Improving i-Style Managers’ Effectiveness

Assumptions That Can Get Them in Trouble

Even if we’d never say them out loud, we all have unconscious assumptions that sometimes get us into trouble. Here are some common ones that i-style managers sometimes make.

Most people are fine improvising

• People who are quiet and reserved need to be brought out of their shell

I have to express my feelings when I have them

• If someone shows confidence, they’re probably competent

• I need to fill the silence to keep things upbeat

• The team should keep things positive, all the time

• I shouldn’t jeopardize my popularity

It’s ok to build up excitement for an idea, even if it’s only a vague possibility

Showing my enthusiasm will get everyone excited

Everyone should assume the best, like I do

It’s better to move on than dig into problems

• Everyone craves excitement

• If I give critical feedback, our relationship will never recover


Unintended Consequences for Their Team

• We don’t have the stability we need

• We move too fast and quality suffers

• There’s a lot of big talk that goes nowhere

• Problems get glossed over

• Work feels chaotic

• Some of us don’t have the space we need to do our work


Helping Your i-style Managers Rethink Their Role

One of the core insights that helps these managers is realizing just how much more stability, predictability, or control others might need compared to them. By understanding other perspectives, they see that not everyone shares their comfort with improvisation or emotional expression and that sometimes they’ll need to take a more task-oriented or tough-minded approach.

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