Hi friends. My post last week, “Can Asian leaders think and feel?” explored the pros and cons of task-oriented and people-oriented leaders—two common types of behavioral styles. While each style has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, a successful leader is one who knows how to recognize, and utilize, each style depending on the situation they’re in, or the people they’re working with.
Are you task- or people-oriented? Take this quiz to find out.
Curious about what your leadership style is? I can help! Below is a short quiz that I put together. Run through the various scenarios and add up your score (A or B) at the end to figure out if you’re more task-oriented or people-oriented.
1. You’re out with your friends and need to decide where to go for dinner. Do you…
- A) Take charge and pick a place? Korean BBQ, your favorite!
- B) Or check in with everyone to see what they’d like?
2. You just got a C+ on your pharmacy exam and wanted to get feedback from your professor. How do you prefer to receive feedback?
- A) “Give it to me straight! Don’t hold the punches.”
- B) Use the sandwich approach–wrap the negative feedback between two positives. “You’re super hard working, but have zero aptitude for pharmacy. And your hair smells delicious, like beef broth. Yum!”
3. You’re learning how to stir-fry and need to buy a new wok for your kitchen. Do you…
- A) Research all of the specs and ratings online before making your decision?
- B) Ask your friends how they feel about their woks?
4. Someone just said something racist: all Asians are terrible drivers. You respond by…
- A) Reasoning with them. Share some statistics about Asians and driving, and how it compares to other groups.
- B) Appealing to their emotions. Explain how these stereotypes negatively impact Asians and that it actually hurts your feelings too.
5. Its family day and you’ve got a tight schedule: dim sum in Chinatown, followed by a visit to the Asian Art Museum and ending with karaoke. How do you manage the schedule?
- A) Can’t be late! Plan out every stop and how long it takes to get everywhere, factoring in seasonal traffic and weather patterns.
- B) Time isn’t a big deal. Just gotta make sure everyone maintains their energy level and no one has a melt down before the day is done.
6. You and your colleagues just got assigned a new project for work and the team needs to designate a lead. Are you more comfortable…
- A) Stepping up to make sure the project gets done efficiently and on time?
- B) Playing a support role and using your skills behind the scenes to ensure team unity and success?
7. Just graduated and you’re looking for a new job. Would you prefer an environment where you get to…
- A) Work alone and independently?
- B) Work collaboratively in groups?
8. Your friends would describe you as…
- A) “Hard to read.” They’re never quite sure what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling.
- B) “Easy to read.” Oh yeah, you’re like a book. They know exactly what’s on your mind.
9. You’re in a relationship and your partner just asked to meet your parents. How do you respond?
- A) “Hmm, let me think about it.”
- B) “Of course!” There’s no reason your parents shouldn’t meet someone you care about.
If you answered mostly A, then you have task-oriented leanings. You’re methodical and organized, preferring to trust logic and reason. You’re probably the rare Asian that always shows up to meetings and parties on time. Congrats!!!
On the other hand, if most of your responses were B, then you tend to be more people-oriented, like a lucky rabbit. You’re in tune with the feelings and needs of those around you, and prefer to work through challenges collaboratively. You’re also probably comfortable telling your parents you love them.
Keys to success
I believe most Asian Americans gravitate toward a task-oriented style because of cultural, societal or family reasons. However, it is equally important that we have strong people skills needed to make relationships work. A successful leader is able to balance both types of styles; the yin and yang of leadership.
Now that you’ve identified your own leadership style, here are some keys to success.
For task-oriented leaders…
- Listen, don’t talk: If someone ever comes to you with a problem or challenge, you must resist the urge to solve their problems immediately. Some people just want to vent their frustrations and be heard.
- Use active listening: Task-oriented leaders tend to be good at multitasking. But don’t multitask people! You must give people your undivided attention. Eye contact goes a long way.
- Prioritize relationship-building: I previously wrote about the importance of effective relationship-building, this is a good skill for task-oriented leaders to practice. Show people you care about them by valuing their presence, following up with them, and staying in touch.
- Remember that you have feelings too! We’re not robots. It’s ok to show people how you really feel. Just because your parents never said “I love you” doesn’t mean you have to be the same way. Feelings are important.
For people-oriented leaders…
- Organize, organize, organize: Our fast-paced, workaholic culture can feel really overwhelming at times. Relax. Take a deep breath. Start by organizing your to-do list, schedules and most importantly, your goals.
- Ask for help: If you’ve got too much on your plate, ask a task-oriented person to help you. They will be more than happy to help you problem solve!
- Get rid of toxic relationships: Connecting with people is great, but some relationships are toxic and drain you of energy. It’s ok to let these go. Focus on your own mental and emotional well-being.
- Find your voice! It’s good to be humble and supportive, but recognize that you also have skills, experience and talent too. If you have a great idea, speak up and share it! Take credit where credit is due.
What do you all think? Have more keys to success to share? What’s worked (or hasn’t worked) for you and your life? I’d also love to hear how these leadership styles have intersected with people’s Asian American identity. Leave a comment below, Facebook, or email me!