In order to understand different approaches to leadership, Drs. Lane Holt and John Cullen have created a classification system that includes seven personality types. These leadership types are: Will, Love, Active, Harmony, Scientific, Ideal, and Organizer. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the leadership qualities of a successful African American toymaker using interview questions and the Holt Types Test.
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Holt Test Results
For the purposes of the study, the researcher has chosen to interview and test a successful African American independent toymaker in his thirties who has a small team making custom products for children from various age groups. The interviewer and interviewee both have passed the Holt test. The comparison of the results aims to identify the leadership type of the interviewee. The test passed by the interviewer shows that the top three leadership types of the target person are Love, Scientific, and Organizer. These three types have equally high scores.
According to Profiles of Leadership, Love type values human element at work and cares for his employees. Group work is crucial for him to show his true abilities. Love types encourage participation of employees in decision-making.
They understand people and are able to share their feelings. Love types are eager to learn and gain wisdom and can show their employees how to improve their productivity at work. Their leadership approach is strongly marked by intuition. Along with these strengths, Love types have a number of weaknesses. They are easily hurt by negative feedback, they know how to manipulate their employees with their emotions, and feel difficulty in making choices.
The interviewer’s choices in the test support these propositions. The interviewer rates the person as participating, kind, gentle, and healing. In the process of communication, the interviewee shows his will to gain knowledge and wisdom. He tends to be forgiving to his employees at work and shows compassion in discussion of their problems. The interviewee is highly sociable and ready to accept the propositions of his employees. In contrast with the description of the type, he lacks group orientation, preferring to make decisions on his own. According to the test results by the interviewer, he tends to be very generous in giving rewards to his workers.
The second leadership type of the person is Scientific. The main aim of this type is the search for truth in the form of solid facts. Scientific types tend to believe only in the information their senses tell them, ignoring abstract notions and values. They analyze all situations objectively dividing all deeds and factors into right and wrong. Scientific types are masters in dealing with technical knowledge, they use facts from various spheres and share their wisdom with their employees in form of definite instructions. In contrast with Love types, they lack compassion, do not always understand human motivation, and they are too much concerned about small details.
The choices in the test completed by the interviewer reflect the existence of definite personal traits that usually represent a Scientific type. According to the results of the interview and the test, the interviewee is meticulous and works with a perfectionist approach. He is logical, follows definite methods, and verifies every decision made by his employees. The interviewee pays close attention to facts and precision in approaches implemented in his company.
The third leadership type outlined by the interviewer is Organizer. The key feature of this type is his will to bring order in his work and company. His approach is always objective and straightforward. Their orders are simply structured and thus understandable for any worker. Organizer types complete their work on time and demand the same from their employees working actively in teams. They resist changing their course of action even if improvements can significantly enhance their productivity.
The choices of the interviewer also support the Organizer type of leadership. The interviewee seems to be very deliberate in his approaches and orderly in his actions. He is prompt at work and formal in his communication with his employees. He prefers to prepare beforehand for all possible outcomes of the implemented approaches. The interviewee is lawful and competent on his place.
The results of the test completed by the interviewee show distinct differences in evaluation of his personal traits. Only one leadership type Love has the highest score according to the choices made by the interviewee. Scientific and Organizer share second position along with Active type of leadership. The overall ratings are lower than in the test made by the interviewer, which can represent difficulty in making choices usual to Love leadership types. This distinct difference in the results can speak of various biases affecting the choice of the test participants.
The interviewee has listed Active as one of his prominent types of leadership. This type is primarily engaged in manufacturing or sale of material goods. Active types use practical approach at their work and always look for efficient strategies to enhance productivity of their companies. Apart from the materialistic point of view, their leadership is marked by spontaneous decisions and manipulative methods of communication with their employees and business partners.
The choices of the interviewee support the Active leadership type. He is used to brainstorming in the search of new approaches and possibilities to improve the productivity of his company. He is practical, mobile, and looks for profit in every aspect of his work. His inability to see the big picture of the events is one of the main differences with the results of the test completed by the interviewer.
According to the results of two tests completed by both participants of the study, the interviewee seems to use Love leadership at his work with strong influence of Active, Scientific, and Organizer types. The choices of the interviewee support his nurturing, healing, forgiving, and generous personal traits. In contrast to the choices made by the interviewer, he is not very participating and reluctant in obtaining wisdom. The analysis of his results creates an impression of uncertainty about his personal traits as if he is not sure about them or not willing to share information about them.
The interviewee expressed his will to remain anonymous. For the convenience of the readers, he is called David in further description of the interview results. The researcher and interviewee spoke in an informal atmosphere in a café. The interviewer prepared six questions about the work of the company owned by David. The questions were adapted from the Glassdoor website.1
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At the beginning of the interview, David presented some general information about himself and his company. He told the interviewer that their company creates custom soft toys for children. The workers use various sewing machinery and/or make the toys by hand, according to the orders made by customers. Several designers work to make sketches of toys to be made for clients (usually on paper). These are sent to clients for approval; after the approval, they are given to workers along with the instructions, so that the craftsmen would start making toys. A number of managers take orders from customers, oversee the work of the employees, and control the quality of the toys and the degree to which they match the customers’ orders.
David’s responses to the interview questions are presented below.
Question 1: What amount of time do the owners or leaders of the company spend in the office?
David stated that on the whole, he tends to be in the office most of the business time – about 35-40 hours per week. He often plays the role of a universal manager, communicating with customers, overseeing the work of the employees and controlling the quality, providing support for the staff that need it, etc.
Question 2: Do you provide any additional learning opportunities for your staff?
The experienced workers who make toys usually know their craft and rarely require additional instruction. For new workers, instruction is provided by specifically assigned, experienced workers. As for the managers, David sometimes organizes seminars and discussions aimed at debating their current approach to management and finding new ways to better satisfy their clients. The designers are provided with opportunities to hone their painting/drafting skills.
Question 3: Are there any benefits for your workers, apart from the base pay?
Apart from the base pay, workers, designers and managers receive additional bonuses for orders with which customers were very satisfied (that were rated 91% or higher). Also, those who have passed the trial period and have been accepted for permanent work in the company receive medical insurance, and a sum of money for their vacation depending on that employee’s salary.
Question 4: Which metrics do you utilize in order to assess the successfulness of your workers?
The customers are asked to evaluate each toy that is made for them, on the scale ranging from 0 to 100, and their satisfaction with the designers and the management/customer support teams, on the same scale. Each toy-maker has a rating that is equal to the mean of the customers’ assessments of the toys made by that worker. Each designer has a rating that is equal to the customer’s assessments of the designer’s drafts. Each manager has a rating equal to the mean of the customers’ assessments of the toys the creation of which was overseen by that manager, and of these customers’ satisfaction with the management team.
Question 5: Do the workers control the general structure of their tasks and their aims?
To a certain degree. The orders are accepted by the managers, and then assigned to the designers, who then sketch the drafts. The drafts are approved by clients (or revised); after an approval, a draft is given to a worker, along with the instructions. Thus, the aim is usually not set by workers. However, the structure of the task (the order in which a toy is made, etc.) is usually chosen by the worker according to his/her working style and to the peculiarities of that particular order; the managers continuously monitor the progress of the work.
Question 6: How do the managers provide feedback for the workers?
The workers are informed about their ratings; the ratings are summarized on the website, and workers can view their rating in their accounts. In addition, clients are encouraged to provide verbal feedback via the website; if such feedback is given, it can also be viewed by workers. Also, managers inform workers if any oral feedback was supplied.
It should also be noted that workers are encouraged to express their opinions about the processes taking place in the company. During general meetings, the employees who are lowest in the management hierarchy are encouraged to speak first, so that they would not fear expressing thoughts that contradict those of the management.
Analysis of the Answers
It is easy to see that David cares about his company, spending a considerable amount of time there even when he does not have to. The nature of his company is such that not many learning activities are necessary for the workers, and yet these are provided to further enhance their skills and improve their effectiveness. All the workers are encouraged to work better thanks to the system of bonuses for positive customer feedback, and the basic worker benefits, such as medical insurance and paid vacations, are also supplied, so that the workers would better value their job.
The workers are allowed to choose the methods for making toys that are most convenient and appropriate to them, so that these professional would work according to their own preferences and style; however, the monitoring that is conducted by managers permits for ensuring that the work is done in a timely fashion. In general, it is apparent that in his company, David created a system which combines care about employees with productivity and high customer satisfaction.
Analysis of the Interviewee’s Characteristics
Analysis of the Interviewee’s Leadership
On the whole, David has created a rather flexible company in which there exist quite effective mechanisms for managers to control the employees and oversee their work. The sketches of toys created according to the instructions and approved by clients permit workers to create the toys that better correspond to the customers’ desires. The use of Love leadership is apparent from the benefits that are provided for the staff and the management, and from the manner in which employees express their opinion about the business – this manner allows David to hear out all the workers.
The Scientific and Organizer types are apparent from the use of a clear system of worker assessment, and from the system of controls, which permits for creating toys that highly correspond to the desires of clients. Simultaneously, the Active type can be seen from David’s spending a considerable amount of time at work in order to enhance the productivity of the company and help his employees.
It was apparent during the interview that David had a caring personality; he seemed eager to tell about his company, and glad to state that his employees are satisfied with their job and enjoy the work that they do. This corresponded well to the Love type of leadership, which was shown to be the strongest David’s leadership type according to the results of the Holt test. In addition, David came across as a person who tends to rely on logic and evidence when acting, which, in combination with his caring personality, yielded numerous positive results.
David’s Major Traits and Attributes
During the interview, David displayed empathy towards others, which was combined with the perspective based on logic and evidence. It is noteworthy that David combined empathetic personality with the tendency to act in a structured, well-defined and effective ways that are based on practical considerations rather than vague ideas.
David’s Significant Results and Accomplishments
The use of the Love type of leadership in combination with Scientific, Organizer, and Active types permitted David to create an effective business which successfully satisfies the desires of its clients, simultaneously providing the employees with the jobs that they enjoy and benefit from. This is further confirmed by the fact that, according to David, overall customer satisfaction rates rarely fall below 80-85%.
Discussion and Conclusions
Integration/Comparison of the Interviewer and the Interviewee
According to the interviewer’s Holt Test results, his main personality types are Love and Harmony (equal scores), and Ideal. Therefore, the interviewer and David are highly similar in that they both have the Love personality/leadership type, which means that they both will care for their employees and clients in leadership positions, and strive to provide comfortable and convenient conditions for effective work that would satisfy the customers. Simultaneously, David arguably has an advantage by also having high scores in Active, Scientific, and Organizer types, which also lets him create efficacious management systems. The interviewer, however, might lack these qualities, which means that there might be a need to obtain them or gain their benefits from other sources while being in a leadership position.
Lessons Learned from David
David showed that it is possible to effectually combine an empathetic and caring attitude towards one’s employees with a rational and productive approach to organizing their work. It also became clear from the interview that a business in which employees feel at harmony at the same time when their work is effectively organized, can have some of the highest client satisfaction rates.
Major Ideas Gained from the Exercise and the Class
The main idea that were gained from the exercise is that it is paramount to strive to increase not only the customer satisfaction, but also the employee satisfaction with their jobs, for the latter can work more effectually if they enjoy their work; this is especially important in jobs that involve creativity rather than mechanical execution of repeated actions.
One of the main ideas gained from the class is that a leader should strive to know one’s leadership/personality type using a variety of tools, and that these tools may help that leader to see one’s strengths and use them, and realize one’s weaknesses and mitigate their fallout, or work in spheres where such fallout would not be significant.
How the Class Enhanced the Author’s Leadership Style
The author was able to conclude that he needs to develop the logical and systematic side of his leadership style in order for it to become more effectual. He also needs to become more tolerant to criticism and not to take it personally, and not to accumulate resentment towards those who criticize him.
Plans for Integrating the Class Materials into Life
The author plans to further develop his leadership capabilities by studying materials aimed at developing a more structured, logical approach towards leading people. In addition, in his future leadership roles, the author plans to take into account the distinction between a leader and a manager, further develop his management skills, and turn to the assistance of professional managers if the need arises.