Family Business Series: Accountability & The 5 Leadership Voices
- Mark Herringshaw of Herringshaw Group, President
Host, Jamie Duininck, asks guest and business coach, Mark Herringshaw, if he thinks families are harder on each other in business. The truth? It depends on who you are as a leader. Mark explains the 5 personality types and how being aware of your voice can impact your family business.
Episode 39.2 | 7 min
Mark Herringshaw is the President of Herringshaw Group. He believes in a humility-based approach to leadership and is passionate about transformation as a practitioner of the principles that he advocates.
Mark has over 25 years of experience in leadership roles and earned his PhD in Leadership Studies from Regent University in 2001. He works with companies of all sizes to decode individual performance, team chemistry and organizational excellence to lead them to success. Mark is a parent, business coach, teacher and author of three books.
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Jamie Duininck (00:31):
Well, welcome back to The Water Table podcast as we continue our business series. Today, I’m really excited to have Mark Herringshaw with us. Talk about that around accountability for, and how hard that is to… I think it’s a skill that needs to be learned for almost everybody on how to hold people accountable, but that’s even harder in family. Do you find that in general, kind of a general statement that families are harder on each other than they would be on an employee doing the same job?
Mark Herringshaw (01:15):
Yeah, well, and it kind of swings to both extremes, Jamie. So they can be easier or they could be harder. Some of that depends on kind of the inherent personalities that we’re dealing with. So we do a lot of work on just understanding personalities. There’s a lot of great personality assessments out there, and you can argue about the pros and cons of any of them. We, in our giant company have aggregated a lot of that at research into what we call Five Voices. The order of those voices that all of us carry helps to explain the kind of brains that we’ve been given. So all of us have a different firing sequence of the synopsis in our brain, and it’s quite predictable. So we have, for instance, a designation of a nurturer, the nurturer personality type is the person whose first and foremost, super concerned with individuals and not offending them, not crossing them.
They would be, say very different than the personality type we call Pioneer, which is very goal oriented, very strategic, kind of the flag on top of the mountain, hey, we’re charging up to get it. They’re going to almost be a nemesis to that nurturer voice. The guardians are the personality types that are very vigilant to policy and precedent, and want to keep everybody in lockstep to make sure that things stay in order, that the things we’ve done in the past are honored. They’re balanced by what we call the Creative Voice, which is the individual that’s always thinking of a new way. They’re always pressing toward the ideal of what we should be and could be. Then, the connector voice, which is the fifth voice, is the one that kind of navigates between all the voices to be the translator. Helping sort of bridge the gaps between the different types of individuals, and the connector has to watch.
They all have strengths and they all have challenges. The connector has to watch that they don’t become so soft around the edges, that they don’t communicate clearly. So what we see in that question of in family businesses, are we harder or are we easier on fellow family members that we’re working with? A lot of that has to do with kind of the orientation of the voice. So nurturers would tend to be too easy and not bring enough challenge, and pioneers and guardians might be the ones that bring super high challenge, maybe disproportionate to the way it needs to be. So what we try to do is help the teams that we work with, help the individuals understand themselves. So we say, “If you know yourself, you can lead yourself.” I understand like the way I naturally tend to respond to things, how I think, what I’m going to do when I’m under sure.
If I can understand that, and then I can also understand how I might be different from the people I’m working with, whether those are family members or even just fellow members of the team that are employees. Self understanding gives me an ability to make adjustments, but understanding others are, it gives me an ability to make adjustments too. So we’ve seen the lights go on in some pretty fun ways for families that… It can be actually pretty fun to walk through an exercise like this and realize, oh, that’s why you do what you do, or why you say what you say, or why that’s stressful for you and why I laugh at that and it makes you upset. Those are all just super helpful and empowering insights, because it can help us see what our tendencies are. What you described earlier is that tendency to be, are we tougher on family or not? The tendencies are going to rise a lot out of, like what we would say that individual’s voice tendency is. So I don’t know if that makes sense, Jamie, if that gets to what you were after.
Jamie Duininck (05:32):
Yeah. It does and it’s interesting to take that back a little bit to what we were talking about a little bit before, about to actually know what you’re like across the table. When you add in these five voices and, you know Mark, because we’ve worked on this in our company at Prinsco and been part of this is as an individual when you go through the exercise, it’s pretty easy to see what voice you are from the positives of that voice.
Mark Herringshaw (06:04):
Jamie Duininck (06:04):
But every voice has negatives too, when you’re under stress or when you’re tired or whatever it might be. It’s much harder for you as the individual to see your negatives, but the other people in the room will say, “Oh yeah, that’s you. That’s you,” and so it comes back to that knowing what it’s like to sit across from you. If you can have some self-awareness or, in a lot of cases for a lot of us, including myself, that self-awareness isn’t really self-awareness, it’s having the opportunity to learn what you need as self-awareness. Because it isn’t like you can just define it for yourself.
Mark Herringshaw (06:46):
Yeah. You said that very well.
Jamie Duininck (06:56):
Well, I’ve been really pleased to have Mark Herringshaw with us. Thanks for joining us, Mark. If you’d like to hear more and hear the whole discussion with Mark, you can find it at watertable.ag/business.