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Are You An Office Peacemaker Or A Provocateur?

Are you more of a peacemaker, or are you more effective at provoking others to take action and get things done? Are you the person that wants to make everyone feel welcomed, or are you the person that challenges team members to do something that seems impossible?

 “Peacemaker” and “Provocateur” are two terminologies in the science of leadership used to envision the two leadership styles mentioned above. 

So how do the leadership development researchers analyze and evaluate these two leadership styles? And as a leader, which style will you choose to lead your employees to success?

What does it mean to be a peacemaker?

Peacemakers are highly motivated to resolve conflicts and ensure that everyone cooperates. They show a high level of concern for others and stay in touch with issues and concerns of all members of the workgroup. They go out of their way to include and involve others and work hard to make sure that others feel included.

There are some basic characteristics of peacemakers that helps them carry out their mission to lead people along the way of success without significant obstacles:

Firstly, “Honesty” and “Integrity”. Peacemakers are more likely to honor commitments, walk their talk, and follow through on commitments.

Secondly, developing others. More skilled at coaching and giving feedback. Others felt these leaders were genuinely concerned about their development.

Thirdly, communication. Helps others understand how their work contributed to the business.

Fourthly, trust. Trusted by all members of the workgroup and trusted to use good judgment.

Finally, ask for and acts on feedback. They look for feedback and make a real effort to change.

What does it mean to be provocateur?

Provocateurs challenge others to do everything possible to achieve goals. They become the champions for new projects or programs. They know how to market, persuade, and encourage others. They also possess the courage to make changes that will improve the organization.

 Besides being brave, provocateur also possesses the following special qualities:

Firstly, innovation. Encourages others to consider new approaches and recognizes the need to change.

Secondly, external focus. Brings in relevant information from outside the organization and better understands customer needs.

Thirdly, strategic perspective. Helps others understand the organizational vision and objectives.

Fourthly, solves problems. Anticipates and responds quickly to problems. They also can spot new trends and potential problems.

And fifth, stretch goals. Skilled at getting team members to stretch for difficult goals, as well as setting high standards of performance.

Finally, takes the initiative. Willing to go above and beyond what is expected.

Who is a More Effective Leader?

First, researchers looked at their database of 360-degree effectiveness evaluations and compared the results for the provocateurs and the peacemakers. Using an overall leadership effectiveness index (average of all behaviors in the survey), they found only a small difference between the effectiveness based on all raters. But, there were significant differences between how managers and peers rated versus direct reports. Managers and peers rated provocateurs significantly more positively, while direct reports rated peacemakers significantly more positively. Additionally, when we measured the engagement of direct reports of these leaders, we found that the peacemakers’ engagement was at the 50th percentile, while the provocateurs were at the 47th percentile. This difference, while small, was statistically significant.

These research data can be a reliable reference for leaders to determine their leadership style. Most leaders tend to be proficient and loyal to one method, either “peacemaker” or “provocateur”. While the number of leaders who do both approaches well is only a minority (33% of the 85,911 leaders had above-average ratings on both dimensions). The research also shows that being above average at both dimensions significantly raises the ratings of overall leadership effectiveness.

Becoming Ambidextrous at Both.

Most people have a strong preference for using one hand over the other. That is a natural tendency. No doubt people will prefer one of these dimensions more than the other, but leaders who do both well are much more effective. A leader does not need to be equally skilled at both. If one of the skills is above average and the other is below average, then you are destined to be an average leader. Figure out which side you are on. Ask your fellow workers, am I a peacemaker or provocateur? An easy way to begin the improvement process is to identify a leader you know that is highly skilled in one of these areas and ask them for some advice. You can take it a step further and ask them to be your coach.

According to Forbes


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