How to Cultivate a High-Performing Team by Leveraging Your Leadership Strengths

9 min readFeb 10, 2023

Leadership is a critical component of building a successful team. The way a leader manages, motivates, and communicates with their team members can have a major impact on the team’s overall performance. In order to assemble a high-performing team, it’s essential to understand your own leadership style and how to leverage your strengths in order to fill in any gaps.

In this article, we will discuss how to define your leadership style, identify areas for improvement, and use that knowledge to build a team that is well-suited to your management approach. When you finish reading, you’ll have the tools you need to assemble a team that is poised for success.

Benefits of Impactful Leadership

Let’s start at the beginning and examine why impactful leadership is an essential part of building a high-performing team. Strong leaders can inspire their team to achieve greatness, foster a positive work environment, and drive the organization forward. A few of the many ways quality leadership improves outcomes are listed below:

  • Increased productivity and efficiency: By setting clear goals, providing direction, and empowering their team members to work efficiently and effectively, strong leaders drive employees to perform better.
  • Improved employee satisfaction and retention: Employee satisfaction and retention depend on a positive work environment. Impactful leadership styles help foster such an environment.
  • Stronger sense of community: There are many cliches about the importance of teamwork. But teamwork always comes down to a sense of shared culture and community. Good leaders provide that.
  • Helping team members reach their full potential: Some employees are natural go-getters and will perform optimally with little to no outside help. Strong leadership can provide the resources and motivation to help all employees achieve the same.
  • Improved decision-making: Leadership is about effectively gathering information, considering options, and making sound decisions. As you find and embrace your leadership style, you’ll find yourself better at all of these things.
  • Greater adaptability to change: A leader who is able to effectively navigate change and lead their team through transitions can help to improve the organization’s ability to adapt and evolve.

Identifying Your Leadership Style

The first step to unlocking your leadership potential is understanding what your leadership style is. Several authors have written about the archetypes of leadership, each with their own ideas of what those archetypes are. In this article, we’ll be discussing the 8 archetypes created by author Manfred Kets de Vries in his book “The Leader on the Couch.”

Manfred Kets de Vries is a well-known management expert and psychiatrist, who is currently a Distinguished Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change at INSEAD, one of the world’s leading business schools. He is also the founder and program director of the INSEAD Global Leadership Center. He has written extensively on the subject of leadership development, and his book “The Leader on the Couch” is one of his most well-known works.

  1. The Strategist: A visionary, strategic and outside-the-box thinker. Strategists are able to see the big picture and make long-term plans. They are confident and charismatic, able to inspire and motivate others to follow their lead. They often have a clear sense of purpose and a deep understanding of the organization’s goals. They are able to anticipate and respond to changes in the environment. However, they may struggle with delegating tasks and have a tendency to micromanage their team.
  2. The Change Catalyst: Thrives in messy situations they can fix. Change catalysts are natural problem solvers and enjoy the challenge of turning chaos into order. They are decisive and confident, and have the ability to inspire others to take action. They are able to adapt to changes and are comfortable with uncertainty. However, they may struggle with maintaining stability and may become restless and bored when things are calm.
  3. The Transactor: Skilled at identifying and tackling new opportunities. Transactors are often charismatic and persuasive, and have the ability to build strong relationships. They are good at finding mutually beneficial solutions and are able to negotiate effectively. They are able to take risks and make quick decisions. However, they may struggle with long-term planning and may be more focused on short-term gains.
  4. The Builder: Able to turn ideas into reality. Builders are practical, hands-on, and have the ability to create something from nothing. They are able to manage resources effectively and are able to develop and implement plans. However, they may struggle with delegating tasks and may become overly involved in the details of the projects.
  5. The Innovator: A creative idea generator. The innovator possesses a great capacity to solve extremely difficult problems. They are unorthodox and independent, and have the ability to think outside the box. They are able to see opportunities where others see challenges. However, they may struggle with implementing their ideas and become too focused on the theoretical side of things.
  6. The Processor: Likes organizations to run smoothly, like a well-oiled machine. Processors are very effective at setting up structures and systems. They are often detail-oriented and methodical, and have the ability to bring order to chaos. They are able to work well under pressure and have a good sense of priorities. However, they may struggle with flexibility and be resistant to change.
  7. The Coach: Knows how to get the best out of people and create a high-performance culture. Coaches are often supportive and empowering, and have the ability to inspire others to reach their full potential. They are able to provide guidance and mentorship and are good at creating a sense of community among team members. However, they may struggle with decision-making and become too focused on individual team members rather than the team as a whole.
  8. The Communicator: A great influence that significantly impacts people and their surroundings. Communicators are often charismatic and persuasive, and they have the ability to connect with others and build strong relationships. They are able to communicate effectively and are able to create a sense of community among team members. However, they may struggle with being too focused on the short-term and may not always consider the long-term consequences of their actions.

It’s important to note that you may embody characteristics of multiple archetypes, and may shift between different archetypes depending on the situation. It’s less about fitting yourself into a particular box, and more about learning which of the archetypes who share your strengths and weaknesses.

It’s also important to be honest with yourself during this process. Ask colleagues, supervisors, and employees about your leadership style. Look for feedback on times that you’ve excelled as a leader, and times that you’ve struggled. Understand that this is an opportunity for you to grow as a leader, and make sure employees know that their constructive feedback will be used for that purpose.

In addition to the descriptions above, there are online assessments you can take that will help you understand your leadership style better as well. has one assessment that is focused on the leadership styles developed by Kurt Lewin in the 1930s. His work remains influential to this day. They have another assessment based on the work of Eric Flamholtz and Yvonne Randle. Make use of all of these to help you understand your leadership style.

Match Your Leadership Style to the Project

Not every project is the same. Leading a team through a task that is rather routine and predictable with the leadership style of the Change Catalyst is likely to result in frustration for everyone involved. Again, the archetypes aren’t about putting yourself into a box. They are about understanding what the boxes are and using that information to your advantage. You may identify the most strongly with the Change Catalyst, but for the type of project we’ve described, it’s best to move outside of that box and embrace your second (or third, or fourth) strongest leadership style.

As you move further down the list of archetypes you identify with to find one that matches the project at hand, you may begin to feel well outside of your comfort zone. That’s a good thing! Getting outside of your comfort zone is how you grow and, eventually, expand that comfort zone. It’s also exactly what an impactful leader would do.

The 6 Characteristics of a Successful Team

Google conducted an extensive five-year study of highly successful teams and discovered a series of traits that are shared among all of them. Athens Micro has provided a nice breakdown of the findings, which we’ve briefly summarized below:

  • They have clear goals and plans: Effective teams know what must be done and plan ahead of time to accomplish those tasks. They create clear metrics to measure their progress and create a detailed roadmap to reach those metrics on time. As the project progresses, plans are regularly reviewed and updated to adapt to changes.
  • They have strong leadership: We’ve discussed many characteristics of strong leadership already. One common thread in all successful teams is a leader that fosters a sense of teamwork and provides direction and encouragement to the team. Challenges can kill the morale of a team, and doom a project to failure. Teams with good leaders keep their spirits high and get back on track in the face of adversity.
  • Members fulfill their own tasks and also help one another: In order to work effectively, tasks to be accomplished must be divided and delegated. But things don’t always go as planned. Members of successful teams work well on their individual tasks but are also willing to help out when troubles slow down one of the team members.
  • Members communicate openly with the team: A good team has been assembled of the best people, and trust in those people to contribute positively to outcomes. Members of successful teams aren’t afraid to share their ideas and aren’t dismissive of the ideas of others. A culture of trust is paramount to making this happen.
  • Members resolve conflict constructively: It isn’t hard to get along when things are going smoothly. When things start to go south, tensions can flare. This can be a disaster for a poorly led team. Successful teams remain calm, listen to the concerns of the other party, and give the task at hand top priority when discussing their differences.
  • Members feel they directly contribute to the company’s success: A company thrives based on the work of its employees. Every member of a well-staffed company plays a role in its success. However, employees don’t always feel that way. Successful teams are made of up employees that know their value to the company.

Strong leadership is one of the characteristics discovered by Google, but it is also a contributing factor to every one of the other items on the list. A leader that doesn’t effectively manage a team can make tensions worse, creating a cascade that makes it difficult for the team to rise to the challenges that are easily overcome by more effectively led teams.


Effective leadership is crucial for building and maintaining a successful team. By setting clear goals and plans, providing direction and guidance, and fostering a culture of accountability, a leader can ensure that the team is aligned and focused on achieving its objectives. By promoting open communication, encouraging collaboration and teamwork, and resolving conflicts constructively, a leader can create an environment that promotes motivation and engagement among team members.

Understanding your leadership as described in this article and the resources provided within it, can help you to understand your own style and develop the skills you need to build a more effective team. But you don’t have to do it alone. An effective team is not only the result of effective leadership, but also the result of a well-rounded Human Resources approach.

HCM platforms like Platinum Group’s isolved are designed to help organizations make data-driven decisions and gain insights into their workforce. By providing access to real-time data and analytics, isolved can help HR teams identify trends, track performance, and measure the impact of their initiatives. This can help organizations to improve their recruitment strategies, optimize their talent development programs, and increase the overall productivity of their workforce.

To learn more about how isolved can augment your efforts to become a more effective leader, try our free, self-guided tour of the platform. It will cover the entire journey of your employees, from the day they start to the day they retire, providing them with self-service options that help resolve their problems quicker and keep their heads in the game.

Originally published at




A full service Cloud Payroll, HCM, & Accounting firm. Easy-to-use platform, stellar customer service.