Everybody we meet has their own learning style. Understanding these styles is key to effective team leadership. Two of the most fascinating learning styles you're likely to see are Laser Thinkers (Auditory/Sequential Learners) and Starburst Thinkers (Visual/Spatial Learners).

LASER THINKERS prefer to pick a target and move straight toward it. They love using goals and benchmarks to stay on target. Staying on target is the whole point. With new projects, their first question will be, "Where are we going and how are we getting there?" They focus on the sequence of steps between them and their goal, then do everything in their power to get through that sequence as quickly as possible. They're extremely well organized, efficient, and effective, moving rapidly through any sequence of goals and benchmarks you happen to give them.

Ask a Laser Thinker to climb a mountain and they look for the shortest route. Their first instinct is to walk toward the mountain, make a checklist, gather supplies, double check their directions and get started. Now!

They pick a plan and stick to it. They will time the ascent, create benchmarks along the route, and make sure everything stays on schedule.

Their concerns will revolve around speed and efficiency. Their insights will tend to generate a relentless growth curve. The growth is constant and predictable. How can we move more quickly, better track our benchmarks, duplicate our efforts even faster next time.

SUNBURST THINKERS have thoughts running in multiple directions at once. They love to step back and consider options. They must understand the concept or purpose in order to have any focus. With new projects, their first question will be, "Where are we going and why do we need to get there?" If they don't understand the concept, benchmarks and goals appear meaningless. They're extremely curious, questioning, and innovative, stopping to understand the purpose of every goal and considering alternatives, sometimes considering relationships between completely unrelated tasks. Considering these relationships takes time and is inefficient. It also is key to innovation.

Ask a Sunburst Thinker to climb a mountain and their first instinct is to step back, get a view of the top, consider alternate paths, then ask "and why do we need to get there?" They move less efficiently than Laser Thinkers. They will happily leave the path, hacking their way into the wilderness. Leaving all progress behind. But are also more likely to see new possibilities when their thought bursts sideways to combine ideas that may not appear to fit together right away. 

They will ignore goals and benchmarks until they understand the purpose of the climb.

Their concerns will revolve around purpose and alternatives. Is there an easier way to reach the top? What's up there? What do we gain by going up? Is there an easier way to achieve the same end result, or is the intended result even worthwhile?

The secret is to recognize your own strength, and the strengths of those around you. For you bring so much to the table. And by understanding your strengths, you can know how to balance yourself out. Find partners, employees and team members who bring skills opposite yours in ways that up your own game.

Once you know what you've got, you can see how to multiply it. And this is how you become bigger than your self. This is how you become even bigger than life.