers theory book per say, although it has a chapter on it, but the fact that it talked about four styles intrigued me. I wondered if it might relate to the four temperaments, but as I read it I realized that it was fairly close to the four interaction styles that Linda Berens has developed. (See the book review on Interaction Styles.) She and Keirsey found that the four temperaments could further be subdivided into four more groups, giving a total of sixteen or the sixteen Jung/Myers personality types. A matrix was created by dividing people who initiated and responded on one axis and those who directed and informed on the other axis, creating a four-by-four matrix.

Beck and Yeager also create a four-by-four matrix and come up with their four styles of leadership. One axis of their matrix divides those who lead by low or high support of their staff, and the other axis divides those who lead by low direction or high direction.
• Supportive Behaviour
• Participation
• Listening
S3 - Developing
• High Support - Low Direction
• Team Member Decides with
Active Listening - Limited Influencing
S2 - Problem Solving
• High Support - High Direction
• Leader Decides with Input
Active Listening - Active Influencing
S2 - Delegating
• Low Support
Low Direction
• Team Member Decides Alone
Limited Listening - Limited Influencing
S1 - Directing
• Low Support-High Direction
• Leader Decides Alone
• Limited Listening
Active Influencing - Active Influencing
• Directive Behaviour
• Leader’s Responsibility
• Influencing

Style 1 is directing or telling employees what to do, when to do it and how to do it. In its negative form it is called dominating.

Style 2 involves getting together with the employees and listening to their ideas before coming to a decision. Its negative form is over-involving the employees rather than making a decision and getting on with the task at hand, a kind of group wallow.

Style 3 is developing. The leaders acts as a support as the employee solves any problems that need to be dealt with. In its negative form it is over-accommodating. Here the leaders just lets the employee flounder around without stepping in.

Style 4 is delegating. The leader assumes that the employee knows what to do and assumes that the task is being done without the need of direction. In its negative form the leader is abdicating, assuming the task is being carried out.

The book then gives examples of top leaders of industry who use one of these styles as their main way of leading. Also of interest are examples of politicians who use these styles.
Style Leader Politics
Style 1 Ray Kroc - McDonald’s VP Al Gore
Style 2 Bill Gates - Microsoft George Bush Sr.
Style 3 Jack Welch - General Electric Corazon Aquino - Philippines
Style 4 Ted Turner - CNN Ronald Reagan/George W. Bush

 The book emphasises the need for a leader to use all four styles. One trap that leaders get into is the 1-4-1 combination of styles. Here the leader tells the employee what to do (1). Then the employee is left alone (4). The leader then see that the employee isn’t doing it the way expected, so the leader goes back into directing mode (1).

The most useful combination is 1-4-3-2. Here the leader gives direction (1), lets the employee get on with the task (4), meets with the employee to assist with any problems (3), and when the employee meets a roadblock, listens and then makes a decision (2).

I see a close correlation between Berens Interaction Styles. In Charge - Style 1. Get things Going - Style 2. Behind the Scenes - Style 3. Chart the Course - Style 4.

The book finishes off by looking at how to make a group of people a team using the four styles of leadership.

The book is meant as a text for a leadership course the authors give. It has lots of examples and has lots of ideas a leader could use. It is meant for captains of industry and Fortune 500 companies. The concepts are valid for any leadership situation, but there aren’t many examples of how to give leadership in a small company.

In the Jung/Myers theory chapter, the four dimensions of behaviour include descriptions on how those who score near the middle of each dimension tend to behave as opposed to those at the extremes. See the accompanying article called “Near the Midpoint.”

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