What Shape is Your Leadership – A Team Activity
What shape is your leadership? This isn’t about being physically thin or round.
What shape is most appealing to you? (Pick a shape you prefer before you read further.)
Yesterday I gave a keynote for the Ohio Dept. of Education (ODE). In the afternoon, Joe Petrarca, a leader in the ODE, gave a presentation on shapes and personality.
It seems that the shape you prefer reflects your personality. Maybe it’s hocus pocus, but it’s a fun interaction that your team can use for conversation and reflection.
I prefer the triangle and the squiggle. If I had to choose, I’d choose the squiggle. Squares bug me.
- Choose your preferred shape and share it with your teammates.
- Hand out the document provided by Preceptor.
- Discuss strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.
- How might you/others best leverage your/their shape?
If you prefer squares, it’s likely you are:
If your leader is a square:
- Do your job.
- Meet all deadlines.
- Pay attention to details.
- Be to work on time.
If you prefer circles, it’s likely you are:
- Relationship oriented.
- Team oriented.
If your leader is a circle:
- Be prepared to stop what you are doing and chat.
- Expect lots of meetings.
- Do not lie.
If you prefer triangles, it’s likely you are:
- Able to do well under pressure.
If your leader is a triangle:
- Do the “little things”.
- Don’t “badmouth” a team.
- Make all communication direct and succinct.
If you’re a rectangle, it’s likely you are:
If your leader is a rectangle:
- Don’t push.
- Offer suggestions and ideas.
If you’re a squiggle, it’s likely you are:
- Idea oriented.
If your leader is a squiggle:
- Keep paperwork away.
- Walk and talk.
(After discussion, give people a chance to change their shape.)
What shape do you prefer?
How might you use a “shape exercise” with your team?
What Shape are You (Preceptor)
Favorite Shape Reveals Personality (Weakly News)
Very interesting. I chose squiggle and it is spot on.
Thanks Chris. Me too. KEEP PAPERWORK AWAY FROM ME!! 🙂
Start triangular, circle it, square it, pick an orientation, fill the over lap with squiggles.
The only shape that is completely filled in is the triangle.
“Thus, the end of all our exploring us to arrive where you began, and know the place for the first time.”
Whoops, pick an orienation and elongate the square, that is …
Thanks for running with this. What if you see yourself in all of them? 🙂
All life is a triangulation between heart, head and gut … 🙂
All else is just fun, I love it all.
Can’t wait to try this with the team 😉
Thanks Becky. If anything, this little exercise can ignite conversations and help us get to know each other a little better.
I LOVE this idea! I’m going to use it at a team retrospective. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks BMO. Have fun!
Sir: Is there research to use to validate this exercise. I’d like to use it with my teachers and administrators and like to support the exercise with some research-based evidence. Thanks.
Thanks for asking, Wayne. I didn’t find any research. After I saw Joe use this, I went online to explore it. But didn’t find any research. There may be some research, but I think it’s just a fun opportunity to have a conversation about our orientation, strengths, and weaknesses.
I choose oval. I don’t know why. I wonder what that means. Perhaps a rectangle with parts of a circle? A circle under pressure?
Thanks Molly. Isn’t it funny that, when asked, we prefer a shape. I think an oval is a circle that bounces back. 🙂
Maybe we should adapt the exercise to have people draw a shape and explain why the shape reflects their strengths and weaknesses.
The thing I like about the triangle is that it looks like it’s going somewhere, like an arrow head. But, if I use the descriptions, I’m more a squiggle.
I’m not lying … the circle …
🙂 thanks Michael.
I like it! I am a circleâº
I am drawn to the triangle. However, in reality the squiggle describes me pretty well.
Was a Circle originally but because of perseverance to continue to grow that would account for the squiggle witch because of the time of injure the focus and drive is free currently to enjoy it because of continues learning the base is still triangle didn’t know we could actually have a choice on personalities. Pretty cool.
I would prefer a square, but when leading a team I’m a circle. Relationships on a team are so important when working together to accomplish a task. This was an interesting exercise I’ll be sharing with our leadership team.
Over years, I have used a version of this (without the rectangle) I found it in a book called What Shape Are You that I lent to a colleague, never to be returned, and now I cannot find it online even.
I have run this with mostly marketing groups, who mostly come out as circles or squiggles, which makes sense because marketing requires creativity and an ability to relate to people. I also saw it used by an Ad agency to recruit an account manager (circle), and Creative Director ( squiggle). If anyone has academic references for it, or the original book, I would love to hear about it!