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Chapter 18. Management by Type > Idealists Versus Realists

Idealists Versus Realists

Idealists visualize things or situations as they believe they should be rather than as they are. They are passionate in their beliefs and spend energy rallying those around them to see the vision and to work toward the goal. These people are usually optimistic and resilient, and they question and push. They are tenacious and sincere in their beliefs and they have a great deal of willpower. If they are also charismatic they can be leaders that ignite energies and offer a great deal of purpose and meaning to the employees. Idealists stretch boundaries and bend rules, with integrity, to expand minds and achieve results along the way. Idealists don’t understand the word “no” and go for the best possible scenario rather than just an outcome that is good enough. They can be a nuisance to constituents who are not like them, and they might feel very constricted working for a realist manager. The idealist is motivated by a vision of the greater win, is usually inclusive, and understands that success on the larger scale will mean success for him or her as well. Entrepreneurs are often idealists: Think of Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com or Bill Gates of Microsoft. Change agents are often idealists.

The realist sees things as they are, or as they believe the rules dictate. Realists might understand the benefits of a new action or goal, but they can also see the hurdles. Realists are more likely to avoid assignments or take on new projects if they believe they will be politically, or otherwise, difficult to execute.


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