Personality Types and Leadership – Part 1

Go into nearly any corporate environment and ask what type of person the company looks for when selecting a leader and you can be fairly confident that the answer will describe a “hard charging”, “take charge”, “get it done” type of personality; a person whose motto is “lead, follow, or get out of the way”.  COREMAP® refers to these people as Commander Personalities.

Now, make no mistake about it, Commanders clearly have the ability to lead.  However, the traits that can make Commanders great leaders are not the only characteristics that make great leaders.  In this and future articles, we’ll take a look at the characteristics of great leaders and try to determine what it is/was that makes/made them great.


  • VISION – Commander Personalities are “big picture” people.  They have the unique ability to see where all the moving parts fit together to make a plan come together and achieve the desired outcome.
  • DRIVE & DETERMINATION – Call it being strong-willed, forceful, ambitious, or determined, Commander Personalities know where they want to go and how they want to get there.  They are driven to succeed; and, this is what makes them good leaders, they want to take others to the top with them.
  • DYNAMIC LEADERS – As “big picture” people, these individuals don’t get bogged down in details.  As dynamic leaders, they identify people whose strengths compliment the areas in which they are not strong.  When the objective has been reached, the goals met, the Commander gives credit where it is due and tells all who will listen of the role each team member played and how each person’s contributions made the team’s success inevitable.  This type of leader is a good delegator who makes certain that all team members have what they need to perform their part of the job; stays out of the team member’s way so that he or she can do what needs to be done but also monitor progress so that goals and deadlines are met.
  • DECISIVE – Living by the dictum “lead, follow, or get out of the way”, these leaders recognize that indecision serves only to block the team’s progress and ultimate success.  The Commander Personality is willing to make decisions, both the easy ones and the hard ones, and take responsibility for those decisions.

To illustrate these traits, consider …

Entering the insurance industry as a recent college graduate, I had the privilege of following one of the most dynamic leaders I’d ever met.  For that matter, Ray is still the greatest leader I’ve had the privilege of following.

Ray gauged his success as an agency manager by some very clear measures:

  • He wanted to have the #1 Agency in the Southwest U.S. on a year-in, year-out basis.
  • He wanted his agents to be the highest paid agents in the company.
  • He wanted to develop and promote talented individuals into agency management positions for the company.

He believed that all three were attainable and communicated his vision to everyone in the agency.  He also knew what he was good at and where he needed support so he built a management team where each team member had a clearly defined role and expectations.

With his guidance, the team set monthly and annual goals and developed plans to reach them.  Once the plans were in place, he’d urge the team to “take massive action”.  It did not matter if you were ahead of projections or right on schedule, Ray encouraged you to “keep working the plan”.  If you were behind schedule, he’d say, “let’s change the plan if we need to do something differently to reach your goals”.

When the team succeeded in reaching the agency goals, he praised everyone and made it abundantly clear that “WE did it”.  When the team fell short of its goals, he took full responsibility by telling everyone that “the fault was not in the followers but in his leadership”.

Over the years I worked in his agency and later when I became an agency manager and his friendly competitor, Ray’s agency was the leading agency in the Southwest United States.  He developed 29 individuals who went on to manage their own successful agencies throughout the nation.

Ray’s leadership style exhibited all of the positive characteristics of a Commander Personality in a leadership role.  Commander was his dominant personality style; but, when it was appropriate he blended his Commander traits with the traits of other personality types.

NEXT:  Entertainer Personalities as Leaders.

Planning For Retirement – Part 5 … 403(b)’s

As we saw in Part 4, a 401(k) plan allows people who work for large companies to reduce their taxable income by having money deducted from each paycheck and invested in a retirement plan.  That’s all well and good if you work for a “for profit” company, right?  But, what if you work for a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization; or, you work for a non-profit hospital; or, a church; or, you work in the public school system?  Good news … there’s a plan designed specifically for YOU!

Known as a 403(b) plan or a Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA), this plan functions much like a 401(k) or an IRA.

  • Like a 401(k), the 403(b) plan reduces the amount of money on which you will pay federal income taxes.  You will, however, still be required to pay social security and medicare taxes on this income.
  • Depending on your adjusted gross income, you may be eligible for a $1,000 ($2,000 if filing jointly) Retirement Savings Contribution Tax Credit when you contribute to a 403(b) or 401(k) plan.
  • Like money in a 401(k) or IRA, you will not pay taxes on your contributions or the growth and earnings on those contributions until you withdraw the money from the plan.
  • The maximum contribution to a 403(b) plan is $17,000 in 2012; and, if you are age 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $5,500 under the “catch-up” provision.
  • Because this plan provides a tax-sheltered environment in which your investments grow, you will be subjected to the same taxation and penalties if money is withdrawn from the plan prior to age 591/2; and, just like the IRA and 401(k) plans, you must begin taking annual minimum distributions from the plan at age 701/2.
  • Just like a 401(k), you cannot establish your own 403(b) plan.  These plans must be established by your employer.

While these plans are often referred to as Tax Sheltered Annuities (TSA’s), you have options regarding where and how the money can be invested.

  • As the name implies, money can be invested in an annuity or variable annuity contract issued by an insurance company.
  • Alternatively, the money can be invested in a custodial account made up of mutual funds.  This is known as a 403(b)7 plan.
  • Churches can establish retirement income accounts under section 403(b)9.

Contributions that you make into your 403(b) plan are always yours although you may be subject to a surrender charge if you terminate an annuity contract within a specified number of years after it was issued.  If your employer makes any matching contributions, they may be subject to a vesting schedule similar to the vesting schedules in a 401(k).

403(b) plans offer yet another great way for qualifying workers to plan for retirement through the use of payroll deductions.  If you work for a 501(c)3 non-profit agency, church, hospital, or in the public school system, check out this great plan … someday, you’ll be very glad to have the extra retirement income that these plans can provide.

Are You Broadcasting Your Credit Information to the World?

I got an e-mail the other day from my friend Paul down in South Florida.  It seems that Paul had learned about a small chip that is being embedded in many new credit and debit cards that sends out a signal containing all of the cardholder’s account information for that card.

Known as an RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification), these new cards are marketed as a “convenience” for the card’s owner.  They allow you to simply hold your card close to a reader rather than having to go to all the effort and trouble of swiping the card through the card reader.

Unfortunately, that also means that a thief using a portable card reader that simply passes near to your card can capture your credit or debit card information, clone the card, and then use it to make purchases and steal your money.  If your card has the words “paypass”, “paywave”, or “blink” on it, it has an RFID chip in it.  You can also look for a symbol that looks something like this )))).  Regardless of which word appears on the card, thieves can obtain your account information and use your good name for their own bad purpose.

To protect your credit information, you can demand that your card issuer provide a card that does not have a chip in it.  You can also purchase a credit card sleeve or wallet that blocks the radio waves these chips send out; or, you can simply wrap your card in aluminum foil to shield it.

Want to learn more about RFID credit and debit cards and how to protect yourself?  Go to and watch the news report.