Known particularly for his shrewd logical reasoning, Detective Sherlock Holmes most certainly possesses a strength both envied and despised. Despite the efforts of those he seeks to thwart, Holmes’s uncanny ability to weed through the details of a case, find the facts, and solve the puzzle has proven he is the best at what he does.
Some might call his methods perceptive, systematic, logical, or even rigorous.
In the Strengths world, however, it is known as Analytical.
One must wonder, what’s it like to work for someone who is Analytical? No one knows the answer to this better than John H. Watson, Holmes’s very own assistant.
As an Analytical leader, Holmes constantly challenges others, following the motto “Prove it”.
When developing a theory of his own, Watson can count on Holmes to ensure his thinking is sound and essentially bullet proof. In Holmes’s more unsophisticated moments, Watson is also aware his ideas may be destroyed. In fact, if Holmes allows his Analytical to run amuck, he may all but completely deter Watson from speaking his mind ever again.
If you’re like Holmes…
Chances are, if you’re Analytical, your work rarely (if ever) has a mistake. You base your conclusions on proven data and facts, rather than “what ifs” and possibilities. You are able to create patterns and make connections to provide solid, agenda-free solutions, making you extremely valuable to your team and organization.
To others, you are unbiased, meticulous, and logically sound; for these reasons, you are the go to person to diffuse “fanciful thinking” and implement concrete ideas.
As a leader, you are able to provide your team with:
- Substantial support for the bottom line
- Relatively error free production
- Trust worthy decision making
- Stability in data based solutions
As with any Strength, you also need to be aware of the dark side of being Analytical.
Effectively Leading Watson
Below-the-line perceptions can be extremely powerful when leading your team. Not everyone on your team will have Analytical anywhere hear their top five, much less their top ten, so it’s critical that you understand how your feedback and/or direction are received.
Possible below-the-line perceptions are:
- Paralysis by Analysis– too many reasons why a plan WON’T work
- Seem argumentative
- Ask too many questions
- Struggle with Abstract thinking
- Dream killer
Though your intention is to help Watson develop a sound theory, you may actually be creating an unproductive work environment for him. If Watson is high in the themes of Activator or Futuristic, your tendency to get “stuck in the weeds” will be very frustrating.
In order to guarantee Watson remains engaged, and also develops a well-thought out plan, it’s important for you to see the forest for the trees. Remember the bottom line and present him two to three questions that can help him head in a solid direction.
There may be times when it is necessary to deconstruct Watson’s theories and redirect him to a more tangible path; be aware of how you deliver the information.
If you are too harsh, your feedback has the opportunity to be taken personally.
When you begin your line of questioning, be fastidious about which questions are essential to the bottom line. Remember, the big picture is the ultimate result of the details!
If you’re a leader strong in Analytical, how have you been able to balance your need for detail with the essentials of a particular project? Are you able to leverage the talents of other team members to get projects started? Have you found a way to deliver feedback to an employee in a way that is productive and leaves them feeling valued?
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