SDI & Leadership



General Leadership Training with SDI

Leadership training with the SDI typically revolves around two main topics – leadership styles and conflict management.

Leadership Styles:

Facilitators like to start by using the SDI to help leaders understand their own style and preferences – then to recognise situations where borrowing another style would generate a better outcome. Training which provides opportunities for participants to practice borrowing other behaviours tends to be more memorable and have a more lasting impact. The seven Motivational Value Systems (from the SDI) can be presented as follows to illustrate leadership styles:

Blue (Altruistic-Nurturing) is a supportive style of leadership. Leaders who score highly in the Blue part of the triangle tend to have a great concern for the people they lead. They may be more willing to bend a rule or let go of a desired outcome in exchange for better morale or the benefit of an individual employee – trusting that creating a better working environment will ultimately lead to better results.

Red (Assertive-Directing) is a directive style of leadership. Leaders who score highly in the Red part of the triangle tend to be outcome oriented. They may try to find the quickest route to a desirable result and want to be the first to market with new products or ideas. They tend to be persuasive and to organise people and resources to get things accomplished. They may be willing to reduce research time or over-burden individuals in pursuit of results.

Green (Analytic-Autonomising) is a Procedural style of leadership. Leaders who score highly in the Green part of the triangle tend to be concerned about processes, fairness, and order. They may prioritise standards, accuracy, and thoroughness in their decision-making. They may be willing to defer an opportunity or restrict access to needed resources until certain of the appropriate action.

Hub (Flexible-Cohering) is a consensus-based style of leadership. Leaders who score centrally in the triangle tend to be concerned about incorporating input from multiple sources to produce a result acceptable to all parties. They tend to select strategies that allow future flexibility and preserve or generate future options. In an effort to balance their decision-making, they may make decisions that look inconsistent to observers.

Red-Blue (Assertive-Nurturing) is a coaching or mentoring leadership style. Leaders who score highly in the Red-Blue part of the triangle tend to focus their energy on developing others and ensuring that they succeed. They tend to be enthusiastic and like to build support for key ideas or initiatives. They may be willing to discount facts that do not support their objectives or overlook details that appear insignificant at the time.

Red-Green (Judicious-Competing) is a strategic style of leadership. Leaders who score highly in the Red-Green part of the triangle tend to rely on logical plans and principles as the quickest means to a desirable end. They may be intently focused during key times and prefer to remain behind the scenes otherwise. They may be willing to accept reduced morale or people problems as a matter of course if the objectives are valuable enough.

Blue-Green (Cautious-Supporting) is an empowering leadership style. Leaders who score highly in the Blue-Green part of the triangle tend to focus on building the capacity and capability of their staff. They want people to be able to do things on their own without too much reliance on the leader. They may be willing to suffer initial setbacks or forego desirable results during times of transition in order to achieve a self-sufficient workforce who can learn from their own mistakes.

Conflict Management for Leaders

Several recent studies have found that the number one reason people leave their employer is their relationship with their immediate supervisor. Conflict management training for leaders gives them the tools they need to recognise and resolve conflict. When leaders understand that people’s ability to focus diminishes in each progressive stage of conflict, they are more likely to attempt to resolve conflict at Stage One – where the parties involved are still concerned about each other. They see more clearly the costs of allowing conflict in the organisation to get stuck at Stage Two – where a lack of concern for the other parties generates turf battles and stifles communication.

Leaders who have used Relationship Awareness tools understand their own changing motives during conflict situations and learn to recognise what’s important to other people – and what to do to resolve conflict effectively.

Getting the Best Out Of Others

Using Relationship Awareness tools facilitators work with participants to help identify the values of their teams/peers/direct reports. To get the best out of the relationship we will consider:

  • What their core values are – What makes them tick
  • What style is likely to get the best out of them & the relationship
  • What strengths will the Leader/Manager/Supervisor need to adapt/borrow to get the best out of the relationship
  • What triggers conflict for them
  • How will their behaviour change when they are in conflict
  • How can the Leader/Manager/Supervisor prevent triggering conflict in them
  • How can the Leader/Manager/Supervisor resolve the conflict when identified
  • How to praise and/or give feedback to different types of people
  • How to set objectives in a language they will understand
  • How to monitor and control at a level that will be appropriate to each person
  • How to delegate/empower at a level they are comfortable with 

Other Leadership Training

Many leadership programmes integrate our feedback tools to help leaders see how they are perceived by others, or understand what others expect from them. The SDI also fits nicely with other leadership concepts and models such as Situational Leadership (Situational Leadership is a trademark of Centre for Leadership Studies).