Leadership Archetype Questionnaire

The Leadership Archetype Questionnaire

(Abridged Version)

To assist you in understanding the process of what your own dominant

leadership behaviors might be, this questionnaire provides 360°, or multirater, feedback about your leadership. The Leadership Archetype

Questionnaire (LAQ), Abridged Version, comprises 8 items that assess 8

archetypes: the strategist, the change catalyst, the transactor, the builder,

the innovator, the processor, the coach, and the communicator. The results

you obtain on this questionnaire will provide you with information on what

your own leadership archetype may be.

Note: Another recommendation is to get other members of your team to

complete the questionnaire for themselves so that you can map out your team

constellation to see how balanced your team is, or if there are areas that are


Instructions: This questionnaire contains items that assess different dimensions

of your leadership and will be completed by you and others who know you

(coworkers, friends, members of a group you belong to).

1. Make five copies of this questionnaire.

2. Self-assessment: Fill out the assessment about yourself.

3. For the 360° feedback, have each individual answer the same questions

about you. It is insightful to see how other people perceive you; their perceptions also influence the way they deal and interact with you.

Study the following statements and mark the ones that you think are true for

you. Select more than one if appropriate.

1. I have great strategic sense.

2. I take on the role of deal maker, always prepared to make propositions

about new business deals.

3. I am highly experienced at turning around difficult situations.

4. I suggest entrepreneurial ways of developing the business.

5. I come up with a number of new product or process innovations.

6. I promote and monitor structures, systems, and tasks.

7. I am very interested in devising creative ways to develop people.

8. I take on the role of communicator in my organizations.

Leadership Archetype Questionnaire Chapter 12 Psychodynamic Approach 319

Leadership Archetype Questionnaire

Scoring Interpretation

Each statement corresponds to one of the following leadership archetypes:

1. The Strategist—Leadership as a game of chess

2. The Change Catalyst—Leadership as a turnaround activity

3. The Transactor—Leadership as deal making

4. The Builder—Leadership as entrepreneurial activity

5. The Innovator—Leadership as creative idea generation

6. The Processor—Leadership as an exercise in efficiency

7. The Coach—Leadership as people development

8. The Communicator—Leadership as stage management

1. The Strategist

Strategists are good at dealing with developments in the organization’s environment. They provide vision, strategic direction, and outside-the-box thinking

to create new organizational forms and generate future growth. They can see

the big picture, anticipate future developments, and respond quickly to

change. Although strategists have a talent for aligning vision with strategy,

they are not always good at taking the next step—aligning strategy with values

and behavior. They prefer to ignore “soft” issues and avoid conflict, focusing

instead on facts, figures, and abstract scenarios. To compensate for this deficiency, strategists often join forces with coaches. Strategists are often not good

communicators. Their followers may not always fully understand what they are

trying to do or what message they are trying to get across. Because they are

preoccupied with the big picture, strategists may ignore some of the “micro”

issues that warrant attention to keep organizational processes on track. In

these instances, processors and communicators can be very helpful to them.

2. The Change Catalyst

Change catalysts function best in the integration of organizational cultures

after a merger or acquisition or when spearheading reengineering or turnaround projects. They are also excellent at managing rapidly growing organizational units and recognizing opportunities for organizational

transformation. Change catalysts are implementation driven and very good

at selecting talent to get the task done. Unlike strategists, they have the talent

to align vision, strategy, and behavior. They are both outcome and process

oriented. The flip side is that change catalysts can quickly become bored in

320 Leadership Theory and Practice

stable situations and are not suited to participating in small, incremental

change efforts. Many operate on a short-term timeline, and need to see immediate results. If no challenging assignment is available, these leaders may try

to create one (sometimes for the wrong reasons). Although many change

catalysts have a talent for people management, there will be times when their

sense of urgency may override their sensitivity to people and make them poor

communicators. Change catalysts also tend to have a starkly black-and-white

view of what is right or wrong. Thus, they are not always politically sensitive

enough to handle complex organizational problems. What they see as innocent actions can have disastrous consequences. Some of these problems can

be avoided, however, if they team up with coaches.

3. The Transactor

Transactors like making acquisitions or other deals. Extremely dynamic and

enthusiastic, they thrive on new challenges and negotiations. They like novelty,

adventure, and exploration, and have high risk tolerance.

Proactive in welcoming change and instinctive networkers, transactors know

how to lobby inside and outside the organization to get their point of view

across. They are outcome oriented but not as effective at processes. Like

change catalysts, transactors can become very restless if they do not have

enough stimulation. As a result, they can be seduced by the excitement of

mergers and takeovers. Once they get going, there is no holding them back,

and they can take other people on a very risky journey. After they pull off a

deal, however, transactors lose interest in taking the project to the next

phase. Their impatience with structures, processes, and systems means that

they are poor at organization building. Their sometimes mercurial temperaments can also create very stressful situations. Being good deal makers and

negotiators, they are frequently hard to read—an asset in negotiation, which

can confuse collaborators. They need others, such as strategists, processors,

and coaches, to compensate for their limitations.

Leadership Archetype Questionnaire

4. The Builder

Builders enjoy starting and building their own organizations or setting up

“skunkworks” and other entrepreneurial ventures inside a large organization.

They have a powerful need for independence and to be in control. They also

have the talent to make their dreams come true: They possess an enormous

amount of energy, drive, dynamism, and enterprise. Builders are creative,

decisive, focused, single-minded, and persevering, and have a great capacity

to deal with setbacks. They also have a high, but calculated, propensity to take

Chapter 12 Psychodynamic Approach 321

risks, and they are quick to adapt when they see opportunities. They know

how to get other people to produce results. Builders have to be at the center

of things, however. They tend to have little regard for authority and great

difficulties with delegation. Although a builder’s leadership can be inspirational, poor communication and a culture of domination and control can

contribute to dysfunctional decision making. Builders need others, such as

processors and coaches, to be their sparring partners.

5. The Innovator

Extremely curious, innovators want to learn more about anything and everything that grabs their attention. Their passion for learning new things and their

insatiable search for knowledge can be a source of inspiration to others.

Innovators are the most reluctant of all the leadership archetypes to do things

in a particular way simply because that is how things have always been done.

Because of this innovative mind-set, they can bring fresh, new approaches to

their organizations. More politically astute innovators can be good at managing

innovative projects, if not hampered by routine. Starting in childhood, innovators tend to be introverts, stimulated by thoughts and ideas rather than people

and things. Adept at logic and reason, they typically lack the usual social graces

and may not always express their feelings appropriately. They are poor social

sensors, unskilled at decoding body language, sensing others’ feelings, or recognizing hidden agendas, thus making a rather “nerdy” impression. Moreover,

innovators’ driven way of working means that they have trouble conforming to

organizational norms and may be treated as outsiders. In going their own way,

they may lose sight of the financial realities and limitations, thus endangering

the viability of the organization.

6. The Processor

Processors like to create order out of disorder and are adept at helping organizations make an effective transition from an entrepreneurial to a more professionally managed stage. Talented at setting boundaries and at creating the

structures and systems necessary to support the organization’s objectives, they

have a systemic, practical outlook and dislike unstructured situations. They are

good at time management, very conscientious, reliable, and efficient, able to

keep a cool head in stressful situations. As team players, they have a very

positive attitude toward authority and are committed corporate citizens.

Because they tend to be adaptable and collaborative, processors complement

most other leadership styles and thus play an important role in any executive

role constellation. Sometimes, however, a processor’s need for order, systems,

Leadership Archetype Questionnaire 322 Leadership Theory and Practice

and rules can shade into stubbornness and inflexibility, so these leaders can

be slow to respond to new opportunities or even hinder them. They tend to

lack imagination, flexibility, and spontaneity. Their inflexibility can create

people-management problems. Not only will it be helpful for processors to be

paired up with coaches, but strategists or innovators can also help to bring in

an element of out-of-the-box thinking.

7. The Coach

Coaches are very good at instituting culture change projects to address

organizational alienation and loss of trust. They are exceptional people

developers who possess empathy, are extremely good listeners, and have

high emotional intelligence. With their positive, constructive outlook on

life, they inspire confidence and trust. Great communicators and motivators, coaches are excellent at handling difficult interpersonal and group

situations and at giving constructive feedback. They create high-performance teams and high-performance cultures. They are great believers in

participatory management and know how to delegate. The downside is

that their sensitivity to others’ feelings can make them overly careful when

giving feedback: They may find it hard to be tough when needed, and they

may shy away from dealing with difficult underperformance and personal

issues. In crisis situations, some coaches may be slow to act or may procrastinate about important issues, a danger when speed is a competitive advantage. Given the organizational context, teaming coaches with executives

who possess other archetypes can be highly effective.

Leadership Archetype Questionnaire

8. The Communicator

With their ability to express a vision strongly and powerfully, communicators

can inspire people at all levels. They are good at projecting optimism in times

of adversity or crisis and are strongly influential with the various constituencies in the organization. Possessing impressive theatrical skills and great

presence, communicators are very effective in building alliances and enlisting the support of other people. However, a communicator’s preference for

looking at the big picture, rather than dealing with details, means that these

leaders need others, such as strategists and processors, to make their dreams

become reality. Communicators can also appear to operate on the surface:

When it’s time to deliver, very little happens, and everything they have been

saying can seem like empty rhetoric. Expert in looking out for number one,

they are not averse to obtaining excessive perks and other benefits for themselves. They sometimes latch on to others for support and even take credit

for other people’s achievements, a self-serving style that can contribute to

Leadership Archetype Questionnaire Chapter 12 Psychodynamic Approach 323

organizational disintegration. In their drive to acquire the symbols of power,

they will tolerate warfare between internal fiefdoms in the organization.

As in the case of coaches, when balanced with other archetypes, communicators can play an essential role in many role constellations.

When interpreting the Leadership Archetype Questionnaire results, keep

this in mind:

•             The results are based on your own (and your observers’) perceptions at

a single point in time. Though the responses certainly reflect longstanding behavioral characteristics, situational factors can have considerable influence.

•             Most of us—and most effective leaders—can be slotted into more than

one archetype. Archetype identifications change as our life changes.

Assessing where and what we are is not a static, one-off, operation.

•             Furthermore, it is a rare leader who can fulfill all the roles seamlessly.

Successful organizations are characterized by a distributive, collective,

complementary form of leadership.

•             Finally, people are much more complex than the scores shown on the

LAQ (or any other instrument). What the LAQ attempts to do is capture

some of that complexity and illuminate basic elements of your behavior.

The results are jumping-off points for self-examination and discussion.




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