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5 People On Your Team & How To Lead Them

One of the mistakes that many leaders make is using their team solely as a means to serve their own agenda. But a great leader does much more than simply get the job done…if that’s all that happens, you’re probably more of a manager than a leader. Where a manager gets their team to accomplish a job, a leader helps their team grow into their potential. Being a leader implies that others follow you. Having others follow you implies that you are taking them somewhere.

So, leader, where are you taking your team? One thing that sets great leaders apart is their ability to see potential in the members of their team and help them to rise to it. Here are 5 categories where someone on your team might have potential, and a few ways you can challenge them to grow:

The Pioneer

The Pioneer, as you might have guessed, loves to start new things. They might be a visionary-in-the-making. Often they have lots of ideas and want to try things or new ways of doing things. They may come up with their own new systems or have a passion to break into new territory. You can easily recognize a Pioneer because they are asking the questions that others have not thought to ask, and they never seem to be satisfied with the status quo. When they get an opportunity to act on their passions, they may cause more questions than answers at first, but they are actually making room for others on the team to utilize their giftings in a new endeavor.

How can you lead a Pioneer? Try asking them for their craziest or most exciting ideas. It doesn’t mean you have to do what they say. But often you will find that some really brilliant and creative ideas are hidden in the middle of the craziest ones. Don’t immediately write off their ideas or passions. Instead, if possible, give them room to pursue at least one or two of them.

The Advocate

The Advocate sees the gaps and can often be found answering the question, “what is missing?” They can tend to see the world in an ideal way and can be frustrated when reality doesn’t seem to match their vision. They also tend to take the position of the underdog, siding with -and sometimes overcompensating for- anyone or anything they feel is being overlooked or treated unfairly. Advocates can often relate better to those that others on the team have more trouble relating to. They can be very altruistic and intensely caring.

How can you lead an Advocate? Advocates need to be given parameters in which they are free to call out what they see. If you think someone might be an Advocate, ask them what gaps they see and what things they think need more attention. Give them permission, within a specific area they’re passionate about, to set the agenda for the team.

The Includer

The Includer is naturally good at meeting new people and connecting them to the team (or if it’s a customer, to your goods/services). They may not go deep in a ton of relationships, but they can usually find something to talk about with just about anyone. They are also usually experts at helping people get excited about a cause or effort. They can make great recruiters or salespeople.

How can you lean an Includer? Make sure they have an opportunity in their role to interact with others, particularly new people. Allow them to be a “front door” for your team or organization. At the same time, however, help them to form a transition plan for how to pass on the relationships they initiate to others who can handle the follow-up interactions.

The Guardian

Guardians tend to hang back and try to keep an eye on the team’s internal workings. They are often more concerned with team members’ happiness than their success, and they desire harmony for the team above all else. When there is a dispute or disagreement, Guardians are usually the best ones to mediate. While their role may not be as glamorous to the outside world, every healthy team needs at least one guardian to keep things healthy internally.

How can you lead a Guardian? Give them permission to express their concerns to you about the team culture or attitude, and be sure to listen to what they have to say. If a conflict arises, bring them in as a mediating voice. If they have ideas about the physical setup of the team’s workspace, give them permission to experiment with it!

The Teacher

The Teacher is the best at teaching team members how to do something, whether that’s a new team member or teaching the team how to do something new. They are the “lead equippers” of your team and love to be a launching ramp for other peoples’ success. Teachers also often see ways to improve current systems and processes.

How can you lead a Teacher? Get their feedback on your team’s systems and processes. Giving their critical nature a safe space to express itself will not only get them off your back, but they’ll also actually end up improving things for everyone! As new people are added to the team, engage them with your Teachers to help them get acclimated.


So, do you recognize where people on your team fit into these 5 categories? Do you know where you fit? Leading others starts with leading yourself. Understanding yourself and your team through these categories will help your team work together with new synergy and excitement as you are all allowed to work in ways that fit your personal gifting, while at the same time, furthering the overall success of the team.

Want to learn more about yourself and your team and how you can take them to the next level? Schedule a training today!


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