Archetypes in Organizational Systems
Looking at your work team objectively isn’t always easy. In the work we do with teams and partnerships, I borrow a phrase from my colleagues at CTI and The Center for Right Relationships, “Nobody gets to be wrong, and everyone is right but only partially.” Being objective and taking a step back to look for patterns helps individuals and teams see the bigger picture and reveals what the system needs next to evolve and succeed.
The Veteran looks at situations through the lens of “how it’s always been”. They are experienced in their fields and have first hand experiences of what works and what doesn’t. They have a tendency to be overly cautious and somewhat resistant to change. They can develop a fear of failure and tell themselves things like “I’ll never let that happen to me again.” The Veteran can be a wealth of knowledge and experience, but with a cynical view of the future.
The Warrior is a competitive professional who is inspired by challenges. Their mission is to excel, amaze, and above all, win. They work longer and harder, if necessary, to be the top performer in their field. This can sometimes be challenging in team situations when the spirit of competition outweighs the spirit of collaboration. The Warrior sometimes has difficulty in discerning between “battles to fight” and “opportunities for growth”.
The Healer has a passion to serve others and maintain harmony within the workplace. This person is highly empathic and considerate to others’ feelings. They often volunteer to help on projects and mediate conflict between co-workers. This person believes in the power of acknowledgement and team work. Sometimes the Healer can put the needs of individuals and social amity before the needs of projects and even themselves.
Gamblers are risk-takers who play by their own rules and approach business with a sense of adventure. This person is excited by new opportunities, follows hunches, and has a strong belief in the power of his or her own intuition, even in the face of doubt. Gamblers are always on the look out for lucky breaks and unnoticed angles. They are often impatient, looking for big gains in a short time with a minimum amount of effort.
The Statistician is a methodical thinker, who relies heavily on weighing facts and figures before making decisions. This person is highly focused on the details of the task at hand and in safeguarding against possible obstacles. Sometimes, however, Statisticians suffer from “paralysis by analysis”. They get so caught up in a thorough evaluation of a situation, that they are unable to make decisions in a timely manner.
The Dominant believes that whenever you truly set your mind on your goals, you will eventually get everything you need and desire. As a result of this belief, Dominants have a great need to control every aspect of their business or department, from people to events and circumstances. Despite (or because of) their intense drive, they often feel they are losing control; which, (since they usually spread themselves too thin) they often are. Delegation and trust can be difficult for Dominants.
The Submissive is a natural introvert. This person prefers to follow direction, work quietly, and blend in. Submissives thrive in structured environments and routine, and focus well on their individual tasks. They struggle when asked to think or work “outside the box”, and sometimes their reluctance to speak up can harm their personal interests. These people prefer to be team members rather than leaders and usually are the first to acquiesce in conflict situations or open negotiations.