Leadership Type –
Facilitator, Mentor, Team Builder
Value Drivers –
Commitment, Communication, Development
Theory of Effectiveness –
Human development and high commitment produce effectiveness
Incubating Workplace, Values, Learning
Illustrative People –
Teachers, Counsellors, Community Builders
Shapers are energetic, dynamic and driven individuals who are able to motivate and inspire passion in others. Naturally intuitive and considerate, Shapers are the individuals who make sure everyone is heard. They are extroverts who tend to push themselves and others to achieve results. Shapers are process-oriented and task-focused individuals, and have a high motivation to achieve. For them, winning is the name of the game. They often see obstacles as exciting challenges and tend to have the courage to push on when others feel like quitting. Despite any challenges that may come their way, Shapers remain positive and seem to thrive under pressure. They enjoy challenging norms in order to create unique goals and strategies.
Shapers are often described as assertive, outgoing and dynamic. If obstacles arise, they’ll generally find a way round. Shapers manage to put people first and want to be around those who care for others. But they can also handle confrontation and challenge.
The Shaper encourages cooperation and teamwork, and mediates in disputes between individuals using techniques to reduce conflicts. They contribute to the development of cohesion and morale, gather information, establish participation and promote problem solving by the group itself. Their efforts encourage interaction.
The Shaper accommodates change by leap-processes by addressing common culture, norms and values aspects of a very diverse team. They manage to make people with different individual characteristics and from different contexts cooperate. As a result, cross-functional or multidisciplinary teams come to flourish.
They are the adhesive between people from several departments and help them to overcome obstacles in cooperation they would never eliminate themselves. They inspire to cooperate in a manner that proves individualism superfluous and that individuals gladly associate with.
They use these groups to solve problems in an inspiring and non-conventional manner. Sometimes Shapers can reach some sort of a cult status in the process.
Shapers are people who challenge the team to improve. They are dynamic and usually extroverted people who enjoy stimulating others, questioning norms, and finding the best approaches for solving problems. Because Shapers are born leaders who tend to get results, they quickly move upward in organisations. They are ideal management material, as they act decisively in crisis situations and drive progress.
The Shaper is committed to achieving ends and will ‘shape’ others into achieving the aims of the team. They will positively challenge in the pursuit of goal achievement. They have a strong influence on the manner in which the team is operating. They are dynamic team-members who look for challenges and tend to perform well under pressure. Shapers possess the drive to overcome obstacles, focus on agreement, and strive for decisions which are carried by the entire team. They challenge the team to improve.
The Shaper seeks to develop and maintain more of a participatory decision making process. They promote team-building and cooperation, and are impartial and tolerant. Ultimately the Shaper seeks to determine what direction the team goes in. They create coherence between the plans. They are the binding elements in a team that keep people working together, and keep the atmosphere upbeat and supportive. They are focused on building consensus and team harmony, through conflict management.
In a team, a Shaper will typically seek to take up the chairman’s role. They clarify matters, make an inventory of opinions and make the final decisions. They try to use the strengths of the team members properly. The Shaper is the one who shakes things up to make sure that all possibilities are considered and that the team does not become complacent.
Individuals with the shaper personality type are particularly well suited to leadership roles. They thrive on ensuring that each team member is able to voice their opinions, so that the project as a whole can benefit from a range of diverse opinions and perspectives. Naturally, this often leads to innovative ways of working.
It is usually vital to have at least one Shaper to help the team progress in its mission. The main contribution of the Shaper is to give shape and form to the team’s activities towards the achievement of the project outcome.
Shapers value diplomacy and do not respond as well to more autocratic leadership styles, such as the one typically deployed by Directors. Instead Shapers prefer people to be willing to learn the subject matter, and to get down and dirty with it so that when decisions are made, they’re made from a fully formed perspective. And because Shapers aren’t always skilled at choosing one side over others they may struggle to get along with Directors.
As a Shaper, smoothing over conflicts and calming frustrated colleagues comes naturally. Shapers are not Mentors, but they’re willing to do the work with them. They want to make sure everyone’s voice is heard, whether they’re a Broker, Achiever or Anchor.
Shapers are people savvy and these skills helps them instil a high level of loyalty amongst colleagues. They tend to build sustainable working relationships. Shapers tend to like being hands-on and collaborative, and values those traits in others.
By nature, the Shaper values every teammate, but works especially well with solution-oriented Achievers and selfless Anchors.
One of the major issues Shapers face is the challenge as to how to ensure that everyone is heard when the team or organisation continues to grow in size. As the team goes from a few people to 20 or 30 or 40, there’s only so many hours in the day. So, Shapers need to accept that it is necessary to delegate and not to have the constant contact they’re used to having with everyone. They need to be aware that their democratic attitude can lead to unproductive discussions that slow down production.
Their main pitfall however is that they are often inflexible and can struggle to change their attitude towards letting go or changing decisions and procedures. This can lead to Shapers becoming argumentative. They may also end up offending people because they can sometimes be blunt and impatient.
Two or three Shapers in a group can lead to conflict, aggravation and in-fighting. Another difficulty can arise when the Shaper’s focus on clearing road blocks within a project can cause them to lose track of deadlines.
Additionally, the shaper personality type is often more suited to big-picture, visionary work, at the expense of finer details. As such, they often perform best when they are complemented by other personalities which are better suited to granular, analytics work.
How to get the best out of Shapers
Shapers need to be reminded that they should make more time for reasonable debate and discussion before making final pronouncements on what has to be done. This will help them to avoid steam-rolling other team members. After all their aim is to impose some shape or pattern on the team’s activities as a means of successfully achieving project outcomes in the most effective, efficient and sustainable way possible.
Shapers must also be encouraged not to take on more authority than their status warrants. After all, the shaper personality type naturally drives people to take ownership of projects, even when their level of experience and knowledge is not yet sufficient.
They insist on team members making substantive contributions which can sometimes lead to disharmony, despite the effort to be collaborative. As a result, Shapers can tend to be challenged by Directors if they come with big egos, and stubbornly value themselves over the team or work product.
You’ll find Shapers in all sorts of careers, but the careers they most favour are listed below.
International Business Specialist
International Businesss Specialist
International Relations Specialist
Public Relations Manager
Public Relations Specialist
Real Estate Agent
Real Estate Investor
Real Estate Investor Architect
Real Estate Professional
Small Business Owner
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Pioneers enable change and adaptation, and pay attention to the changing environment. They spot important trends, express ideas, anticipate change, and manage uncertainty and risk.