Imagine that you are applying for the role of a Number Two to a leader. Every leader is different and has their own style. So you may be working with somebody who has the characteristics of an:
* Entrepreneur who is also an Engineer.
These are over-simplifications, of course, but are useful for guidance. Let’s explore how you can work with each type of leader.
1) You can work with entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs tend to have high energy and think quickly. Brilliant in their own field, they go ‘A, B ____’ then leap to ‘Z’. Visionary by nature, they do not always communicate their visions to people, even though they think they do!
Contrary to most beliefs, such people actually do follow a process. But this is often intuitive and needs to be communicated in a code that others understand. Entrepreneurs often need a ‘translator’ who acts as a channel between them and the rest of the world.
There is seldom a dull moment working with such people. But it can also be frustrating. They make great leaps of faith, score a few own goals and change their minds without telling other people. Nevertheless, they attract like-minded people who enjoy the adventure.
Successful entrepreneurs know their strengths. The wise ones surround themselves with colleagues who can compensate for their weaknesses. They build good leadership teams that combine their strengths to achieve success.
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. First, write the names of people you know who demonstrate the characteristics of entrepreneurs. You may want to look beyond classic entrepreneurs. For example, many inventors, retailers, scientists, media people and others have a similar style. Second, describe the specific things you can do to work well with such people. Try completing the following sentences.
2) You can work with engineers.
Engineers want to make things work. They tend to be methodical and follow a structured process. They go ‘a, b, c, d, e …’ and continue in a systematic way until they reach ‘z’. They expect others to adopt a similar approach and be able to explain issues in detail.
Good engineers focus on the end goal. They then apply their expertise to tackling challenges on the road to achieving success. Sometimes they can become fixated on problems – which has pluses and minuses.
On the upside, solving an issue may be exactly what is required. On the downside, events can grind to a halt by delving into issues that may not be vital. Driving the process may then become more important than lifting the actual prize.
Good engineers are needed to ensure that the key principles are followed across an organisation, however, to achieve sustainable success.
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. First, write the names of people you know who demonstrate the characteristics of engineers. Such people may work in engineering, finance, logistics, IT and others fields. Second, describe the specific things you can do to work well with such people. Try completing the following sentences.
3) You can work with entrepreneurs who are also engineers.
Such people combine elements from both worlds. The entrepreneurial side is inspiring, visionary and focuses on the prize. The engineering side follows a systematic plan and has attention to detail on the road to achieving success.
Entrepreneurs who are also engineers are extremely demanding. They have a clear strategy, build winning teams and deliver the goods. They have both the plan and the prize in their head.
Such leaders expect colleagues to pursue the agreed strategy, keep them informed and take responsibility. They give people autonomy – but they expect people to be accountable and deliver the results. So prepare for an exciting but sometimes traumatic ride.
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. First, write the names of people you know who demonstrate the characteristics of entrepreneurs who are also engineers. Second, describe the specific things you can do to work well with such people. Try completing the following sentences.
What is your preferred type of leader? Bearing in mind the pluses and minuses, make your choice. Then do everything possible to help them to succeed – whether they are an entrepreneur, engineer or entrepreneur who is also an engineer. And, of course, it is also quite good to know your own style.