Leading with Command: The Craft of Presence over Pushiness


Remember when you were a little kid and you knew exactly how you wanted things to get done? Amidst all the chaos of childhood, your clarity and willingness to take the lead often allowed you to pick what game to play.

Sure, it also set you up to be called “Bossy” and maybe even face some conflict. But, that’s all just part of life.

Becoming a Leader

Eventually, being the leader of schoolyard games developed into captain of the soccer team, head of the drama club or student council president. Heck, maybe even all three. If the situation called for a decision maker, not only were you willing, you were often looked to by your peers to fill those shoes.

And now you’ve become a leader at work, recognized the same way you were as a kid, but with more sophistication and less accusation of being so “bossy”. You have the strength of Command.

The Facts

Your Command means you have no problems with confrontation, especially if it’s an essential step toward resolution.

Imposing your opinion on others is all part of gaining a followership, right?

The unpleasantries of life are just an occupational hazard as far as you’re concerned. You are driven to present the facts, no matter how cold and hard they are. They force people to be honest, and establish a clear line of communication. Often times this will intimidate people, and they will call you “Opinionated” in a not so favorable manner.

But you can accept this, because you are. Not to mention, the same people who call you that often come to you for guidance, for leadership. Your presence compels people to move in a specific direction, which draws them to you.

Establishing Your Presence

So all of those years you were called bossy, and maybe even accused of being a bulldozer, you were just displaying your Command strength in an unsophisticated manner.

But hey, you were a kid, what can you expect?

Now that you’re all grown up and in a leadership role, being called bossy or a bulldozer isn’t child’s play. At this point, an unsophistication in Command can actually become a huge weakness for you.

Because you have a strong presence, people notice when you walk in a room. They also notice everything else you do, from your successes down to every last failure, no matter how small. Command often leads people to see things very clearly, where others may not.

Your assertions that things are one way and not another are what people are attracted to. But too much of a good thing is definitely bad in your position. Being told exactly how to do everything will build resentment between you and your team members. It’s important for Command to establish their presence wisely.

Sample Example

For example, you may feel there is a very clear and concise way to execute a project to achieve a specific result. You may also feel that the team member entrusted with this project is doing things in a way that is not so clear or concise.

Giving them advice and direction is part of your job, but forcing them into the mold you created or demanding they do things your way will only work against you. Sometimes, focusing on the end result is more important than the process.

Establish your presence with your expectations of the end result instead of trying to control the process.

Your way might be better, but you need to assess if it’s necessary. If not, take a step back, and let your team utilize their strengths. Though this is counterintuitive, sometimes the best way to maintain control is to give a little away (if anyone has had a teenager, you know exactly what I mean by that).

Being Lead with Command

Perhaps the most difficult position for Command to be in is Follower. Especially if the person you are following lacks Command, or what you perceive to be strength.

But, before you become defeated or start trying to boss your boss around, remember that the best employees understand how to manage up. It is an art, to say the least, and you should challenge yourself to master it. You like being right, so be right about being the strongest follower, the follower all other followers follow.

If you have Command, do you find it hard to temper as a leader? As a follower? What feedback have you gotten that indicates you are using your Command in a sophisticated or unsophisticated manner? What are the major growing pains of having Command? I would love to hear yor thoughts!


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Alexsys "Lexy" Thompson HCS, SWP
Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson is Managing Partner at Fokal Fusion
She helps building Strong Leaders through Strong People Strategy
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Image Sources: work.chron.com

L2L Contributing Author