5 Voices Series: The Power of Your Voice
In our first post about the 5 Voices, we covered the tendencies of each voice and what they bring to the table. Today, we’ll be diving deeper into the voices to identify their “weapon systems.”
Every Voice Has a Weapon System
A voice’s “weapon system” describes what it feels like to be on the other side of that voice, while also providing a memorable visual cue to help us remember how they tend to engage with those around them. Every weapon system can be used for positive or negative influence, therefore, our goal as leaders should be to learn the various weapons and understand how we tend to employ them in a given situation so that we can use them for good rather than harm.
It’s important to reiterate the need to refrain from putting people in a box based on voice or weapon system. When used correctly, this system will empower you to more quickly and easily recall helpful insights that will guide you through engagement with differing voices in the moment.
Nurturer Weapon System
Funny enough, when you think about a Nurturer, you don’t usually think of weapons; at least not in the sense of guns, knives, etc. go. A nurturer is actually more like a medic. The best way to think about Nurturers is to envision that you’re on a battleground — it’s D-Day on Normandy beach — with the bullets flying and everyone shooting and rushing to fight. Everyone, that is, except the medic. The Nurturer, like the medic, doesn’t care about firing back at their enemies or protecting their own interests, they just run headlong into the fire to take care of people and patch them up. Oftentimes they’ll sacrifice themselves to bring healing to the people they care about, whether at home, at work, or in the community. It’s fascinating to watch how many moms, as well as teammates at work and people in general, will actually sacrifice themselves to take care of others. As a group, Nurturers make up a large percentage of the population, yet they tend to have the quietest voice because they’re too busy tending to others’ needs to speak up for themselves.
Creative (Feeler) Weapon System
What’s interesting about the Creative Weapon System is that the weapon actually differs depending on whether a person is a “Feeler” or “Thinker” in the Jungian Personality Type preference.
What takes place then, from an emotional standpoint for a Creative Feeler, is that people or circumstances continually push them on their boundaries and values, or even threaten the people and causes they care about, until they’re backed into a corner. They keep taking it and taking it until all of a sudden, they’re fed up and they Hulk-out on whatever or whomever is threatening them and that which they hold dear. If you’ve ever seen the Hulk movie, it’s quite a sight to see the normally docile, and seemingly harmless, Bruce Banner reach a noticeable trigger point, and then he just blows up.
That’s what happens with the Creative Feeler. Due to the driving desire to maintain relational harmony and peace, they tend to play the diplomat in every situation. This compulsion becomes unhealthy when it leads to the kind of passive aggression that encourages the Feeler to sweep things under the rug until they reach a boiling point. Pretty soon, they’ll blow up in a meeting and everyone will sit there, shocked at such an unthinkable outburst from the person the would least suspect, and everyone’s wondering, “What in the world is happening?” Because such outbursts seem so contrary to the Creative Feeler’s regular nature, these “Hulk-out” moments can cause a great deal of damage to reputation and influence, ultimately causing people to question to person’s reliability, since others no longer know how to tell their true emotional statement. A “healthy” hulk-out moment, however, will take the form of a controlled, but assertive defense of the people or values they cherish, rather than letting insults or misdeeds slide by for the sake of relational harmony or conflict avoidance.
Creative (Thinker) Weapon System
Thinkers, on the other hand, tend to take things in a lot more rational, logical, analytical, and less personal manner than the Feeler version of the Creative. You’ll rarely find a Creative Thinker sweeping things under the rug. Instead, they’ll just come right out with their unvarnished opinion in the moment, preferring to express themselves as they wish, rather than carry the weight of regulating people’s emotions and relational concerns.
As a result, they carry what we call the “sniper rifle,” because the creative thinker will often sit in the “bell tower” of the team meeting, watching, analyzing, and waiting. You won’t hear a great deal from them, but every now and then, you’ll hear a laser-like, piercing round of logic strike someone whom they disagree with on the other side of the table. It’s usually right when their target is in the middle of presenting their contrary point of view. The risk for the Creative Thinker is that they need to be careful in how and when they deliver their critique (which is often legitimate and insightful), because an armor-piercing round from a high velocity rifle somewhere in the bell tower usually takes somebody out with it. It’s those types of out-of-nowhere, piercing attacks that tend to feel personal to others and cut them deeply, which can cause the Creative Thinker to lose influence over time. Such instances of repeated “sniping” will result in a reputation of being mean, callous, or insensitive. Used healthily, the Creative Thinker can provide powerful moments of deep insight, bringing a precision and clarity to issues that few can match.
Guardian Weapon System
Since Guardians tend to champion infrastructure and systems, their weapon is interrogation. Guardians value the thorough vetting and analysis of each situation and decision, which means they become dogged in their determination to collect all the facts and ask the hard questions. They’re like detectives. They excel at puzzling together a host of details and minutiae, ready to interrogate anyone and everyone they can until they get the information they need. Due to their insistence on concrete facts and cold hard logic, Guardians will often express frustration with those who disagree or don’t seem to value the role of logic over other considerations, such as relational harmony or other intangible factors.
Since their straightforward approach tends to be heavy on bluntness and light on tone and tact, meetings and questions from a Guardian tend to feel more like an interrogation. Other voices might get the sense that the Guardian doubts their truthfulness and competence, or otherwise is trying to back them into a corner with “gotcha” questions. The danger with this weapon is that such intimidating experiences can cause people to pull back and become reserved around the Guardian, ultimately resulting in resentment and/or loss of influence. Unfortunately for the Guardian, they might be left wondering why people seem so hesitant around them or why they have lost influence with their colleagues. To them, it’s never been personal, just a mission for honest, logical fact-finding. Wielded healthily, however, the interrogation powers of a self-aware Guardian and their ability to root out detail for the sake of protecting systems and strategy, can become a valuable weapon for any team.
Connector Weapon System
The Connector weapon system contains a powerful, but dangerous capacity for great good or disastrous harm. As specialists in communication, the Connector weapon system is best described as being a master of cyber warfare. Their capacity to craft engaging messages and communicate effectively gives them a unique ability to influence the hearts and minds of people. When abused, Connectors tend to use their cyber warfare skills to drop bits of negative propaganda into teams and communications about those with whom they disagree, or when they feel unsure of someone’s loyalty.
Consequently, they tend to avoid head-on confrontation, preferring instead to undermine that person or advance their own agenda through manipulation and poisoning the well. Before you know it, everyone’s starting to ask questions about the individual they’ve targeted, or the Connector has planted enough seeds in the organization that everyone feels the pressure to get on board with their idea. The tough part is that, actually, the Connector is usually pure in heart with their motives. They just believe in their vision or cause so much that they can come off as “overly sales-y” because they instinctively change their messaging to fit what they believe the other person wants to hear in order to buy into that vision.
When healthy, the Connector’s capacity to understand what people want or need, and then how to translate those things into an inspiring message they want to hear can be quite powerful. Combine that talent with their seeming endless network of friends and connections, and you’ve got quite a powerful force that can be brought to bear for a good cause.
Pioneer Weapon System
As the loudest and most assertive voice, Pioneers carry what we call the “grenade launcher.” Even this weapon, as ominous as it sounds, has both a mature and immature setting. When wielded by an immature Pioneer, the Pioneer will use it to force their opinions and influence onto others, brandishing it as a threat against those who might disagree. Through a combination of competitive stubbornness, cold logic, and tactless delivery, they can dominate the airwaves of a meeting. Sometimes this is unintentional and results from their natural assertiveness wherein they’ll start a meeting by describing everything they think should be done, then assuming everyone else agrees, or otherwise laying down an unspoken gauntlet that dares someone to challenge them.
When someone else disagrees, or simply tries to propose an alternate option, the immature Pioneer becomes protective of their opinion and brings out the Grenade Launcher to defend it, either by insult or by a withering barrage of fire in the form of harsh logic and critique. Once someone gets taken out (humiliated, embarrassed, shut down) by this grenade launcher, everyone else in the meeting takes note of the empty chair where the Pioneer’s challenger used to sit, and then they just shut down their opposition and dissenting opinions. When people are afraid to speak up about their questions and opinions, they are unable to bring the valuable perspective their voice provides.
On the other hand, a healthy Pioneer uses the strength of their voice to support the other voices and motivate them towards organization and action. Mature Pioneers are some of the most valuable leaders because they champion success and prove extremely capable in allocating resources, tapping into their people’s potential, and getting things done. When this happens, Pioneers actually use their grenade launcher to eliminate log jams that inhibit the proper functioning or growth of people, systems, and organizations.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that all voices and weapon systems have both an immature and mature side to them. What we care about here at GiANT is helping people become mature in their voices and weapon systems so that they can so they can know themselves to lead themselves. If we can help them do that, then we can help them become the best leader they can be, rich in positive influence and liberating leadership in all areas of their lives.
Add the 5 Voices to Your Toolkit: