Most leaders naturally fall into either the climber or connector camp. They are either highly positional or highly relational. Which type of leader are you? Take a look at some of the differences between climbers and connectors:
Climbers Think Vertical—Connectors Think Horizontal
Climbers are always acutely aware of who is ahead of them and who is behind them in the standings or on the organizational chart. They are the way I was as a young leader reading the reports to see where they rank. Moving up is very important, and the idea of moving down is terrible. Connectors, on the other hand, are focused on moving over to where other people are. They think more about who is on the journey with them and how they can come alongside them.
Climbers Focus on Position—Connectors Focus on Relationships
Because climbers are always thinking about moving up, they are often focused on their position. However, connectors are more focused on relationships. Unlike positional people who desire to climb the ladder, relational people are more focused on building bridges.
Climbers Value Competition—Connectors Value Cooperation
Climbers see nearly everything as a competition. For some, that can mean trying to win at all costs. For others it can mean seeing success as an enjoyable game. Either way, they want to end up on top. Connectors, however, are more interested in using their relationships with others to foster cooperation. They see working together as a win.
Climbers Seek Power—Connectors Seek Partnerships
If your mind-set is always to win, then you naturally want power because it helps you to climb faster and reach the top more quickly. However, climbing the leadership ladder is not really a solo endeavor. And anything you can do on your own pales in significance to things you can do with a team of people. The way to create really high-powered teams is to form partnerships, which is what connectors are more likely to do.
Climbers Build Their Image—Connectors Build Consensus
Because movement either up or down the ladder often depends on other people’s perception of their performance, climbers are often concerned with their image. Their next promotion may depend on it. Connectors are more concerned with getting everyone on the same page so that they can work together.
Climbers Want to Stand Apart—Connectors Want to Stand Together
Climbers want to distinguish themselves from everybody else in the organization. Like racers, they want to create separation to leave everyone else in the dust. Connectors, on the other hand, find ways to get closer to other people, to find common ground that they can stand on together.