Hire people and delegate what you know they can do in order to concentrate your time on what only you can do. Sounds easy, right? This is one of the many key points of leadership that I learned during the American Express Leadership Academy in New York recently. I had the pleasure of being selected to attend this academy with 70 other emerging nonprofit leaders. I heard about this program as a board member with the Young Nonprofit Professional Network (YNPN) Phoenix Chapter. The YNPN network works with American Express in the role of professional leadership development and I would never have known about this program unless I was active in my current role.

Now let me share a few things I have learned during the Academy on how you can continue to grow as a leader….To prep for the academy we took several self assessments and asked peers and supervisors to complete a 360 assessment of us. We then analyzed the results to help us become aware of our different personality and leadership styles. This was an “aha” moment that made me realize my rating of 3 in wanted control but 9 of wanted inclusion is why I like to work autonomously, but enjoy being included in work social gathering, even if I don’t really want to go. (View a sample report of the FIRO-B HERE). The goal is to help maximize the impact of your actions, identify options for increasing your job satisfaction and productivity, and explore alternative ways to achieve your goals. Now that I know my wanted control rating I will make more of an effort to check in more often during projects that I am in the process of completing rather than working alone until completion.

Different personality types can deal with change in different ways. My change style indicator is more conserver than originator. I prefer change that is implemented gradually and incrementally. I am good at managing details and approach a new situation in a disciplined manner. An originator enjoys risk and prefers quick and expansive change and tends to see the big picture easily. Now that I realize I tend to pay more attention to detail, I can now be aware to pay more attention to the big picture as well to grow more as a leader.

The Myers-Briggs type indicator is a way to tell the basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment. I am an ESTJ (Extraversion, Sensing Thinking and Judging). I am a clear “J” meaning I prefer decisiveness and closure, I want routine, plan specific tasks and am orderly. The opposite of Judging is Perceiving (P); which prefers flexibility, is motivated by pressure, welcomes diversions and lets strategies emerge. This is a great concept to lead others and understand what motivates and guides their perceptions.

These tools help you to identify some key traits and make positive changes to increase your productivity. During the Academy Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express explained that to be a leader you must be aware of people’s actions, changes, and be an observer of your surroundings. As leaders we want to get the best results from ourselves and those around us. What better way to do this, by understanding our behavior and the behaviors of others. This allows us to communicate better with each type of person for better results; this will help manage change and people. We all know there will always be change and people in this world, unless you are the only one who lives on an island, but even then, with earth’s revolutions you will see change on your personal island; we can’t escape it.

Leadership starts by taking the initiative to understand ourselves and others around us. Overall, what I learned is that good behavior change is the Holy Grail to leadership. This means we should continue to strengthen the way we communicate with others in a way that leads to alternative ways to achieving goals. Leaders have to be persuasive; this is why knowing behaviors of others are important. Finally, here is what not to do; don’t have anyone in your organization that you don’t trust. Give trust until the person looses it. We must interact with everyone as if they have the capacity to lead