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The Thinker Leadership Type: Analyzing the Strengths and Challenges
Leaders belonging to the Thinker leadership type understand complex situations, analyze options, and make optimal decisions. Immature Thinkers may overanalyze problems. Their analytical skills suppress their willingness to act based on incomplete information. Leadership coaching can help Thinkers achieve higher levels of maturity and efficacy.
“Stop the habit of wishful thinking and start the habit of thoughtful wishes.” – Mary Martin.
Thinker leaders have analytical brains and love to use them to make sense of the world around them. Thinking is more interesting than knowing – according to Goethe. And, from the perspective of derailing Thinkers, it may even be more interesting than doing.
Thinkers can easily make sense of convoluted problems.
Characteristics of the Thinker Leadership Type
The Thinker leadership type values objective analysis and logic-rooted conclusions. Thinkers also appreciate logical certainty over gut decisions. Their brand of intellectual leadership relies on well-informed decision-making. And this is where the Thinker leadership type may slip up.
Analytical decision-making requires plentiful input in the form of data and evidence. By putting this input through the filter of logical reasoning, Thinkers tend to make good decisions and ask insightful questions.
The richer the input, the more likely the Thinker will make a sound decision. Thinkers hate to be wrong. One of the pet peeves of analytical leaders is to have someone prove them wrong. To avoid being wrong, they may require too much input and insist on analysis for too long.
Thinkers truly take heed of the saying: “Measure twice, cut once.” Some may get stuck on the measuring part, however, and fail to move on to “cutting” altogether. Briefly put: if they give in to their urges, Thinkers will find it difficult to seize opportunities and translate impulses into action.
Mature Thinkers understand themselves and know how to deal with their derailing tendencies. As such, mature Thinkers exhibit some of the best possible leadership traits of this leadership type.
Mature Thinkers’ analytical skills enable them to conjure up complex visions and act toward accomplishing them independently, often in innovative ways. Mature Thinkers love challenges and enjoy making discoveries while retaining their objectivity. They are great at deciphering complex situations and phenomena and spotting patterns amid chaos.
What sets mature Thinkers apart from their derailing peers is that they do not fear uncertainty.
A mature leader belonging to this leadership category can make decisions based on incomplete information. And mature leaders can let go of their theories that no longer serve a purpose aligned with their organizational values and objectives.
Mature Thinkers can overcome their core struggles.
Core Struggles of Thinkers
Thinking may be a key ingredient of creativity, but some Thinkers abuse it. In the context of leadership, “too much” thinking comes at the expense of doing. And too much thinking can, indeed, prevent Thinkers from swinging into action. It can also isolate these leaders, pushing them out of touch with the daily realities of steering an organization.
Practical knowledge is in great demand in the leadership arena. The tendency to overanalyze and an uncontrollable thirst for knowledge may rob leaders of the “practical” component, however.
Uncertainty and unpredictability may trigger insecurities in leaders who grow over reliant on the perceived certainty their analytical skills create.
The need for certainty is one of Thinkers’ weaknesses.
Relying too much on cold-headed analysis may disconnect Thinkers from their feelings and emotional intelligence-based aspects of leadership.
Leadership coaching can help Thinkers overcome their core struggles through vigilance and anticipation. Coaches help leaders develop the depth of perception and intuition they need to spot problems with their leadership style. And executive coaching can help leaders crystallize their leadership style around more mature attitudes.
Thinker Leadership Style
Mature Thinkers must understand everything. They won’t make decisions based on gut feelings. They implement precise organizational structures that allow them and their employees to make informed decisions. Thinkers prefer to be consultative in their leadership roles rather than authoritarian.
Their weaknesses reside in their tendencies to overthink and overanalyze. Immature Thinkers can devolve into busy procrastinators. They put off decisions until they get all the variables they need. By that time, however, it may be too late.
Being a busy procrastinator is only seemingly paradoxical.
To strengthen the Thinker leadership style, leaders and coaches must develop ways in which Thinkers can control their decision-making shortcomings.
Tips for Strengthening the Thinker Trait
Analytical leaders may alienate their followers and peers by intimidating them through sheer brilliance. The answer is not to tone down the brilliance, but to become more considerate of how others perceive their leadership.
Those who belong to the Thinker leadership type can also learn from other leadership styles. The mature traits of Drivers complement and strengthen Thinkers’ leadership styles.
Some other measures Thinkers can take to augment their intellectual leadership are:
- Preferring observation to analysis to avoid injecting biases into situations
- Being flexible and ready to relinquish theories that are no longer relevant
- Shedding the belief that listening to others is the equivalent of yielding to them intellectually
- Accepting that nothing in life is perfect and that the pursuit of perfection is a dead-end street
- Expressing emotions as a means of reconnecting with others
“Facts have to be discovered by observation, not by reasoning.” – Bertrand Russell.
Thinkers are the champions of intellectual leadership. They understand complex situations and can help others make sense of them. They may, however, allow their analytical tendencies to suppress their readiness to act.
Mature Thinkers know how to control their tendencies to overanalyze and put off action. And leadership coaching can help them develop the emotional intelligence-linked aspects of their leadership.