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How to Leash a Lion and Harness His Strength July 8, 2012

Posted by thefieldgeneral in Leadership.
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The lion, the king of beasts, is a terribly viscous fighter. They are enormously strong, determined, and driven to win every fight. A high D (or Driven) personality type is represented by the lion.

Thanks to Vi O’Walker on Flickr Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vi-photos/

High D


1. Confidence (even when they are wrong.) – A D’s confidence can be so strong and overwhelming that it can literally override all objections and move a person or group of people in the direction the D desires.

2. Fighting – No other personality type can stand against the verbal assault of a charging lion.

3. Prioritization and Delegation – Understanding their place in the world, they can immediately discard the unimportant or assign it to others.

4. Traditional Leadership – The confidence and aggressiveness of a D positions them ideally for traditional leadership roles,


1. No Brain-Mouth filter – They are direct, which can be interpreted as rude or at least discounting social norms. They generally don’t violate norms on purpose, they don’t recognize they exist.

2. Total Task/Goal Orientation – They can discount the harm they do to people in order to complete a task.

3. Short Term Focus – Due to their confidence and natural power, D’s expect to be able to fix problems in short order and often grow frustrated when solutions must occur over time.

4. Intimidation – Ds will often inadvertently miss good advice from teammates who are intimidated by their aggressiveness.

5. Laziness – Like the great male lion the D represents, they will let others do the hunting. When confronted with something distasteful, they can appear lazy.

Key Phrase: “That’s not my problem.”

A D can be a great blessing. They are natural leaders and like to get things done. They also can be mean, aggressive, rule breakers. The stereotypical angry, screaming boss is a D.

Dealing with Ds
The key to dealing with a D is to remember that they are all about success. Ultimately they want to win. This is true of all Ds. The only question is what they think success is. So if you need to deal with a D talk in terms of how they can be successful (or more successful). Also remember they decide quickly and are very confident in their decisions. Don’t try to show them they are wrong. You will not win that argument. Once you become the opposition they will be set against you.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy
Differences also occur between emotionally healthy and unhealthy Ds. Healthy Ds are strong. Unhealthy Ds are angry. Thus the image of the angry, screaming boss is created. A D generally gets this way due to stress built up over a long time and insufficient internal fortitude (generally reflecting a spiritual problem). An unhealthy D is, in a word, a bully. With unhealthy Ds, avoidance is the best policy. They will emotionally maul everyone around them.

Ds as employees
To groom your lion for big things three items are critical. You must teach them:

  • to see relationships as a goal
  • to pull others into their decision making process
  • to be patient and to let processes work.

The first is most critical. If a D has set relationships as a success criteria, they will actively pursue success in this area. They need practical advice. For instance a D does not typically think to greet someone they need something from. They just demand it. If you are not a D it may seem odd or rude to you but they literally do not register social niceties. They do consider success all the time, however. The thought process of a properly trained D goes something like this.

The boss indicates that if I start with a greeting and ask how the persons day is going I will be more successful getting what I want. I will also move towards my goal of establishing a relationship with this person. Good. Now that that is done, I can ask what I really want to ask.

Note, the D doesn’t really care. A D rarely will. Don’t be offended. If you need help, Ds will move mountains for you, but they don’t want to talk about the small stuff. Talking niceties is a pure discipline for them.

The second part is more critical as Ds move into leadership. Ds make decisions quicker and better than any other personality type if they have sufficient information. The problem is untrained Ds rarely have anywhere near sufficient information when making decisions. Their “I” compatriots have tremendous insights on people and organizations. The Ss and Cs have deep analytical insights. If you can convince the D that these are resources for him to tap into, the quality of his decisions will increase greatly. Also, as a positive side effect, the people he includes will become more tolerant of the D’s directness.

The third hard lesson for Ds is patience. Ds are used to making things happen through sheer force of will. They are impatient. The biggest, most important goals, however, take time. Sometimes they take a lot of time. An effective D needs to learn to be a river, not a tidal wave.

Do you have any interesting stories about Ds?
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