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  • Niko Verheulpen

Leading with Quiet Strength? - The Power of Transparent Leadership

Updated: Apr 24

Once upon a time, in a bustling call centre nestled within the heart of a vibrant city, there was a team facing its fair share of challenges. Amidst the ringing phones and hectic activity, frustrations simmered among the team members. From job-related stress to concerns about planning and salary conditions, the atmosphere was ripe with discontent.


Yet, amidst the chaos, there was a beacon of warmth and understanding—the team manager. A gentle soul with a knack for listening and empathising, he was beloved by his team. Always ready to go the extra mile, he regularly bent over backwards to accommodate his team members’ needs. Whether it was adjusting schedules, providing support, or lending a sympathetic ear, he was there, steadfast in his commitment to his team’s well-being.


But what set him apart was his quiet resolve to fight for his team behind the scenes. When exceptional concessions were needed, he didn’t hesitate to advocate for his team, even if it meant facing off against higher-ups. He fought his battles with grace and determination, always standing firmly behind their decisions once made.


Despite his efforts, he never sought recognition or praise for his actions. Modest and unassuming, he preferred to let his actions speak louder than words. Even as frustrations mounted and team results began to wane, he remained steadfast in his dedication to his team’s success.


It wasn’t until the board took notice of the declining performance that they called upon outside help. Tasked with working alongside the team manager, we quickly realised the depth of his character and the true essence of his leadership.


Reflecting on his personality traits, it seemed rather likely that the team manager embodies the ISFJ personality type according to the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). Known as “The Defender,” ISFJs are characterised by their warmth, empathy, and dedication to helping others. They often excel in supportive roles, quietly working behind the scenes to ensure the well-being of those around them.


In our consultations, we advised him, among other aspects, to share his efforts more with his team. Typically Change is a challenge for this type of manager, but in light of the decreasing results of his team combined with the fact that his personal well-being started to suffer because of his sense of duty which led more and more to self-criticism when faced with stress, we gave him not just the tools, but above all the Safe Space, to gradually set more boundaries, not fear constructive conflict and be more outspoken about his efforts towards his team, allowing him to find a healthier balance, even a positive dynamic between the demands of the job and his supportive nature in dealing with his team.


It’s imperative for managers to communicate their concessions and efforts explicitly to their teams. While humility is a virtue, it’s essential to ensure that the team understands and appreciates the lengths to which managers go to support them. By openly acknowledging these efforts, managers foster a culture of appreciation and mutual respect. This not only strengthens the bond between managers and team members but also cultivates a sense of gratitude and reciprocity within the team. Ultimately, transparent communication about managerial efforts creates a win-win situation where both managers and team members thrive.

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