Expert Advice of the Month: Find a leadership style that reflects your personality


This month we hear from Zaida Fazlic, vice president of people, culture, and change management at Taiga Building Products, the national building materials wholesaler.

Zaida Fazlic is the HR lead at Taiga Building Products. She spoke in October at the 26th annual Hardlines Conference, held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., where she talked about how her company develops good people.

“At Taiga all of our leadership team takes part in team building exercises. It’s a talent assessment tool. Some people are people-oriented, some are process-oriented, and some are results-oriented.”

Process-oriented people are interested in the rules. They are methodical, they are analytical, and they are safety oriented. Results-oriented people are interested in the “win,” achieving a successful outcome. They have a tendency only to look at the process when the results are negative. People-oriented people favour maintaining good relationships at all costs.

The different orientations are expressed in different communication styles. “Conflict can arrive,” Fazlic says, “when we communicate to people who have other styles in communication than we prefer.”

Regardless of the communication style you bring to the workplace, it’s important to moderate it—or at least self-monitor it, lest it derail your career, Fazlic said. “Margaret Thatcher [UK prime minister in the 1980s who earned the nickname, ‘The Iron Lady’] is a great example of a strength taken too far,” Fazlic said. She was ruthless and blunt, which worked at times. But she also humiliated her team members in public. Ultimately, she was brought down by her own political party.

So it’s important not to overdose on one particular communication style, whatever yours happens to be. In fact, Fazlic said, “It’s possible to borrow elements from different leadership styles and still be true to yourself.”