Tough New-Yorker No Nonsense Style

“Believe That
There Are No Limitations, No Barriers to Your Success – You Will Be Empowered
and You Will Achieve.”


 Angela Burns, could represent The Achiever Communication style, in my series about Women Speakers


 January, with  Meg Whitman, The laser Light with a Big Smile, illustrating the Persuader Communication Style,

Evans, gail


February, with Gail Evans, with Play like a Man, Win like a Woman, for the Pioneer communication style.

If you're curious  about the 12 Communication
styles, please read my latest post the SPM Profiling Tool Innovative, Cross-cultural and 21st century ready.

  • What are the Key characteristics of The Achiever Style?

Achievers bring to their organisations a determination to achieve and an effective, focused and fast-paced working style.

Sensitive to concrete results, Achievers are more comfortable with concise and factual information rather than too much detail.

Assertive and direct, they can become blunt and impatient under stress.

(from the Spony Profiling Model Feedback Guide)

  • What are the Key characteristics of the opposite style, The facilitator?

Facilitators are viewed as friendly, spending time seeking agreement and consensus.

Good at listening, they are sometimes seen to be too dependent on other people's opinions, or lacking effectiveness.

They communicate with enthusiasm, show empathy, maintain eye contact, are expressive, understanding. Under stress, they can become emotional and irrational.

  • Why is Ursula Burns best to represent The  dilemna between
    Achiever and Facilitation Communication Style?

Hard-charging and blunt, Burns admitted to letting my big
mouth drive the discussion
and conceded, “Patience is not one of my

 She has never been shy about speaking her mind.

Some people gave her sound advices:

At Xerox, one of her mentors, Mr Hicks advised her to "make people feel comfortable by listening carefully, not to intimidate them!" (communicating more as a "Facilitator")

Her best mentor and coach, after her mother, is of course Ann Calaway, former CEO of Xerox. Ann Callaway said: "You have to develop more of a poker face because people will watch you for everything."

"On my face, you could tell everything in 30 seconds. You could tell exasperation. You could tell fed-up-ness."

Ursula Burns listened to her mentors, but not to people who told her to adjust her speaking style. People told her that it was "too New York"- too fast, too informal.

“What I realized was I have to know my content and know what I
want to say, and be significantly less concerned about how I say it,” she says.

  • What's in it for YOU?

If you identify with the Achiever's style of communication and leadership:

Be cautious about not becoming too blunt or impatient.

Ask for feedback.

Find yourself a mentor and listen to her, to him.

Observe leaders around you who display more the characteristics of the Facilitator style and see what you can learn from them.

Learn to listen

Express empathy

and let go of the pressure for results, once in a while…

It's one of the 6 dilemna, coping both with a desire to achieve results and expressing consideration for others.

Burnsdepan I'm feeling terribly shy to pretend to give any advice to this awesome woman…

What can be said for Her?

In her speeches to students, like at Syracuse University , Ursula Burns could have been less serious,more engaging and have had an even greater impact.

She could improve simply by smiling more and making eye
contact,(just like in the great smiling picture on the right!), staying less time on her notes, and more often with the audience. Notice how her face becomes animated and her eyes sparkle
when she answers questions or tells us a story.
She would also express a little more of who she is, communicating her formidable generosity and gift of giving.

So I would tell her to be even more of herself!

Tough New-Yorker No Nonsense Style!!!


“I can’t try to say it in
somebody else’s voice. I have to say it in my voice.” Angela Burns


I believe in the power of examples and picked 12 famous women
leaders, from different cultures, to illustrate each style of
communication and leadership.These conclusions are based on my
observations, perceptions and interpretations, since these women have
not yet taken the SPM questionnaire.

4 thoughts

  1. Very useful example of this type of communicator. While her accomplishments are very admirable, the shortcomings of this style are definitely worth taking note of. Particularly with a changing world with globalization and organizational structure changes from a hierarchical to more team or circular structures. I could see this style working well in a corporate or hierarchical environment but less desirable in certain cultures or shared leadership environments if one does not take notice of the points of caution that you listed. I am know of Hofstede’s, Schwartz’s, Project G.L.O.B.E., but from your posts I am intrigued to learn more about SPM…
    Great Post,

  2. Re: TypePad: [Geronimo Leadership Coaching ] submitted a comment on "Tough New-Yorker No Nonsense Style"
    Thank you Dale for this very judicious comment. Taking into account the international context and organizational “shape” is crucial. Thanks for the reminder. About getting to know the SPM profile better, I can only encourage you to follow this blog and get in touch with me if you need any advice! 🙂
    Actively gathering new data to collect as much international profiles as I can. Until now, it has been mainly representative of the North American style of leadership and communication. Watch, you will discover leaders from Russia, Spain, South Korea and France!

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