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The Activist Leader: Energizing Teams with Enthusiasm and Optimism
Activist leaders see action as the antidote to everything negative in life and business. Their contagious enthusiasm helps Activists provide team motivation and inspiration through their mere presence. When they derail, Activists grow to value experiences more than meaningful contributions to their organizations and employees.
“Action is the antidote to despair.”- Joan Baez.
Activist leaders understand that they don’t have the right to sit down and feel hopeless. They see action as the antidote to everything negative, including pain, which they fear and avoid at all costs.
Activist leaders value strong sensations and stimuli. They are extroverted and easy to engage. They predicate their leadership identity and self-esteem on an unrelenting stream of sensations and stimuli that make them happy, cheerful, and inspirational.
Action triggers change and, perhaps, improvement.
The fundamental leadership challenge Activists face is to avoid becoming addicted to experiences for the sake of experiences. At the same time, they must hold on to the positives their leadership characteristics create, such as their ability to align their actions with a powerful and concrete vision.
Characteristics of the Activist Leader
Mature Activists are outstanding leaders and masters of team motivation. Self-aware and emotionally intelligent Activists can make the most of their positive leadership traits.
Mature Activists are open, spontaneous, and ready to swing into action. Their productive enthusiasm is contagious, and they love to lead by example. A mature Activist is highly responsive and will build meaningful relationships naturally.
Leaders exhibiting Activist traits appreciate the contributions of others as they focus on practical solutions. They are risk-takers and have no trouble seeing their projects to completion.
Middle-of-the-road Activists get hooked on adrenaline-inducing experiences. They start seeing their organizations as providers of stimuli. And they lose sight of organizational objectives, values, and purpose.
A middle-of-the-road Activist becomes greedy, materialistic, and superficial. Such leaders constantly seek new sensations, and instead of engaging others through their boisterous natures, they put off people with their hyperactivity.
These Activists have no problems starting a plethora of projects. As soon as they do not find them stimulating, however, they abandon their undertakings, upsetting and disappointing others involved.
A lack of leadership maturity coupled with little to no self-awareness can cause Activists to engage in impulsive and erratic behaviors.
Addicted to the strong sensations leadership can generate, such leaders lose patience with those around them. They can become frustrated and have no qualms about using and abusing others.
Derailing Activists aren’t strangers to temper tantrums, wild mood swings, and underhanded behaviors. They may disparage people they deem inferior and attack those in their way.
Instead of a healthy “fire in the belly,” derailing Activists are obsessed with pushing their limits and chasing new sensations. They’re never happy with what they have and are always frustrated.
Maturity is a boon for the Activist leadership style. Leadership development professionals can help derailing or middle-of-the-road Activists achieve higher leadership effectiveness through maturity.
The Activist Leadership Style
Healthy, mature Activists are optimistic, enthusiastic, and confident. They are capable of inspiring their employees through their presence and attitude alone.
Activists appreciate people and new ideas. They are unwavering in their optimism and always keen on accepting contributions. They won’t let criticism faze them. And they find it natural to build meaningful, positive relationships with others.
The Activist leader likes power, material rewards, and leadership glory. Consequently, Activists seek opportunities that promise such returns.
Freedom is a top priority for leaders with predominantly Activist traits. And everything antithetic to freedom, or everything they perceive as such, is an enemy. Activists don’t like routine activities or undertakings that restrict them and their abilities.
Activists love freedom.
Activist leaders know what they deserve and fear something may deprive them of it.
Leadership coaching aims to help Activists develop productive traits and avoid derailing tendencies.
Tips for Strengthening the Activist Trait
In addition to elevating their self-awareness and leadership maturity, Activists can take other seemingly insignificant but powerful steps to improve their leadership effectiveness.
- Learning to value details. Enthusiasm may blind Activists to details necessary for effective planning and leadership strategies. By learning to appreciate details, Activists can grow more effective and successful.
- Focusing on quality over quantity. It pays to do fewer things well than to leave many things unfinished.
- Letting others into the spotlight. Activists may feel a need to be the life of every party. Overcoming this urge can lead to considerable leadership benefits.
- Considering future implications. Impulsivity and the urge to act now may drive Activists to ignore the future effects of their actions. By thinking about the future, Activist leaders can overcome their impulsivity and avoid taking on more than they can handle.
What can colleagues and other stakeholders do to help Activists turn into their best possible versions?
Tips for Working with Predominant Activists
Activists love dynamic, entertaining people.
Activists appreciate fast-moving and entertaining people and events. Dynamic people with a lot to offer sensations-wise find it easier to engage Activists.
- Turning opportunities into challenges. Activists love challenges. By framing opportunities as challenges, one can ensure the unconditional buy-in of Activists. The same is true of problems.
- Focusing on the big picture. Optimists by nature, Activists love the big picture. They appreciate an adventure more than tedious analysis.
- Being clear and specific. While contemplating the big picture, Activists may gloss over the details. Those who expect such leaders to deliver should specify their expectations directly.
- Reframing schedules. Activists, like all leaders, benefit from scheduling. They may see a schedule as a limitation of their freedom, however. By allowing Activists to create their own schedules, those around them can help them avoid this trap.
Activists are bundles of energy, enthusiasm, and inspiration. If they avoid derailing, they can be highly effective leaders.