Lion Taming Part One

Steven L. Katz is the author of Lion Taming: Working Successfully with Leaders, Bosses and Other Tough Customers. Katz has worked as a corporate lion tamer for over 20 years; he’s been the executive assistant and right hand to many high-level executives and leaders, including a senior (unnamed in the book) U.S. senator. He intersperses real lion tamer advice from circus performers with advice on how to work with powerful leaders in business.

Do What You Are

Do What You Are is one of the books I always reach for when I work with jobseekers. On his website, Tieger says that career advice has traditionally been based on “a good match for the jobseeker’s values, interests and skills.” There’s only one problem with this approach, Tieger says: it doesn’t work.

Sense Your Humor

There are four humors found in humans, according to this ancient theory. When the humors were in balance, people are healthy; when humors are out of balance, the person gets sick. Around 400 BC, Hippocrates took this theory a step further and developed personality models based on the humors: Melancholic, Choleric, Sanguine and Phlegmatic. Although the medical humor theory is long out of the mainstream, you’ll recognize these personality descriptions; we still use them today.

Adapting Your Communication Style

Personality conflicts are a fact of life in the office. Even if a team has the same goals, they will differ on how to achieve them. Understanding your own communication style and decision process is important if you want a successful team. Even more important than self awareness, though, is your ability to adapt to the other team members’ styles when communicating with them.

Do What You Are: Keys to Career Satisfaction

Paul Tieger’s Do What You Are is one of the best career advice books I’ve used. The book is organized into chapters on each of the 16 personality types of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI.) Each chapter offers a list of what makes work worthwhile for that personality type. The lists work so well because they aren’t specific to any occupation. They focus on what makes your personality type tick and where you’ll find satisfying work and people who understand you. When I coach people on career transition, I suggest that they focus on these concepts rather than salary and duties. After all, you probably know what the job involves already. What you don’t know s what the team is like – and how well you’ll fit in.