As recruiters of management and executive types for the contact centre, we’ve always got leadership on our minds. Our latest find is the interesting theory of “Leadership Archetypes” by the rather excitingly named Manfred F.R. Kets De Vries. He believes that there are eight leadership archetypes, all of which have their place in your organisation: the strategist, change-catalyst, transactor, builder, innovator, processor, coach, and communicator. But which one are you? And which one are you looking for to fill that all important new role?
Transactors are great deal makers. Like your typical Business Development bod, they’re “skilled at identifying and tackling new opportunities, and they thrive on negotiations.” They’re dynamic, proactive, and love a challenge – especially one that means they get to negotiate a bit.
As you might guess, they’re quite money-motivated, with real drive and ambition, and can network their way around a room like nobody else. And while they’re not too interested in the day-t0-day management, they’re excited by closing the big deal and passing it on to…
According to de Vries, strategists “provide vision, strategic direction and outside-the-box thinking to create new organizational forms and generate future growth.” They’re the one with all the great ideas, who can wander in to a seemingly hopeless situation and offer you three different (good) courses of action. They can see the big picture, and find nothing more exciting than a solving a puzzle. But not as much as…
These leaders are “masters at re-engineering and creating new organizational ‘‘blueprints.’’” Their skills lie in taking advantage of opportunities to transform the organisation, because they just love change. In a way, they’re a bit of a maverick, taking on roles that are a bit risky, and potentially daunting to others. More often than not, these are your Interim managers, who relish implementing projects and, as de Vries says, they work best “in situations of culture integration after a merger or acquisition, or when spearheading a re-engineering or turnaround project.”
They’re also a bit like us – apparently they’ve got a “real aptitude in selecting executive talent to get a task done.” (Sorry – we couldn’t resist!)
Builders love to create. They’re talented and entrepreneurial, with big aspirations – but this is balanced out with a need to be completely independent and retain control of their projects, which can manifest itself in their being very single-minded. They’re characterised by an “enormous amount of energy, drive, dynamism and enterprise,” and they just don’t give up.
You’ll usually find the builder archetype at the top of the organisation, with a solid background in building and developing contact centres from scratch. This is partly because they’re able to thrive under pressure, and they’re good at taking calculated risks that pay off in the long term – but when they don’t, their ability to deal with setbacks is second to none.
Innovators are focused completely on what’s new. They’re always keeping one eye on their next project, and are ready to implement new things in their contact centre. Where they fall down is in their political naivety – they don’t play games, because they’re optimistic about their projects and people.
Unlike the Transactor, for instance, they’re not driven by financial gains and they’re not necessarily the greatest of communicators. This isn’t necessarily negative, however – they draw their satisfaction from the buzz associated with novelty and can implement their ideas on a grand scale. Their creativity can be inspiring and infectious, helping them generate the big ideas – and when working alongside a Strategist, they can implement change in a big way.
Processors, according to de Vries, like their organization to be “a smoothly running, well-oiled machine,” and they’re super at “setting up the structures and systems needed to support an organization’s objectives.” This might be an obvious one, but we’d guess that most Resource Planning and Dialler candidates fit pretty well into this category, as their organisational and time management skills are unparalleled elsewhere.
They work best when approaching a messy situation, breaking it into its component parts and rebuilding it into an ordered, process-based structure – turning the abstract ideas of the Innovator into super-efficient systems. They can be a stickler for rules and regulations, but they’re also extremely loyal to their organisations and are truly reliable.
Coaches are driven by performance, motivating their teams to success and developing the people around them to achieve their full potential. They’re excellent at working in group situations, because they’re empathetic, inspiring and are great communicators.
It’s obvious that these people are typically Trainers in contact centres; but these are also traits we find in the very best leaders in outbound environments. They’re able to make everyone around them inspired to sell, and motivated to succeed – and their positive outlook helps them to take on the projects created by the Innovator and the Change-Catalyst and make them accessible to teams from agent-level up.
Communicators are the great influencers, who can communicate the big picture through simple language and metaphors. Their commanding presence means they can reframe difficult situations positively and engage their colleagues from stakeholders to agents.
Like the Transactor, they’re great at networking and building alliances – but they’re less interested in the deal-making side. Rather, they’re focused on turning people around to their point of view, and expressing the big picture. De Vries suggests that both the Communicator and the Coach need to be given a “regular dose of reality” to stop them getting too carried away by the big ideas – but their infectious, almost dazzling ability to motivate and drive performance makes them a valuable asset.
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Understanding these archetypes can play a pivotal role both in being a creative leader, and in recruiting the right one for your business. It all goes back to our old friend, cultural fit – something that we think is of the utmost importance when recruiting for any contact centre. It’s essential to know how to work with and manage these personality types, to give them the environment they need to play to their strengths – and that’s why we’re constantly adjusting our understanding of every business we work with so that we can find the perfect personality for you.
Cactus Search is the leading provider of Call and Contact Centre Management candidates to some of the most prestigious companies in the UK and Internationally.