Your style leads to your observable behavior in any circumstance. Since behaviors govern how the world reacts to you, it is critical to understand your own style. Equally important with understanding your stlye is to actively manage it.
Many people spend a lot of time and energy understanding their style. They know that they are an INFP on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator or a High “D” with strong “I” tendencies on the DiSC Scale. This tells them the pigeon hole they rate themselves in and how that pigeonhole relates to the rest of the world.
These indicators are extremely helpful at helping people understand not only their own actions but how they can relate better to people with different styles. Unfortunately, these indicators view style in a static sense and do not consider that we are all changing and growing every day.
My opinion is that the study of one’s style should go way beyond these mechanical descriptors of what we currently are. Our style should also include what we might become if we actively manage it.
The attached white paper is an attempt to put some framework around this topic. It is far from a complete study, and I would be interested in any references or ideas others have to share.
I think this is topic may be larger and wider than that of simply a single leader learning to manage their style. Recognizing that within any organization – large or small – there are potentially many people capable of being a leader and probably more that attempt to exercise leadership from time to time, one must recognize that there are many inputs that can influence ones style.
While it may be possible, as your white paper suggests, to go through a group “self-discovery” exercise using meyers-briggs (or similar), even this does not recognize the potential for change or growth in people’s styles.
I am not expert, but will suggest that managing one’s style has as much to do with recognizing the needs of a situation as well as the qualities of its participants (whether those participants realize that is their immediate concern or not). Adapting or utilizing your leadership style to cause those participants to decide to take the correct action is the goal. Of course, as you already know, none of this happens without a level of trust. That is your area of expertise, so I do not need to expound upon it.
Perhaps a better title for this is “Leveraging and Adapting Your Style” because, as you suggest, at a certain level, we are who we are, and probably quite comfortable with ourselves.
I recently ran across your name and, subsequently, your work on leadership and trust. I am enjoying your work!