Shapers are dynamic and highly-motivated individuals with a lot of nervous energy and a great need for achievement. They’re primarily interested in getting things done – as quickly as possible.
Headstrong and assertive, Shapers enjoy competition and challenges, and they’re determined to overcome obstacles and win. They’re likely to come across as self-confident, even if they have doubts that they don’t allow others to see.
Shapers like to lead and push others into action. They’re impatient to get things done and they don’t mind taking unpopular decisions to make things happen. They thrive under pressure and are well suited to managing change. As the name implies, they exert a directive influence and can shape group discussion or activities into objectives and targets. They are good at tackling inertia and complacency in teams, or intervening when a team is straying too far from its original brief.
In their eagerness to get things done, Shapers can neglect other people’s feelings and ruffle a few
feathers. They can be argumentative and are often to be found in the centre of a team conflict.
Because they are deeply invested in the team’s success, they also tend to show a strong emotional response to disappointment or frustration, which may need to be managed by the team.
Too many Shapers in a team can cause problems too, because they’re likely to lock horns and end up in heated arguments. To work successfully together in teams, Shapers often need to demarcate their areas of authority clearly, and to stick to work on parallel lines.
The Shaper’s impetus to shake things up can help rejuvenate an apathetic team, but it can also result in arguments. Where conflict arises, Shapers shouldn’t hold grudges, but should be encouraged to recover the situation with good humour or an apology.
Shapers are best managed by a Co-ordinator who can channel their drive, or a Monitor Evaluator who can help them to think before acting. As managers, Shapers work well when supported by an Implementer (whose efficiency and task focus will be appreciated) or a Teamworker, who can smooth over any misunderstandings that might arise.
Use a factual and goal-oriented approach. Talk in terms of what can be achieved and when the deadline might be.
Make personal attacks in arguments, or allow yourself to get off-topic in discussions. Avoid ambiguity wherever possible.
Shapers are well suited to working in a changing, fast-paced team, where there are no ambiguities of leadership and they are accountable for the results they produce.
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