Claudia Cooley

Building Stronger Relationships

Building Stronger Relationships
As You Understand Leadership Styles

It doesn’t matter whether you are an entrepreneur, and executive, a manager, or an employee, improving your ability to lead others will change your results. This works at home too by the way. All of us have to lead in someway, and it is really important to be aware of our leadership style, how it differs from others’ styles, and how to use those differences to our advantage instead of letting them undermine our goals.

As a teacher, I was trained to understand and use Emotional Intelligence to reach multiple learning styles. And over the years, I’ve been exposed to the Myers-Briggs system and the DISC Behavioral Styles for understanding and working successfully with various personality types. There are basically four different leadership styles and, while I’ve seen several different ways for communicating these styles, I want to share my favorite way to understand and remember them.

Over the years, I have taught these ideas with animal examples to hundreds of people; and, on occasion, when I bump into one of them, they’ll let me know they married a Lion or they are working with a Monkey. It tickles me that this information can be so memorable and useful. It makes improving your leadership ability FUN!

The four animals we’ll be using to discuss leadership styles are the Lion, Monkey, Giraffe, and Turtle. See! After just hearing their names, you are already starting to make assumptions about which animal will exhibit certain characteristics.

The diagram I’ve included here will discuss the two main characteristics addressed – Assertiveness and Responsiveness/Sensitivity. If you follow the numbers across the top of the diagram (Horizontal 1 – 10: The 10 indicates “most assertive”.),

You will see that the Giraffe is less assertive than the Lion, and the Turtle is less assertive than the Monkey. Makes sense, right? If you follow the numbers down the page on the left (Vertical 1 – 10: The 10 indicates “most responsive / sensitive.”), you will see that the Giraffe is less responsive/sensitive than the Turtle, and the Lion is less responsive/sensitive than the Monkey.

Before we go any further, I want to make this very clear: Each and every style is perfect. Remember, we are all designed with our own unique Purpose, temperament, and gifts. This is simply a way to help you identify and maximize your leadership style to get the results you desire -personally and professionally. Whichever style you carry, it’s perfect for you…Whether you are a Lion, Monkey, Turtle or Giraffe

Meet the Lion Leader –
He Likes to Win!

The Lion is at the top right of the graph, which means that he’s very assertive and not very responsive or sensitive. He is the controller – the one that is all about the “bottom-line.” He is time conscious, and wants only the facts. He makes a great CEO. This leader likes to delegate if he trusts a person’s ability, but has a tendency to do it all himself because he has confidence in his own ability to do well. He is a “take action” type of man, demands results, and is very competitive.

The Lion Leader is also a snappy dresser – conservative and with good taste. This is someone that doesn’t mind you knowing they are a winner. In fact, he usually has a large space designated to displaying his trophies and awards. This leader makes good use of his time and resources, and he doesn’t appreciate waste. In this regard, he takes action to produce a lot in a short amount of time. Don’t bore him with a long story. Get to the punch line before he tunes you out.

Lion Leaders Are:

Meet the Monkey Leader – He Likes
to Be Recognized and Applauded!

The Monkey is on the bottom right of the diagram, meaning that he’s very assertive and very sensitive/responsive. The Monkey Leader is fun-loving, electric, and energetic. He wants all of the information, is impulsive, and lives behind a stack of papers. What’s interesting is that the Monkey Leaders can find what they
want in their mess, so don’t mess with their “organized” mess.
This leader is not attached to the clock or to the outcome. He’s more people-oriented than task-oriented, and prefers to work on more than one project at a time. Well, the truth is, he likes to get them started and let someone else finish them. He loves to put his certificates and awards on the wall (when he gets round to it) and doesn’t mind a pat on the back for a job well done.

The Monkey Leader will initiate teamwork rather than work alone and is great in sales and motivational projects. Some monkeys might look “well put together”
but are usually a bit sloppier or less polished than a lion. However, there is no set stereo-type. A Monkey is likely to be trendy and fashion savvy, appreciating others’ attention to what they wear. Even “flashy” isn’t over the top for them. They might even like the ties that have Disney figures and cartoons.

Monkey Leaders Are:
Teamwork Initiators

Meet the Turtle Leader –
He Likes to Be Comfortable!

Scooting over to the lower left on the graph, you will find (or not) the Turtle, depending on whether they are ready for the day and any drama that comes with it. While he is not very assertive, he is very responsive and sensitive to criticism.

The Turtle Leader is a huge asset to your teams. These are the “worker bees,” not clock-watchers. They find satisfaction in finishing the job well rather than rushing and risking mistakes. They are the note-takers on your team, as they need to have all of the instructions down on paper for easy reference. They don’t want to disappoint anyone.

These leaders work well from lists and love to check off their tasks as they accomplish them. They work alone comfortably, but they enjoy working with others too. However, conflict will push them into their shell really fast, and they won’t come out until the drama dies down. In their environment, they prefer family pictures, easy, comfy furniture, comfortable clothes, and loafer shoes. They might prefer a shirt that doesn’t need to be tucked in and a nubby wool blazer with khakis rather than a suit, but they will wear a suit well when called for. The Turtles are usually more conservative with colors, so as not to draw too much attention to their person. They usually own lots of conservative ties.

Turtle Leaders Are:
Individual Workers
Not Clock-Watchers
Loyal Friends and Employees
Thorough Direction-Followers
Slow Decision-Makers

Meet the Giraffe Leader –
He Likes to Be Accurate!

The Giraffe Leader is in the top left corner, which means he’s not very assertive and not very responsive. Can’t you just see his head popping out over the top of the jungle checking everything out to see if all is in place? This leader is one that thrives on order, is a conservative dresser, and is always immaculate, unless they are working in the yard. A Giraffe would know how much it would cost to replace clothes that were ruined, so they wouldn’t wear good clothes to do those tasks.

The Giraffe Leader analyzes everything. They want to think things through, so you have to give them time to make a decision. They aren’t risk takers, so making plans may take some time. Be prepared if you aren’t a Giraffe yourself. Even though they are excellent problem-solvers, they need all of the proof or evidence before giving the final assessment. They like to work alone and may be slower to
make friends, but they are worth the effort. If you share a space with a Giraffe Leader, it might be helpful for you to know they like everything in its place, and they know where that place should be. You will never have to clean up after a Giraffe. They will leave things as they found them. Giraffes look great in their clothes because the pay a lot of attention to detail in their wardrobe choices too.

Giraffe Leaders Are:
Individual Workers
Excellent Problem-Solvers


Have you identified your leadership personality? Would love to hear your story and how this information may have helped you gain more insights on your leadership style. Feel free to comment!

November 3, 2017
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