Nicole Smart13 March 2022


The year 2022 brings along the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese zodiac. These fearless and passionate Tigers are respected and revered by friends and foes alike. However, although courageous, the Tiger can also be impatient, restless, and autocratic.

So what embodies the typical Tiger leadership style? What are the characteristics of the Tiger manager?

"One of the primary leadership characteristics typical of a tiger personality is effective crisis management. They have a definitive and unwavering mind, which works very effectively in driving change and mitigating crisis. Moreover, they are often incredibly proactive and are almost always ready to tackle new challenges.

A Tiger leader's natural ability to dominate can often override logical thinking and they can benefit from and enhance their leadership agility by activating their rationale to override their instinct to 'attack.'

It is important to note that dominance does not always equal power, especially at a time when (globally), teams are evolving rapidly, and employees are increasingly seeking acknowledgment, recognition, validation and a 'voice'.

An autocratic leadership style is very effective in crisis management mode, however, it can contribute to decreased employee motivation and engagement and it is often known to develop a polarized team culture, depending on the circumstances and context.

Developing one's Emotional Intelligence competencies such as: self and social awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and relationship management results in the co-creation of teamship intelligence and raising the wisdom of the collective.

Remember that being adaptable does not mean compromising one's principles, faith, culture, or ethics. It is about our ability to be agile when dealing with different personality frameworks in the context in which we are communicating and operating within the workplace.

Ultimately, People Drive Organizations. As long as we are dealing with another human being, we are dealing with energy in motion—EMOTION."

The reality is that the world is in a constant state of flux, and a person's attributes are rarely cast in stone. Leaders (and followers alike, for that matter) are continually inundated with challenges, some of which are unprecedented challenges born of our unique circumstances that have come to be known as the 'new normal.' In these emotionally charged times, skills and strategies for crisis management are necessary.

So whether we are dealing with someone with a Tiger leadership style or grooming Rabbit or Dragon Managers, remember that at their core is a human being's evolutionary instinct for preservation; take cover, retreat, or run away from crisis. What defines a leader is their ability to manage a crisis by exercising emotional intelligence (EI)—to inspire, lead, and motivate their team members amid chaos and turmoil.

In his book Working with Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman defines EI as "the capacity for recognising our feelings, and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and our relationships." Driving a critical message, Goleman posits that "Emotional competence is the main factor influencing success." 

EI equips leaders with unique skills to interpret, work with, or work around highly stressful situations. Emotionally intelligent leaders do not give in to an onslaught of emotions. Instead, they actively look for effective coping strategies for handling challenging, tricky, and even unprecedented situations.

Most importantly, a true leader develops actions and management mechanisms through a deep and consistent understanding of the organisation's goals. Doing this keeps her or him anchored—so when a crisis hits, he or she does not panic, deviate, or make decisions from a reactionary perspective.

"Crisis is temporary." That is the edict of a true leader—one who looks beyond the challenge and readdress goals with urgency, efficiency, and accurate decisions.

How does your organisation view a true leader? Are you equipped to optimise the potentials of and, consequently, empower the leaders in your team? Let us show you how!

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