10 Tips for Leading with Deliciousness: Tip #7 – Work in Style

– Posted in: Coach and Mentor, Conflict Management, Leadership Skills, Organizational Awareness, Social Intelligence, Teamwork

One of the expectations of any leader is to achieve results. If you work against people’s volition or conative style it can feel like you’re pushing through a lot of resistance. Whereas if you can tap into people’s instinct for doing things, you’ll find work –and results– flow easier.

Volition is to do with will power.  Conation is defined on as:

co·na·tion noun \kō-ˈnā-shən\:  an inclination (as an instinct, a drive, a wish, or a craving) to act purposefully, unites both terms as “Action derived from instinct; purposeful mode of striving, volition. It is a conscious effort to carry out self-determined acts.”

Kathy Kolbe is a pioneer in the field of conation, and developed the Kolbe index that shows which action mode you have a preference for. If you take the test, you’ll get a report on your preferences (or dislikes) in the four modes she has defined:

  • Quick Start: The Action Mode that deals with originality and risk-taking, and provides intuition and a sense of vision.
  • Fact Finder: The Action Mode that deals with detail and complexity, providing the perspective of experience.
  • Implementor: The Action Mode that deals with physical space and ability to operate manually, and provides durability and a sense of the tangible.
  • Follow-thru: The Action Mode that deals with structure and order, and provides focus and continuity.

As a leader you’ll build at team that is high-performing and one that you can delegate to with peace of mind.

Seeing them from the lens of their conative style will give you new insights on why they might clash … or why they might get discouraged and procrastinate doing things.

For example, I am strongest in Fact Finder. When I meet up with a strong Quick Start I now understand that  going diving into details will tune them out, no matter how fascinating I find those details.  Just coming to that realization helps me to adjust my information levels.   I also detest “Follow Thru” tasks, so now I put those on my to-do list first in the day to get them over with (they might stay there for a few days in a row).

Like MBTI and Strengths Finder 2.0, Kolbe Action Mode, allows you to balance strengths across the team.  A team will get things done easier when they work according to their natural instinct, and a team balanced in conative style will be higher performing.

If you are familiar with the characters in Star Trek:

  • Who was fact-based?
  • Who was the quick start with the vision and passion?
  • Who liked being hands on and could make any contraption work?
  • Who insisted on orderliness and procedure?

Lord of the Rings also united some unlikely teammates from different groups – hobbits, elves, dwarfs and humans.   In our movies we like to see a balanced team that overcomes their differences to solve the boatload of problems that get between them and their goal. They each have a style, that without which, the team would fail.

Can you be inspired to lead your team to work in style?

Call to action:   Go through the 4 action modes and see which of the 3 ways you like to solve problems in each action mode (12 options). Now go through your team.  Do you see a balance across the 12 areas? Can you think of ways to:

  1. leverage strengths?
  2. partner up people to create a balance?
  3. delegate work more effectively?

Lead with deliciousness when you delegate tasks you dread to people who love them.

Your consideration in this regard will distinguish you as someone who leads and cares. And that feels delicious.


Photo Credit:, Star Trek Bridge, by Donielle, used under creative commons license.

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