Your Unique Leadership Stance

Aug 07, 2021

Do you ever find yourself evaluating your approach to certain aspects of your life? “Thinking – I’m going to do better!”

Whatever “it” is, it can be confusing where to seek guidance?

You could listen to TED talks, buy the latest self- improvement book, or find mentor. Seeking support and growth in areas that haven’t been working well is part of leading well in your own life.

But who do you listen to?

Where do you go for clear answers you can apply now?

I want my approach to life, my “stance” to be authentic with strength and meaning.

I don’t want to be a copy of somebody else.

You may have experience with a certain physical stance required in an athletic activity or with a musical instrument required to play well. You may have taken a “stance” on an issue or cause where you wanted to make a difference in the world and persuade others to see your perspective.

A stance is simply “a position or bearing of the body while standing; a mental or emotional position adopted with respect to something”. It is foundational. It is a core element in leading well in your own life and most definitely when leading others.

We each possess our own unique “stance”. It is the reference point we use in how we approach life situations, our work, and relationships with others. It guides how we conduct ourselves in all we do.

According to research conducted by Gallup ®, humans operate within four domains of concentrated talents or “strengths”.

Talents are naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied. When you’re aware of your talents and learn how to apply them to our daily lives, they become strengths. A strength is the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance in a specific activity. 

Gallup’s Strengths Domains are Strategic Thinking®, Executing®, Influencing®, and Relationship Building®.

The real power comes in when we name, claim, and aim our talents.

Our unique “stance” is powerful when we know what it is and how to use it for consistent positive results.

Let's look at each domain using the concept of a different leadership stance: The Captain, The Archer, The Sensei, or The Coach.

Which will your authentic stance be? The Captain (Strategic Thinking)? The Archer (Executing)? The Sensei (Influencing)? The Coach (Relationship Building)?

Once you know, you can lean into its power for greater success.


The Archer

The Archer gets things done - and with precision. When it is time for implementation, the Archer will work long hours to complete the job. They possess a keen ability to take hold of an idea and make it happen, which brings a great sense of achievement and purpose. They have a desire to stay busy working to produces results that matter. With the ability to organize, they often like to consider how to arrange things to achieve the best outcome. They feel a personal responsibility for all they take on; they are honest and loyal. They possess the ability to see a project through from beginning to end in a thoughtful and orderly and structured manner.

Archers have strong, immovable core values that give stability and purpose to their lives. They believe that we all have value and, as such, have a deep need for fairness and equality. They often structure their lives with consistent routines. Rules and procedures are to be followed. Stability is essential to their overall well-being. The Archer does not shy away from problems or conflict. It energizes them. They can see to the heart of an issue and find a way to positive resolution.

When the Archer is leading in the highest positive position of this unique stance, they are valued as trustworthy and reliable. They bring order to confusion. The ability to set precise, appropriate goals and timelines keeps things moving efficiently toward the desired objective. They seem to have the energy of ten people. They lead in a manner that values everyone's contribution as necessary as their own and sees that others are recognized. 

In their unique way, the Archer provides others with the trust, compassion, stability, and hope required to stay actively engaged and bringing their best to the team/project every day. They create a bond that is strong and dependable. When the next project or issue comes along, Archer's unique abilities put the entire team in the best position to hit the bullseye due to their stable, proven leadership stance. You can count on the Archer every time.

Do you recognize yourself as the Archer?


The Sensei 

The Sensei is a master at understanding and conveying ideas to others in meaningful ways.  They possess the ability to take charge, speak up, and make sure the group is heard through the power of influence.

The Sensei makes things happen by turning thoughts into action. They often have a “presence” when they enter a room. They are calmly confident to take control of a situation or to make decisions. The Sensei also communicates well by putting their thoughts into words those around them can relate to. Maximizing other people or a group's potential is of great importance. They take pride in transforming something great into something superb.

At the master level, the Sensei is confident in their ability to take risks and manage their own lives. They have an inner compass that gives them certainty in their decisions. They want to make a significant impact. They are often independent and prioritize projects based on the impact their work will have on their organization or those around them.

The Sensei loves having a positive influence on others. They derive satisfaction from breaking through the exterior and making a connection with someone. In their unique way, the Sensei provides trust, compassion, stability, and hope others require to stay actively engaged and bringing their best to the team/project every day. They bring calmness and safety, creating a strong bond. When the next project or issue comes along, the Sensei’s unique abilities put the entire team in the best position to conquer any problem due to their dependable guidance and proven leadership stance. You can count on the Sensei when the stakes are high.

Do you recognize yourself in the traits of the Sensei?

The Captain

The Captain keeps the team on course, especially when a rough current could set them adrift. They readily absorb and analyze information to help the team make better decisions. People with this stance continually stretch the team’s thinking for the future.

Always interested in reasons and causes when problem-solving, they think about all the factors that might affect a situation. The Captain spends time thinking about past successes and failures to always improve. They understand the present by researching its history.

The Captain is inspired by the possibilities found in the future. They are always scanning the horizon. They energize others with their vision and are fascinated by new ideas. They often find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena. At times they need to collect and archive. They may accumulate information, ideas, artifacts, or even relationships. They can be inclusive or selective in their gathering.

Faced with any given scenario, the Captain can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues. They are adept at finding alternative ways to reach the desired destination. In their unique stance, the Captain also provides trust, compassion, stability, and hope to teams and projects required to stay on the right course. Their direction and focus allow team members to thrive in their respective roles. The Captain’s unique abilities put the entire team in the best position to handle storms due to their adeptness at navigating the depths others find intimidating. You can count on the Captain when charting unknown waters.

Are you The Captain? 


The Coach

The Coach provides the glue that holds the team together. The Coach knows that no one can make it all alone and without optimizing each member’s unique strengths, the group is simply an ineffectual composite of individuals. Coaches have extraordinary relationship building talents which helps a group become much greater than the sum of its parts.

Coaches know how to adapt. They can go with the flow when it is required while maintaining forward momentum. They can take things as they come and are eager to discover new possibilities. Coaches recognize talent and cultivate that potential in those around them. They accurately spot even the smallest improvement and love to celebrate individual progress. Faith in the link among all things is a cornerstone. Coaches believe that almost every event has meaning. They rarely see things as mere coincidence.

Coaches can often sense how someone else is feeling. Sometimes they relate to people by imagining themselves in another’s shoes. They look for areas of agreement and while they don’t enjoy conflict, they will not sacrifice what is best for the entire team to avoid it. They find satisfaction in working hard with like-minded people. Coaches enjoy close relationships but not always with lots of people, sometimes just a tight circle.

Accepting of others, they are aware of those who may feel excluded from the group and make efforts to bring them into the fold. Coaches are interested in unique qualities of each person, how to best relate to them, and enjoy thinking about how different people can work together toward a common goal. Generally, positive, and upbeat their enthusiasm can be contagious. They have an ability to rally the team making the project more fun for everyone.

A highly developed Coach will put the talents of the entire team in position for the win while acknowledging the value of everyone’s contributions.


The Takeaway

Because our “stance” is so innate, so natural to our way of being in the world, it can sometimes be difficult to recognize it as a strength to can be maximized in achieving your goals or helping those around you.

Find ways to enhance your awareness and understanding of your authentic leadership style.

So, no matter which archetype you identify with – the Archer, the Sensei, the Captain, or the Coach, your stance brings everything to your life necessary to achieve your definition of success. 

Ask yourself, “What is my definition of success for my life?”

Your unique stance will not only help answer that question, it can take you there.


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