Monday, December 03, 2007

Command Theme

Ever since I can remember, the Jeep brand has remained my vehicle of choice. For nine years, I drove a Jeep Wrangler. I sold my baby when we moved this summer, and now we just have the Jeep Cherokee. But, someday, when my paychecks increase, we will purchase a Jeep Commander.

I tell you this to introduce the fourth of my Themes as discovered through Tom Rath's StrengthsFinder 2.0. This is my Command Theme.

Discomfort? I'm quite comfortable--this statement lets everyone know that those with the Command Theme "feel no discomfort with imposing...views on others."

Yeah, I can't deny that I have a firm command of what I believe in. This belief is actually more akin to conviction. Thoughtful consideration for every major belief marks my approach to values. Once I've established what I believe in, I "feel restless" until I have "aligned others" with me.

Confrontation--I can't imagine ever running from a confrontation. This reminds me of the car ride home this afternoon. My wife teaches fourth grade in the same district I teach in. At her previous school, a private academy, she could give recess detentions to students who misbehaved or had not completed assignments. Her new administration informed her that Connecticut State Law prevents keeping students from recess; that is until today. We had a 90 minute delay which resulted in the students not having recess.

"I'd go ask them about that," was my response. She would prefer to not "make waves." No way. Not me. If I see something that goes against my resolutions, I challenge them. I hate having people unaware of what I am thinking or feeling.

Intimidation--A student once told me that I intimidated her. She said that because I wear my heart on my sleeve, it made her feel like I was inflexible. One area this reveals itself is when I push students to take risks. Because I have always been a bit of a risk taker, it seems natural to me that I encourage risk taking in my students. I don't mean risky behavior, but stepping beyond what they are comfortable thinking about. For some, this has drawn them towards me. For others, they've run--and fast!

Ideas For Action: (Suggestions for the Commander)

1. You will always be ready to confront. Practice the words, the tone, and the techniqes that will turn your ability to confront into real persuasiveness.

Personal Response: If I could achieve any of these "Ideas for Action" in a moment's time, this would be my choice. My wife will tell you that my tone often pushes her, and others away. The conviction with which I speak often does not reflect a willingness to discuss--which means that I can't persuade.

2. Your Command talents might compell you to wrestle for the reins of power because you love being in the driver's seat. But remember that even when you are not formally in charge, your presence can be an unseen yet powerfully felt force.

Personal Response: Again, this particular action needs development. I get antsy when the reins are not in my hand. I have to learn to let others control, and in that giving up of control, actually have greater influence. As a teacher, this couldn't be more true.


Most talents are often also a source of our greatest weaknesses. My Command Theme often has detrimental effects in my career. I've often felt that those "above" me have been intimidated by my candid approach to life, but I've also felt that I've stepped over the boundaries of my position. My success will always rest in my ability to rein in my Command Theme. Though it is not my most dominant, it has the one theme that could derail my career.


At 9:52 AM , Blogger Our Forever Family Photos said...

Facinating. I need this book.

At 9:15 PM , Blogger Travis said...

Command is my #1. My team at work just went through a certified Strengths Builder class. I am the only one on my team (manager included) with Command in my top 10. The combination of Command, Competition, and Strategic -all in my top 5- have a tendency to make everyone uncomfortable. I think that this is the strength that needs the single most management of all the themes because it can enable you to take on the world or to make everyone run from you. I share your thoughts and encourage you on your journey of development.


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