Leading from any position

img courtesy kwod on sxc

Chris and I decided to create new characters and play through the first two Mass Effect games, this time making choices bearing in mind what we know about the last game in the series. We also wanted one last run through each to see some of the differences in plot that would come from making different choices.

Discussing which character class we’d be playing was an interesting study in our different approaches to life in general, and our different perspectives on leadership.

Chris traditionally takes the “runs in first guns blazing” approach. In a D&D context, that would be a “Defender” role. Draw as much fire as you can, and put a serious hurt on everything in your path. That’s definitely one approach to leadership.

On the other hand, I almost never take a role that involves me running in ahead of everyone else. My playing style tends to focus on healing and boosting (aka “buffing”) my teammates, while disabling or taking out opponents from a distance and occasionally taking over for the AI on my teammates and directing their actions from a position of clear visibility (which is often at the back of  the fight).

When talking about the kind of characters I like to play, Chris said “To me, that feels like sitting on the sidelines of your own game.” But I don’t sit passively on the sidelines. I’m taking a very active role–in fact, I’m usually paying as much attention to what’s happening with the other people on the team as what’s happening with my own character.

I think that in our culture particularly, we tend to associate “leadership” with “the guy up front.” In personality typing terms, we live in a very Three culture, and Threes tend to be highly visible.

I’m not saying that’s a bad leadership model–it works for many people.  I’m just saying it’s not the only leadership model.  Sometimes leadership is using your muscle (either literal muscle, or a vigorous personality) to break new ground, but sometimes it’s standing further back, and using your cognitive and strategic skills to find the best path forward for the whole team.

As a 4w5 personality type, my leadership strengths are primarily creative problem solving and strategy. I’ve got a flair for drama that means I can be up front and center if needed, but I work best directing and guiding things from a more behind the scenes vantage point, especially if it gives me additional time to think things through.  Chris is a 9w1 personality, but his security point (the energy he follows when he’s most secure and confident) is 3, so it’s probably natural that his inclination is to be more direct.

Do you consider yourself a leader? What is your leadership style? What are the advantages of how you approach a challenge?

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