Leadership Compass: What kind of leader are you?

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The Leadership Compass is based on the Native American Medicine Wheel, or Four-Fold Way, in which each direction has a main "human resource" from which to draw for support and strength.

We also use it in City Year to become the best leaders we can be!

The point of the Leadership Compass is to identify the different types of leading one may follow. A person may lead in one primary "direction" or a combination of two or more. The Compass can help people work with other leaders by identifying their strengths and weaknesses so you can assess how to complement their characteristics. You can also understand your strengths as well as where you may be lacking so you can improve your own leadership skills.

Here is the breakdown of the different directions of the Leadership Compass. Have fun finding where you fall on the compass and how well you fit the description!

North: Action

  • Like to be in control; comfortable in the lead

  • Quick and to the point
  • Enjoys challenges and newness

  • Perseveres; not easily deterred
  • Can grow defensive
  • Can overlook details, logic and strategy
  • Can produce hasty, incomplete work
  • May disregard others' feelings
  • May take too much responsibility

South: Empathy

  • Understands others' feelings and capabilities
  • Heeds and integrates work and thoughts of others
  • Use relationships to progress
  • Willingness to trust others
  • Supportive and receptive
  • Able to focus on current activities
  • Non-competitive
  • Can put too much emphasis on relationships over goals
  • May overcompromise or have difficulty saying "no"
  • May internalize personal issues and take the blame
  • May have difficulty dealing with anger
  • May become too focused on the now and lose track of the long-term

East: Vision

  • Sees the big picture
  • Creative and idea-oriented
  • Understands mission and purpose
  • Looks for main themes
  • Great at solving problems
  • Likes to try new things
  • May put too much emphasis on the future and lose track of time
  • May burn out over time
  • May become easily frustrated, especially when working on something they don't consider contributing to main goals

West: Analysis

  • Understands and analyzes information well
  • Practical, logical and thorough; notices problems
  • Resourceful and helpful
  • Sees all sides of an issue
  • Examines needs
  • May get stuck with too much information to analyze
  • Can be stubborn or indecisive
  • May become aloof or uncaring of others

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Comments 16 comments

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

Glassvisage, intriguing hub.

Maybe it would be good to give examples of people who fit each leadership profile. For instance, you could use well known politicians and classify their leadership styles.

What is City Year?


GARCIA8287 8 years ago

Wow, very informative


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California Author

Thanks to both of you! City Year is an AmeriCorps program, and we work together to encourage students to do better in school and get involved in addressing social issues. We depend a lot on good leadership and spoke at length about this topic :)


fishskinfreak2008 profile image

fishskinfreak2008 8 years ago from Fremont CA

Autocratic leaders are strict and dictatorial. In other words, an autocratic leader will most likely say "Do it my way or else". Then, there are laissez-faire leaders who take a back seat and basically take "Do as you please". Finally, a democratic leader employs a strategy somewhere in between autocracy and laisez-faire.


Rick49 8 years ago

Definitely this is something to think about when dealing with co-workers. Thanks Glasvisage.


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 8 years ago from London

Thanks for an interesting hub; I like the idea of the compass and its background. I think I'm a combination of a few of those descriptions; is that normal?! I'm going to be using this method to analyse people I know!


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California Author

Thanks folks! This is great for workplaces, that's for sure. And yes, being a combination is definitely common... some people may be northwest, southeast, etc. I am a sort of southwest... but less west than south :)


roberwat profile image

roberwat 8 years ago from Winfield, Alabama, USA

Great aand Eduaational. I have used this without even knowing it. I look forward to more.


kwray 7 years ago

very informative..... i really like the way how it has been done. See im looking for a job but trying to match my leadership style along with my boss.


lead365 profile image

lead365 7 years ago from Florida

Good hub. I think it would be great to see some examples of each compass point as Aya Katz posted. It may be great to even explain how this can be used in the workplace and other places (home, community, etc.)


LeaderCast 7 years ago

Thanks for this hub! Very well written and informative. It is so important to be able to analyze what kind of a leader you are to be at your highest potential. Great hub!


johnmce profile image

johnmce 7 years ago from Brighton, UK

Think I'm definitely East facing!


Shane Belceto profile image

Shane Belceto 6 years ago from WA USA

I can see parts of me in the first 3 for sure .. not west though smiles

~Expect Miracles


sarah 5 years ago

City Year is a non-profit organization that unites 17-24 year olds in a year of full-time service. Their main objective is to dramatically lower the number of high school drop outs. City Year sends volunteer's into public schools in 17 cities in the United States to tutor, mentor, and act as role models to students. They also provide after school and weekend programing for youth. Visit www.cityyear.org to find out more!


A Ford 5 years ago

What a great way to integrate culture with a leadership model. At first, I thought I was more North- pointing at a direction. Then, I realized I am really an east- looking toward and hoping toward new comings.


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you all for the comments! I'm glad this was of use, A Ford!

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