• Gina Folk

The People Leader's Compass

The People Leaders’ Compass is a really easy and insightful way to identify your primary leadership attribute. It outlines four key attributes that I believe are essential to create outstanding long-term results in business and in life. I started using this concept over two years ago, when I taught my first leadership class at my church. It is an adaptation of the Bonner Network’s Leadership Compass which uses the Native American concept of the Medicine Wheel at its core. The Medicine Wheel embodies the four directions, North, South, East and West and Native tribes used this for health, healing and to better understand the cycle of life.

I have called this concept the People Leader’s Compass because I believe each and every one of us are leaders of people regardless of title, rank or position. Often, when I say this I get the response, “But if everyone is a leader who is going to follow?” I reply, “Great leaders are great followers.” Here’s the thing, you are a leader whether you want to be or not. First you are a leader of yourself, if nothing else. And with friends, family, children, pets, spouse or partners, co-workers, volunteer organizations, there will be times you are looked to as the decision-maker of a project. If your results in life are framed by the quality of the leaders around you, don’t you want to be an outstanding people leader of YOU and others? That where the People Leader’s Compass comes in!

All of us have different ways of leading ourselves and others. We are unique and we each have a God- given leadership way of being that we will use predominantly throughout our life. However, well-rounded leaders possess the four key attributes which are found on the People Leader’s Compass, Love (South), Execute (North), Analyze (West), Dream (East). To be a well-rounded leader who navigates to any destination regardless of the harsh elements, it is critical to have all four traits.

I believe you must (and can) master each of the four directions over time; however, as you are developing personally, I recommend that you surround yourself with people who possess those attributes you are trying to master.

Can you imagine the results you would get navigating the city in which you live without access to all four directions? You would not get very far and neither do leaders that rely solely on one of the People Leader’s Compass traits.

Let’s delve into the compass attributes which spell out the word L.E.A.D.! As you read though each trait, what do you see in yourself? For every trait the list the top three strengths and weaknesses are provided to help you find your leadership way of being. Every time I do this exercise with people, they can quickly identify theirs with little to no hesitation.

The South is Love. I refer to these as the Peacemakers (strong) or the Martyrs (weak). If this is you, you may also hear yourself saying things like “right” and “fair” in conversations.

Top 3 Strengths

  • Consider and understand how your decisions and actions impact others

  • Make decisions and take actions based on feelings, instincts and intuition

  • Work well in teams and enjoy being a team player

Top 3 Weaknesses

  • Over-compromise and have trouble saying “No” to others

  • Avoid confrontation

  • Prone to protect “tribe” and lose focus on the goal

The North is Execute. When you are at your best, you are a Driver (strong) and when you use your power to an extreme, you’re like an Executioner (weak) knocking down whomever gets in your way. You often say “I’ll do it”, “Do it now” and “The bottom line.”

Top 3 Strengths

  • Assertive, decisive and results-oriented

  • Like to be in control and not stopped by “No”

  • Love challenges, change and fast paced environment

Top 3 Weaknesses

  • Autocratic, kill off other’s ideas and want things done NOW with no discussion

  • Perceived as cold and uncaring about other’s feeling or inputs

  • Things are always in black and white, no gray areas

The West is Analyze. If you tend towards the West, you are a Researcher (strength) who quickly falls prey to Analysis Paralysis (weakness). You say ““Let’s get the facts”,” Let me find out” or “Let’s be objective..”

Top 3 Strengths

  • Gather and use data/logic to assist in decision-making

  • Practical, dependable, follow procedures and thorough in assignments

  • Find fatal flaws in an idea or project.

Top 3 Weaknesses

  • Overanalyze and never make forward movement

  • Stubborn and unmoving in opinions and positions and resist change.

  • Appear cold and withdrawn, tend to observe others.

Last and certainly not least, the East is Dream. You are the visionary when you are in your element (strength) and can quickly become day dreamers when distracted (weaknesses). You can hear yourself using words like imagine, possibility, options, opportunities.

Top 3 Strengths

  • See the big picture. Think outside the box and generate creative ideas.

  • Make decisions based on the future

  • Look for overarching themes

Top 3 Weaknesses

  • Focus on vision at the expense of action

  • Lots of ideas and projects in the hopper. Chase the shiny object and lose track of time and deadlines.

  • Frustrated when results are in line with vision and can lose interest and burn out quickly.

There you have it! The People Leader’s Compass. L (Love), E (Execute), A(Analyze), (D)Dream. Did you find your main style? Use it wisely and start working on developing the other traits so you can become the most well rounded and grounded leader you can be to produce amazing results in your personal and professional life. Know when to lead with each of these attributes and you will never lose your direction or way in business or personally.

“Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also.” Marcus Aurelius



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