Strengths Spotlight: Command

tangenby Sue Crosby-Tangen

Top 5: Includer, Arranger, Responsibility, Command and Positivity

When I first glanced at my 5 Signature Themes and saw Command  in the fourth position, probably trying to nudge its way rigorously at the top three to rise above them to the position of number 1, I was both pleased and almost horrified at the same time.  What did this mean?  Yes, I can be loud.  Yes, I can be bossy, YES..I NEED TO BE IN CHARGE!!!…but was that a good thing???  Or a bad thing???

My other top themes are Includer, Arranger, Responsibility, and Positivity.  Where does Command fit into those warm and wonderful themes?  I decided to take some time to really reflect on what Command meant to me and how it fits into my strengths as an Associate Athletics Director instead of seeing only the negative aspects of Command.  Some may use the term “bossy”, “control freak”, some may even use the term “dictator” to describe this strength, or talent.  But one could also use terms like “self-assured”, “pleasantly intense (my preference)”, even “respected”.  As you can see, this theme has a truly effective side, and possibly a very negative side.  It takes a delicate balance of self-awareness and sensitivity toward the strengths and talents of the others with whom you are working.

Command can be very effective in my role with student-athletes, particularly the first year student-athletes and the ones that I consider “at risk”.  As a department we have expectations of our student-athletes as students, community partners, and leaders both on and off campus.  Athletes are used to listening and responding to coaches in order to be successful.  I use the talent of Command to engage their attention, set up and communicate the expectations and values of the department and the university, as well as to establish what my role is in their journey toward a college degree while at BSU.

Admittedly there have been times that I have been told that I can be intimidating.  Assuming that at the grandiose height of 5’ it is not my size but rather the presence of “command”, I have to remind myself to draw from my other strengths to be able to connect with all of my student-athletes, effectively include others in decision making, and to be able to take a step back from wanting (really NEEDING) to control a committee or group.   That can be the downside of Command.

With Command as a theme of talent, it is often almost PAINFUL to take a step back and let others lead, organize, or make change.  Because Includer is my number one theme, I am more apt to reach out to others for their input rather than taking total control of a conversation or meeting.  Although many “Commandos” struggle with accepting or “needing” feedback, it is very important to assess how effective, or ineffective, the Command is on a group that you are leading or merely just working with.  In my own experiences I have had to learn to assess the various personalities in the group before unleashing the full strength of my Command.  Having Command as one of my top five is something that I am proud of and I feel that it has been an effective tool for success in several roles that I have within my position as the Associate Athletics Director here at Bridgewater.

Want to learn more about this fascinating theme of talent? Check out Gallup’s “Theme Thursday” podcast that featured the Command theme! Their “Theme Thursday” series features one theme at a time and you can learn so much!

About cindykane

Director of @BSUInvolved and interested in leadership and professional development strategies. Mom, scholar-practitioner, looking to make an impact!
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