How can the archetypes support you in your leadership?

How can the archetypes support you in your leadership?  There is self-leadership and leadership of others, as well as collaboration- leadership with others.  Archetypes can inspire you to great leadership in all these areas as an individual, and as a parent, partner and work colleague.

One model of leadership I work with is the Co-Active Leadership Model.  The premise of this model is that all people are leaders and “leaders are those who are responsible for their world”.

Through a dynamic flow of relationship (“Co-“) and action (“Active”), Co-Active leaders take ownership of the role they play in any situation.  They see themselves as responsible co-creators.  Able to create something new from this place.  Wherever that place is, be it your business facing restrictions through Covid-19, parental challenges, relationships, health issues and any other changes in life circumstances.

This model works with five dimensions.  Leader Within is central and contributes to the other four: Leader in Front, Behind, Beside and in the Field.  The archetypes work within every dimension.  Sovereign by way of your responsibility with how you show up and contribute.  Lover, as you relate to yourself and others in wholeness and connection.  Warrior, through your purpose, values and commitment, as well as demonstrating fierce courage when needed.  And Magician, connecting and living through the bigger picture, through vision, intuition, instinct and imagination.  Just like Co-Active and the five dimensions of the Co-Active Leadership Model, the archetypes too are a dynamic dance that serves a greater vision.

Leader Within

Self-acceptance is the first essential step towards self-authority.  This is the realm of Sovereign.  To pause, take stock and sense “Where am I right now?”  From this place, how can I grow and move forward.  How can I be the author in my life?  Magician works with Sovereign to gain vision, inspired by the broader perspective of what is emerging in my world.  Warrior takes this into action and out into the world, aligned to purpose and values.  Lover gives access to the heart you need to share yourself with the world.

Leader in Front

Lover drives leadership from the front because it is all about relationship with those that will make Sovereign’s vision happen.  Sovereign knows that the vision cannot be realised alone.  Therefore, it is Sovereign’s role to inspire, enrol and engage the team and kindle the flames of collaboration, co-operation and community.  Warrior drives the vision through action, commitment and focus.  While Magician, through your ability to sense what is emerging within the team, guides you to know when to step back and allow others to take the lead when it is their time.

Leader Behind

Coaching epitomises the qualities of Leader Behind.  More on that next week.  For now, Magician stands behind seeing the greatness of others and how they can best serve the world.  Leader Behind stands in self-Sovereignty by fully committing to the mission and seeing the role as coaching others more fully into their unique and individual contribution.  Lover ensures that as a team, we work together to make this happen. And, like an army, Warrior ensures that teamwork and comradeship keep morale, motivation and inspiration high.

Leader Beside

The magic of Leader Beside is synergy.  Working together to create more than the sum of the parts.  Lover’s contribution is partnership as the two of you, or more, co-create and manifest a shared vision.  It is an alchemical relationship, blending a team, while at the same time each person stands in their own Sovereignty, taking full responsibility and ownership.  Together, we drive toward our mission or vision.  In antiquity, Warriors spoke about having their comrade at their left arm to protect and defend that side.  Leaders Beside lean into each other to make them stronger, more capable and effective.

Leader in the Field

Have you ever been inspired to take action and do something innovative?  You just got a hunch and went with it?  This is Magician’s realm and how to lead from the field.  Those intuitive thoughts that inspire and innovate still require action otherwise they remain as pipe dreams.  You gather your resources and take responsibility for committing those resources to that action.  Sovereign gives you ownership to commit, while Warrior lends more subtle drive to action as it is emerging.  Lover nurses your relationship with the Field as you dance with intuition and the waves of inspiration all around you.

Archetypes and Co-Active Leadership

So, this is how I see these four archetypes can support your Co-Active leadership.  Of course, there are many models of leadership.  What I love about this one is it’s non-hierarchical nature. Though that way of doing and being is the exception in most societies and organisations, I believe it is a powerful way to help people realise their full potential.  By starting with self-responsibility and learning what impact you have on others and your world.  That self-Sovereignty empowers the other archetypes to work for your greatest good and potential and that of the world.

Over to You

How could you use the archetypes in your leadership?  Self-sovereignty is central to this Co-Active leadership model.  How might this inspire you to show up as a leader in all areas of your life?  What are your thoughts of leadership on a level playing field?

If this topic has resonated with you and you’d like to know more, I will be speaking at The Embodiment Conference and introducing an embodied approach to archetypes that brings more awareness and fulfilment in all aspects of your life, including your leadership.  You can register free for the conference here.

My talk is Embodying Archetypes for Personal Growth.  There are hundreds of speakers from across the globe, sharing the wisdom of embodiment for the benefit of many areas of life including relationships and intimacy, business and leadership, martial and healing arts, ethics, ecology and more. It would be great to see you there.  So,


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** Inspired by Co-Active Leadership- Five Ways to Lead by Karen and Henry Kimsey-House.

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