Meditations on Archetypal Leadership

Having served as Head of Planning and Managing Director for different sized agencies--I have run into my share of CEO's and owners. Some of them have been great, while others have just been plain old hard to bring around. Here's a fun snapshot of the four types of leaders I've encountered, presented a little differently.  Mind you, this isn't meant to comprise a sort of new management corpus--it's just a bit of weekend fun. I'll go back to be strategic and serious on Monday--I promise. 

The Bull

The Bull is hard-driving, aggressively-minded and ambitious. The Bull is often misunderstood in the workplace as domineering, forceful or yes, can even be abusive--but in fact,  if treated with kindness and respect you will find an extremely hard-working and loyal character beneath the tough exterior. Make sure you make time to be human, kind-hearted and gentle with the bull and you might be surprised. Bulls can take on massive loads of work, and will do it without complaint, (some until they are broken, so don't overwork them). Best to put the Bull in a pasture, give him space and he will do just fine. That means bull will want to be left alone to get things done--a lot. If you pen him in, challenge him, or god forbid--tease him with politics or bullshit, and you might very well get the horns. That's just Bull's way. Bulls do not bluff, and when they are on a rampage--best avoided. None of this excuses Bull's behavior--a Bull is the most in need of tempering, calming and space. Be careful though-to assume Bull is just about brute strength is a mistake, Bulls are hard-working and dedicated to success and promulgating your business culture. Cultivate soft powers with Bull and you will find they can be gentle as...

The Lamb

Docile, simple and straight-forward the lamb doesn't play games, or at least doesn't think she does.  Lambs will often stay quiet right when she needs to speak up most. This gets our poor lamb friend in trouble when she hasn't spoken up and gets passed over, or fleeced again. Then lamb get's pouty and needs a nap. The lamb stays late, works too many hours, and complains quietly about life and the attending chronic illness or low blood sugar that comes with this temperament--which she might very well have--but often is too timid or shy to do anything about it. Make sure you help lamb take care of lamb. Help them with schedules, remind them to take care of their health. Don't let a lamb sit at their desk and eat lunch. Get them out, into the air, and into friendships. Lambs need harmony, companionship and belonging. Lambs naturally follow the herd-they are terrific team-players and actually pretty good low-key leaders who need will naturally build consensus and civility. Lambs are perfect for running the business that needs a steady, gentle hand and a good deal of mentoring. Just don't let them "bahhh" you to death. : ) 

The Peacock

Here comes a Peacock! The Peacock likes the limelight, loves the hustle and  makes friends easily. Peacock is your biz-dev pro or sales lead executive. Peacock can naturally work any room, drum up business out of a casual conversation, move people to action and cause trouble--sometimes at the same time. Peacock often doesn't realize their colors attract sometimes too much attention and maybe a bit less is needed. Boundaries are the key to managing a Peacock. Let them know you see them, appreciate them, and need them--but that they are not the only show in the room. Peacock might make an excellent mentor friend to our lovely little Lamb--who will enjoy a little of that spotlight that follows Peacock around. Make sure Peacock has autonomy and their own projects. Preferably, Peacock will do well to lead a small tactical to team. Peacocks are fun--but can wear you out and steal the show for sure if not kept in check.  Peacocks will bring in business and be the life of the office party. 

The Owl

Owl sees and hears everything--and because of it thinks they might very wellknow everything too. Owl is introverted, astute, analytical, process-orientated but can be easily scared off.  An owl is also predatory. They are inclined to hunt at night, and be scarce during the day. In other words, owls are by nature secretive and strategic--they will do their thinking long before their doing. Owls are quite good leaders from a tactical standpoint. They will get things done fast and quietly without fuss. They do not lack perspective--but are not terribly adept  at dealing with anyone besides other owls, so you can expect an owl will have one or two confidantes that they stick with.  Remember, an owl will keep secrets, avoid meetings that go on for too long and might be downright political. Careful not to offend Owl's sensibilities or they will certainly fly away. Owls need set meetings, agendas and processes that suit their need for order and quiet progress.  When given consideration and calm, owls can are conscientious and loyal. 

Which one are you? 

Louis D. Lo PraesteComment