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Archetypes: The Key to Unlocking Leadership Potential

Archetypes: The Key to Unlocking Leadership Potential

[Critical Path 3 of 6]
Leadership Development is the third of 6 Critical Paths for Culture Success. We’ve been exploring key business strategies that can achieve stronger outcomes with Archetypes.

Leadership: It Starts with Self-Awareness

Leaders are looking to get the best out of individuals and teams, but to do so they must first get the best out of themselves. We just completed a series of LinkedIn LIVES with seasoned executive coaches and consultants, talking about how Archetypes catapult leaders to new levels. Read on for key insights from our conversations.

Becoming a better leader begins by understanding what kind of leader you are – both your innate skills (why others rely on you) AND shadow behaviors that operate on an unconscious level and impede your potential. 

At a foundational level, Archetypes help leaders understand who they are, what motivates them, and what beliefs and behaviors may be getting in their way.

CultureTalk Co-Founders Cynthia Forstmann and Theresa Agresta discussed how the Archetype framework can be used to develop self-awareness in leaders. Watch or read the highlights below. 

  • An Archetypal profile is like a thumbprint. Two people might share some of the same patterns, but those swirls and whorls manifest in unique ways and combine to form a picture that’s entirely individual. The ability to see oneself and one’s team as nuanced, complex human beings is critical to understanding how to support everyone on the team and how to allow them to shine.

  • Self-Awareness develops over time. In working with leaders through the language of Archetype we’ve found that, while Archetypes often unlock immediate “ahas!”, their impact deepens as you sit with them, and your understanding evolves as you layer on new experiences and hold them to the lens.

  • As a leader, an Archetypal profile may draw out what your team unconsciously understands and expects from you, but you then must ask if those patterns support where you’re going. The shift may look like moving out of a shadow expression of an Archetype into a strength, adjusting which Archetypes you lean into when, or awakening and developing a latent Archetype. The framework is flexible, offering many paths to growing and evolving.

“Even if two leaders score high on the same Archetype, their stories are different and their storylines are different. So, now they're showing up wholly and uniquely as themselves."

| Cynthia Forstmann, CultureTalk Co-Founder

Leading Through Hard Conversations

Even the best leaders get stuck. Pressure to move strategies forward fast can get in the way of effective leadership and create tension, resistance, and rebellion within teams. 

CultureTalk Partner Karen Carey joined us to explore common challenges of fast-moving leaders, including making assumptions and taking things personally.  Hear how Karen incorporates CultureTalk’s assessments to open leaders to difficult conversations and authentic listening. 

Watch or read the highlights below.

  • Moving into new, innovative ways of doing business and accomplishing great things gets hard if you’re not able to cross the threshold and have difficult conversations. Whether you acknowledge it or not, there in an undercurrent at play in your organization, things that go unsaid, attitudes that influence how things get done. When someone is brave enough to say, “There’s something we need to uncover” the real magic can begin. The Archetype framework is very helpful for naming, “What is going here?”

  • Where there are gaps in our information about others, we tend to use our own experience to fill in the blanks. Not everyone is like you — working with Archetype can illuminate that, without putting people into boxes one might be tempted to file. Rather, a story-based framework brings nuance and depth.

  • When an organization gets to a place where they are ready to confront some shadows, there can be a tendency to bite off too much too fast. It’s critical to strike a healthy balance between maintaining harmony and challenging the things that are not working for us.

“I fall in love with leaders because they know that they pay the consequence if the place falls apart.”

| Karen Carey, Co-Founder Morgan Carey Co CultureTalk Certified Partner

Leading Transformation Through Personal Growth

To make way for real, purposeful change, leaders must clear the path. This means taking stock and ownership of their own leadership style and behaviors.

On this LinkedIn LIVE we were joined by CultureTalk Partner Tabitha Scott, who shared why and how leaders need to do their own personal-growth work to lead changes in their business.

Watch or read the highlights below.

  • Teams get to know one another on a whole new level when working with Archetypes, gaining a richer and more holistic perspective on the people they work with every day. The framework of Archetype gives people a language in which to tell their stories. Leaders learn how their team is wired, what their preferences are, and what motivates and moves them, inside and outside of work.

  • “Leader” can be defined in many ways. It’s not just the people that sit in the C suite. It’s also the people that are specialists, that are programmers or technology experts, subject matter experts, It’s individuals. We are all leaders in one way or another. When thinking of leaders, it’s also pertinent to ask, “How am I leading myself?”

  • Culture transformation is a journey. We needed to know where we are starting and where we are going. Creating a shift requires touching people on an emotional level. The sometimes ‘touchy-feely” stuff is how you get people to connect with the goals on paper, to internalize and to own their part in it. Because, at the end of the day, it’s individuals who spark and spread change.

“You can never, ever finish the work. There's always more work. On yourself. On myself. I will never run out of things to improve or work on or dive into.”

| Tabitha Scott, Epic Pivot, CultureTalk Certified Partner

Activating Archetypes to Shift Your Leadership Style

All leaders face challenging situations, tough decisions, and employees they find difficult. While leaning into the strengths of your leadership style is one approach, unconscious beliefs and behaviors may still be impeding your success.

CultureTalk Partner Robin Miller joined us to discuss where to go when leaders need new ways to navigate and how activating under-utilized Archetype energies can help leaders grow in new ways.

Watch or read the highlights below.

  • Typically, in leadership development, we focus on developing our top-scoring patterns. Culture Talk Partner and ARTiculate Real + Clear co-founder Robin Miller finds there is also value in looking at our latent pattern. The Archetypes are universal, human storylines — some may be more comfortable for us than others, but we have access to all 12 Archetypes. Sometimes that Archetype you feel resistance to is the right man for a job.

  • Some of the qualities that help leaders to be effective in the delegating and decision-making part of their role might get in the way when it comes to connecting with the team. Drawing on a different Archetype can help bridge the gap.

  • Leaders may feel uncomfortable stepping into certain Archetypes that are less obviously associated with the traits we expect leaders to have. For example, a leader may score high on Jester and feel at home accessing Jester energy in their personal lives but put that part of themselves aside at work. In doing so, the sacrifice the Jester’s ability to lift the spirits of a team. Coaches can work with leaders to find the right expression of that Archetype, from which there is much to be gained.

“I want to give a challenge to leaders and to organizations: Embrace your giftedness, but also ask where do my gifts also get in my way?”

| Robin Miller, Co-Founder ARTiculate Real + Clear, CultureTalk Certified Partner

Are you looking for new tools for working with leaders? Learn more about CultureTalk Certification and how you can bring these tools into your organization or practice.

Read more about CultureTalk for Leadership Development.