Strengths Coaching Blog

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Command: A Persuasive Presence Undeterred by Opposition - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Command with Gallup's Rosanne Liesveld, Managing Consultant.





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Command leads you to take charge. Unlike some people, you feel no discomfort with imposing your views on others. On the contrary, once your opinion is formed, you need to share it with others. Once your goal is set, you feel restless until you have aligned others with you. You are not frightened by confrontation; rather, you know that confrontation is the first step toward resolution. Whereas others may avoid facing up to life’s unpleasantness, you feel compelled to present the facts or the truth, no matter how unpleasant it may be. 

You need things to be clear between people and challenge them to be clear-eyed and honest. You push them to take risks. You may even intimidate them. And while some may resent this, labeling you opinionated, they often willingly hand you the reins. People are drawn toward those who take a stance and ask them to move in a certain direction. Therefore, people will be drawn to you. You have presence. You have Command.


Command is the least common Theme in terms of showing up in a individual’s Top 5. Command is about having a comfort to direct where a group is going. It is being persuasive. It is about being able to affect the feelings of other people, and doing it with purpose. Very often Harmony and Command are seen as opposites, however, they want the same thing. The difference isn’t in the definition of the Theme, but the route they take to get to the same destination. 

You are able to get everyone excited, rally them together and affect how they feel. Command has the courage to go through tough barriers, because what you are aiming for is resolution. Command is a Theme that you wear on your sleeve. It is the kid on the playground that everyone wants to follow, even if they don’t realize they are doing it. It is that natural ability to want to take the reins, and to realize it is almost a magnetism where people are drawn to giving you those reins. 

Command in itself looks like leadership. So how can this look different in an individual contributor rather than a leader? An individual with Command aligns decisions with their own performance, whereas a leader with Command aligns actions with bigger goals. Those goals may be about an organization or your team. Command is a persuasive presence undeterred by opposition.

Just like wind creates lift, barriers can create clarity for Command. With Command you need a little bit of pushback in the form of some honest feedback. This can come anywhere from thinking about your product landing in the market, to your interactions with customers. There is a clarity muscle that people with Command have that they can flex when they are in a place where they really have to make a hard decision. Command can anticipate that pushback and persuade people through it. That pushback can sometimes be harder to seek the higher up you get as a leader, so it can be important to invest in your Command by getting great think partners that can provide this feedback. 

Understand that assertive does not equal aggressive. Think about how you can introduce your assertiveness without apologizing for it. Think about connecting clarity and assertion. Connect that absolute communication that you can bring with Command to productivity. Think about how moving through a barrier instead of going around it can have its advantage. 

There are some questions you can ask yourself when it comes to the needs of your followers. Trust is built with authenticity, and so what causes or projects should people always expect you to protect or defend? What are those trigger points you will always stand up for, and how can you let other people know what those are? Where do you see potential in other people, and how can you help them see that in themselves? Command can be an excellent developmental tool to build compassion. Who needs you to intervene on their behalf? How can you put the fears of others at ease to build stability? What is the reason behind your current mission? How can you help the others see the ‘why’ to build hope? Stand for other people as well as causes. How can you bring others with you? 

How do you feel about the Command Theme in a leadership role? Share your thoughts and experiences on the Called to Coach Facebook page.

Pressed for time? We now have all of our Theme Thursday videos in short, easy-to-digest snippets and other Gallup-Certified Strengths Coaches break down the nuances of each theme.

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Rosanne M. Liesveld is a Managing Consultant at Gallup. She consults with K-12 school districts to develop comprehensive recruiting, assessment, hiring, and development strategies for teachers and principals. Rosanne’s primary areas of expertise are in teacher and principal selection, motivation, development, engagement, and performance management. Rosanne is coauthor of Teach With Your Strengths, a book on strengths-based development for educators and school systems.

Since joining Gallup in 1986, Rosanne has worked with some of the largest school districts in the United States. She uses her extensive expertise to help leaders and managers increase their organization’s overall value by implementing performance strategies that will improve the bottom line.


Rosanne's top 5 strengths are: Futuristic | Activator | Significance | Relator | Command.

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