Leader Archetype #1: The Reformer

Leader Archetype #1: The Reformer

September 25, 2018 Enneagram 0

One of the best examples from television of a Leadership Archetype #1 is that of Lady Isobel Crawley from Downton Abbey. Lady Crawley maintains a deep commitment to her values, rights the wrongs around her, and expects others to hold to the same standards she has set for herself. Unfortunately for her, not everyone plays by the same rules. In fact, though she is a true advocate for the downcast, she can also be insufferable to those around her, particularly her frenemy, the Dowager Countess, Lady Violet.  Lady Violet Grantham calls out Lady Crawley’s idealism when she asks her, “Does it ever get cold on the moral high ground?” 

Being right, righteous, values-driven, morally upright, above reproach, and maintaining the highest integrity are all descriptors of this archetype. (No one has really ever accused me of any of these so I can safely say I am not a One.) Once they are given a purpose, a higher calling to right a wrong, One’s can be the fiercest, bravest, and most effective leaders by example (see: Ghandi.) 

On the other hand, Reformers love rules and can get stuck in thought loops that accuse them of not following those rules perfectly. Although rules offer a great deal of security for those who follow them, accusations of failure are sure to follow (see: the Israelites 3 months after given the 10 commandments for which they begged.) One’s are hard on others, but no harder than they are on themselves. Whatever criticisms they dish out, you can be sure they are feeling equally (if not more) condemned. In fact, One’s hold most criticism inside for fear that their  critiques are wrong, sending them into a silent spiral of anger, self-doubt, resentment, and, if not checked by reality, boiling rage. 

Although rules offer a great deal of security for those who follow them, accusations of failure are sure to follow Click To Tweet

An invitation for Ones

It’s okay to make mistakes.

5 steps Ones can Take to Become Better Leaders

  1. Let others make mistakes. You don’t have to be right all the time, nor do you need to make sure others are doing the right things or doing them right way. You may be surprised that the “mistakes” are actually not mistakes at all but rather a choice of priority.
  2. Try to see the gray. Life is rarely as clear cut as you may need it to be. Try to enjoy the gray-ness of it all. Think of it less as an indictment and more of an invitation to play in the field of options rather than choosing one path or the other to walk.
  3. Be kind to yourself. Your lack of compassion for yourself comes out as lack of compassion for others. Be patient with the process of your own growth, offer self-care to the parts of you that are weary, and empathathize with your own weaknesses. It’s okay if you get this wrong. Don’t beat yourself up about not being kind to yourself enough!
  4. Accept “good enough.” At the very least choose excellence over perfection. Perfection isn’t possible. Excellence is. Good enough is sometimes good enough (like in parenting, doing the dishes, and roller skating.)
  5. Make friends with your anger. You get mad when others can’t get their acts together, but then you get mad at yourself for getting mad at yourself. It’s a viscous cycle that’s to stuffing your feelings, explosions of rage, and a shame spiral that exhausts those around you. Fester, fester, fester. Rot, rot, rot. Talk with your anger. Don’t judge it. Hear that voice out. Thank it for its high standard, then ask it to dance.

Conclusion

Instead of wearing your team out with criticism and unachievable expectations, accept the invitation to make mistakes. It’s okay. We’ll still love you. Your team and everyone who follows you definitely will, too.

Well-Known Reformers 

Elizabeth Warren, Jodie Foster, Nelson Mandela, Harry Truman, Saint Augustine, Michael Pollen, Wendell Berry, Maggie Smith (and her famous character The Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey), Gregory Peck (and his famous character Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.)

Further Developing Your Awareness

If the enneagram interests you, several sources are available for developing a deeper understanding of your type. Here are just a few we here at Leadership Reality love:  

Books

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Media

How to learn? From mistakes Ted Talk by Diana Laufenberg

An Ideal Husband

French Kiss

Think you might be a One?

Sign up to take the Enneagram Test with Leadership Reality and know for sure. If you’d like your team to hear an overview about the enneagram and how it can be used to improve their  leadership skills, consider at Lunch & Learn Enneagram Workshop for Your Team!  For either request, email us at lauren@leadershipreality.org.