How Can a Relater Personality Be a Great Leader?

When people think of leaders, they tend to think of the person who takes command; who gives orders; who talks loudly; who moves through the crowd shaking hands with everyone and talking to everyone who will listen … and frequently to those who would rather not listen.

A Relater Personality (see Personality Types and Leadership – Part 3 published here on April 11, 2012) hardly fits the description above. Relaters tend to be introverted personalities; again, not what you expect from someone who aspires to a position of leadership. But, I believe that Relaters can be GREAT Leaders because they have some skills that are desperately needed.

They Listen: I once heard the great Cavett Robert say, “God gave you two ears and one mouth. It was a hint.” What did he mean by this? Great Leaders recognize that they do not know it all. Great Leaders listen twice as much as they talk; and, at this, Relaters excel. Relater Personalities listen to others, especially where there are differing opinions and points of view so that they can determine where common ground exists.

They Build Consensus: Once the Relater Leader knows where the common ground is, they are in a much better position to broker compromises in which all parties believe that they have gotten what they need. They rally people to the positions that all support and keep everyone focused on what they have in common; the positions that they all support. Rather than having team members see other members with differing points of view as opponents to be defeated, Relater Leaders help the team arrive at positions that the majority can support. Even those who don’t completely agree with the position feel valued in that they had an opportunity to present their opinions and ideas and that they were heard.

They Foster a Spirit of Teamwork: My former neighbor, Bobby, is a Relater Leader. Working in the construction industry, Bobby was a job-site supervisor and had a reputation for getting more quality work from his crews than any other supervisor in the company. Got a tough job with a hard completion deadline? This was the man you wanted on the job! I asked him how he did it and his answer was quite simple. He stated that his crews did not work for him … they work with him. If he needed the crew to work on Saturday in order to be ready for an inspection on Monday, he did not tell the workers that they had to work on Saturday. He told them that, in order to have the job done by Monday morning, some work needed to be done on Saturday. He told them that he’d be on the job-site at 7:00 a.m. with coffee and donuts; then, he asked who would be there at 8:00 a.m. to help him get the job done. He never lacked help; and, they usually showed up well before 8:00 and found him hard at work. His crew knew that they were a team; that they would succeed or fail as a team; and, that the leader of the team would work as hard, or harder, than he asked of them.

Can a Relater Personality by a Great Leader?  Comment here and tell us what you think?

Tom Hoisington is a speaker, trainer, and author whose goal is to provide leaders and potential leaders with tools that empower them to build teams that are creative and cost effective along with a clearer understanding of how personality types interact within those teams. He can be contacted at


  1. I think that any style can be great at any position, as long as people know their strengths and weaknesses, and adapt accordingly.

  2. Tiffanie, you are absolutely right. Each personality type brings different strengths and leadership styles to the table. As long as each leads with their strengths, they can be GREAT Leaders. Thanks for commenting!

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