TetraMap UK - Behavioural systems, training and people development

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Nature's Way of Understanding Leadership Capability

TetraMapUK | Blog
Thursday, 20 October 2016
Martin Coburn, Director Natural Direction and Master TetraMap Facilitator

Imagine the scene, a somewhat disenchanted leader is thumbing through their leadership 360 struggling to make sense of their disappointing low scores.

“It doesn’t make sense, I deliver consistent results, I set clear goals for others and follow through in a timely manner, yet my scores don’t reflect this”

Whilst we are asking people to rate us on our leadership ability, in reality however their judgement is being heavily influenced by whether they like the way we demonstrate that particular leadership skill (or not).   And, I would argue that that is largely to do with your behavioural preferences. 

When we are asked to complete an assessment on someone, there is often little opportunity to embellish the score.  There is no scope to write in the score box comments such as, “I know you are great at driving for results but I don’t like the abrupt way you go about it so I’ve given you a low score. “ 

So guess what? You just get a low score.”

Or, conversely you may think of yourself as warm and collaborative but others may see you as taking forever to get to the point and slow to make decisions which may be frustrating for team members who prefer a focus on speed and action.

It is important for individuals to recognise the close relationship between what others have scored as their perceived perceptions of strengths and development areas, and how these are influenced by their behavioural preferences.

It’s the missing clue as to why they are scoring either high or low on certain competencies. The combination of understanding your behavioural preferences and perceived strengths completes the picture and, can provide the missing clue as to why scores from others might be particularly high or indeed low.

As a strong advocate of building on people’s strengths I am a raving fan of the behavioural preference model offered by TetraMap®. The TetraMap model is not prescriptive in pointing out our weaknesses, but allows us to discover our natural preferences and to play to those strengths.

The metaphor of nature is used to describe four behavioural types - Earth, Air, Water and Fire.  As in nature things thrive in their natural habitat becoming stronger and healthier. Likewise, when we are allowed to play to our own natural strengths we also thrive and become stronger and more effective in every aspect of our performance. 

It’s not surprising to learn the leader who scores high on execution and delivering results, also has a preference for focusing on outcomes and is more driven in nature in what TetraMap calls Earth.

The leader who turns out to be is regarded as a great people developer and possesses a strength in building relationships, is more likely to have a high behavioural preference for connecting with people, which TetraMap describes as Water.

TetraMap, when used alongside a leadership assessment tool, provides a useful explanation for discrepancies between our own perceived strengths and the perceptions of others. 

When leaders become aware of how their behavioural preferences influence the perceptions of  others, it allows them to honour their natural behaviour rather than “beating themselves up”. Then from a position of strength, and with self-esteem intact, they can then learn to modify their natural behaviour to better suit the preferences of others.

TetraMap is not concerned with highlighting weaknesses. Instead it simply creates self-awareness to help you make informed choices that may be against your nature but will improve the experience for others, the quality of your relationships and ultimately your perceived leadership strengths. 

It’s up to you to demonstrate behavioural flexibility as a leader, which is quite different to changing who you are. Be yourself. Be authentic. And be aware of how you can improve your leadership perception by understanding more about your nature.  

To find out more about Strengths Based Leadership contact us. 

Martin will be speaking at our facilitator development day on 1st November 


TetraMap® is a registered trademark of TetraMap International in New Zealand and other countries

"To date I've facilitated 24 TetraMap sessions since being accredited, each session bringing different learning and understanding every time.  I've witnessed some  momentous 'lightbulb' moments for some people, which makes my day.  The biggest win for me with TetraMap is that it's just so applicable in the workplace, delegates remember their preference, and are still having discussion about it 6 months down the line."

- Ally Wightman
Senior Leadership Development Consultant, Telefonica UK

"I always choose TetraMap as the model of behaviour because the feedback from delegates consistently reflects a positive experience and extremely high application back in the 'real world'.  It's reassuring to be approached by delegates from years gone by to be told how the experience has changed their lives for the better, both inside and outside of work."

- Dan Masters
Training Consultant

"It's a phenomenally powerful tool for managers to communicate more effectively with their team."

- Ben Long
Trainer, BSkyB

"We are delighted with the results which speak for themselves.  TetraMap is the most memorable take away from the Ignite programme.  We have used the model in our management training to help improve coaching skills, communication skills and how to recognise how the different elements behave under stress.  This has been invaluable in helping our managers develop their teams more effectively."

- Tessa Roff
Training Manager, Nationwide Building Society

TetraMap is probably one of the most power and simple tools I have come across to get people, teams and communities working together constructively and with massive speed and accuracy.

- Jacques Marais. Executive Chairman, IPMS Global