A couple of years ago I met with a client. He was complaining to me about his boss.
It turns out that his boss was a woman. I thought that he was complaining about her by being a chauvinistic pig but the more he talked to me about her the more I realised that gender had nothing to do with it. It all came down to personality and that he did not understand her and where she was coming from.
The more he talked and the more he answered my questions I could tell that he was very extroverted. He told me that he went out with his clients often and he wasn't complaining about it like a lot of workers do. He seemed to love it, going out and socialising with his clients. He liked the small talk and the endless supply of alcoholic beverages on the company's dime.
He didn't like the fact that his boss didn't go out with the clients. He said that she would always find an excuse and not go drinking with him or the clients.
It struck me at that time that this woman is a genius and I told him that. I believe that when this gentleman finishes his work career and hangs up the laptop so to speak, he will look back on her as one of the best bosses he ever had.
Why do I think so?
Well she is obviously smart enough to see that he, as an extrovert was able to meet with the clients, create a good relationship with them as well as wine and dine, basically schmooze them.
She was smart enough to know that, that kind of activity didn't come naturally to her so she sent her best people out to do that. I'm willing to bet that her section is doing very well.
What can we learn from this story?
1. Don't expect everyone to be the same and that everyone likes to socialise. Not everyone has to go out because it's Friday night. Believe it or not, some people are happy staying at home playing video games or watching DVD's on Friday night.
2. If you know yourself and then you work to your strengths you are going to get a long way towards your goal of success.
3. Don't expect the worst of people, there is usually another reason. (i.e. This is guy is not chauvinistic.)
As a leader, if you know your worker's personalities you can create a very successful team.