5 Ways to Know When to Let the Tiger Out
Extraordinary strength in a person with a strong personality (SP) is a potent opportunity for advantage or destruction.
Don’t dial back your strong personality.
Choose when to let the tiger out.
A CIO with an SP sent me a note after yesterday’s post, “12 Problems with Strong Personalities.” He knows he’s an SP with some useful strengths.
One reason he rose to the corporate suite is he has a strong bent toward action. In addition, he’s fanatical about clarity. If you aren’t clear, you better get clear, quick.
Once the path is clarified, get going or get out of the way. If you want something done, he can make it happen.
The downside of his ability to get things done is he might steamroll you, unintentionally of course.
He realizes the importance of giving space so others can get things done their way. But his nature is to get on the dance floor and start getting busy.
This time – not every time:
Focus your energy. Don’t tamp it down.
My CIO friend told me he’s learning to make a conscious choice every time an opportunity presents itself. “Do I want to dance in this dance or not?” His strong personality combined with his skill makes him love to dance.
Choose the best moments to release the tiger.
Organizations need strong personalities. Don’t make a blanket decision to tame the tiger. Focus it, instead.
When to release the tiger:
- How does your decision reflect a commitment to serve others?
- Can someone else lead the team, even if it isn’t done the way you would do it?
- Is there time for others to develop leadership skills?
- What’s best for the organization over the medium-term?
- Are you already engaged in high priority activities?
Bonus: Do you have the courage to let someone else shine?
When should leaders release their strong personality?
When should leaders tame or cage their inner tiger?
The CIO has turned that aspect of his/her personality into a tool to use.
Thanks Bill. I’m fortunate to work with him.
turn a possible weakness to strength – that’s a component of wisdom
Hi Dan…I believe when taking the lead, starting up, giving direction…for me I should show my strong personality. TO fully develop someone in coaching conversations or ‘one on ones’ I should tame that tiger inside of me…focus should be on the other. + when I am with my superiors…I should tune in with them and listen. Thanks
Thanks Dennis. Great insight. I agree completely. I’m learning to quiet my voice and relax while coaching.
This is a very interesting post for me. When to release the tiger is a conversation I have with myself a lot. Point no. 2 of when to release the tiger really said something to me. But it’s balanced with ‘this time, not every time’. Thank you.
Thanks Chloe. It’s an ongoing challenge/opportunity to learn the “not every time” principle. Best wishes.
I felt like I should be humming the Rocky III theme song “Eye of the Tiger” while reading this post.
While I don’t fit this CIO’s example of a tiger on a self imposed temp leash ready to pounce, I do feel that “just about to jump” inclination during key all-hands meetings. Often it’s itching to get out when I feel there is an elephant in the room that no one else is willing to stick their neck out to address. Although in that moment my heart rate feels more indicative of a sacrificial lamb.
Thanks James. I have to say, sometimes the people who point out the elephant in the room pay for it. In my view, it’s a gift.
The other challenge happens when you see an elephant and others don’t. There’s always something.
“Once the path is clarified, get going or get out of the way.” I would think the first part of that would be key. Otherwise, everyone is watching while the impulsive SP crashes and burns.
Thanks Cheryl. I think the combination of being action oriented and driven to find clarity make a wonderful combination. As you indicate, without them we are impulsive and walking a very thin line.
I love this follow up post! I will admit that I have had trouble taming the tiger. Good ideas excite me and I am naturally not very patient so I was usually the first one in the meeting to say yes and offer my services. I often have bitten off more than I could chew. Too many nights with too little sleep helped change me. I make a conscious effort to ask other people to take the lead on projects now and let them.
Thanks Sarah. Your candor helps me see another facet of this conversation. “Good ideas excite me” — Bingo. Looks like you’re on the journey too. Best wishes.
Self knowledge is a powerful tool, that is what allows SP’s to realise who they are, its the ones that can’t see it that will overpower others.
“Once the path is clarified, get going or get out of the way…” Wow – that is me to a fault – guess I fit the SP well. I have worked as a manager (with implied authority) and as an invidual contributor (with only influential authority) in the same company and I must say the latter job has really pushed me to add tools to the toolbox. I, too, have the issue of, once it gets decided, let’s get it done and know this sometimes results in unintentionally steamrolling others. It’s not a conscious decision but it is in my nature and work ethic to move quickly once a decision is made.
What I love best about SP’s is that you don’t have to ask where you stand – they will make it clear. Some view this as very confrontational but I find it to be a breath of fresh air while too many are tip-toeing around the subject. If you are open to feedback and have enough strength inside to view all feedback as a potential learning experience (there is ALWAYS some truth to feedback even when it is negative in nature), it is amazing what you learn about yourself and what you can become.