CORE Leadership Styles 

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel.
If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”

                                                                                                                                    Sam Walton


There are thousands of references that point the way to greatness in leadership and most leaders have read many of them. Clearly, if reading about the attributes of great leadership was sufficient, most leaders would be exceptional. But that is not what our experience or research suggests.

Some cases in point:

  • When Jim Collins went in search of great leaders in preparing to write his book, Good to Great, he studied hundreds of organizations and found only a handful of great leaders most of whom were unknown in the media.
  • When employees are polled anonymously, the majority rate their leaders as average or below average.
  • According to a recent Gallop poll (2012) less than a third of employees are actively engaged in their work (29.3%), 52% are not engaged and 19% are actively disengaged. That means that 71% of employees are not being led, motivated and inspired sufficiently to even be engaged in their work, much less to perform well.

The estimated loss in American productivity is in the trillions of dollars and loss of profits is in the hundreds of billions!

As the Gallup Organization and almost all great management consultants have pointed out, the problem almost always boils down to individual managers and leaders. It is not uncommon to hear leaders and managers blaming today’s workforce, the current American culture and/or the attitudes of Generation X and Millennials. But these are all impacted, for good or ill, by leadership far more profoundly than any other factor. Leaders drive attitudes and attitudes drive performance.

Many in leadership positions look at their people, assuming they are the cause of the problems that plague their organization. But they are never the cause, they are the result; the result of three critically important factors and leadership heads the list. The other two are environment and job fit, but even here the attitudes and actions of the company's leaders are the determining factors. Trying to fix an organization's people without first making sure its leaders are high performers is a good way to waste a lot of time and money on disappointing results.

It isn't uncommon for leaders and managers in companies that take this approach to keep trying different training and development programs only to end up in pretty much in the same predicament a month or so later. After multiple failed attempts, many are at a complete loss for what to try next and, when that occurs, even leaders begin to disengage.

The good news is that the fix is really quite simple. But for organizations to take advantage of it, leaders and managers must (1) examine and develop themselves, (2) re-examine their beliefs about their people and what drives and engages them and (3) rethink their ideas about how business should work.

The hallmark characteristic of far too many leaders is the belief that logical, definable, rational and controllable outcomes should be considered and managed above all else. That is an old school approach which isn't working with the incoming workforce and it isn’t likely to work again in the foreseeable future.

To compete effectively in today’s business climate, managers must learn to navigate the still largely uncharted, and for many unwelcome, waters of emotional, psychological, and personal factors, and not just in their employees, in themselves as well.

To many leaders this imperative represents a frightening shift. They are certain that this will be no easy undertaking and, to some extent, they are right. But, the most difficult part of the shift is not what most leaders imagine it to be. The most difficult part is shifting their own thinking and mindset and the stepping away from the old model of leadership. The new model is not untried or untested, but it is unfamiliar.

Though the new leadership model has launched a number of multi-billion dollar corporations, such as Google, practically overnight, and turned deeply troubled companies around in record time, the fear of many leaders is that such drastic and fundamental changes would not just rock the boat, but may capsize it. Yet addressing mindsets and attitudes, as well as behaviors, if done properly, always has the effect of increasing understanding, opening communications, tearing down silos, building bridges, improving morale, energizing and engaging employees and leaders alike, and dramatically increasing productivity and profits.

To get there requires a much deeper look than most organizations are willing to consider even though common sense tells us that when employees feel better, they perform better and treat other people better. When they perform better and treat other people better, they impact customers more positively. As a result, customers feel better, more positive about the company, and more satisfied with their experience—and satisfied customers mean healthy profits. But, we don't need to rely on common sense. There is a lot of research that validates this. In 2006 Fortune Magazine ran the results of a study on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For which showed that every one of those companies exceeded the revenues and profits of ordinary companies in the same industry, some as much as 7 times; that's 700%.

The best performing organizations realize the value of employee satisfaction and engagement and place their employees at the very top of their priority chart. And they are keenly aware that employee satisfaction and effectiveness begins with effective leadership.

Less effective organizations place the customer first. Or so they think. When employees who are serving customers are not happy, the customer is not being served well. So, no matter what the leaders think, the customer is not being served first or best. What many leaders who preach customers first are frequently focused on getting customer to buy more so what is actually at the top of their priority list is potential profits.

There is nothing wrong with that, profits are what keep a company alive and healthy. But leaders who we are focused on profits are looking at the wrong end of the cycle. Healthy profits are a result of happy, productive employees serving customers so effectively that they too are happy.

There are 12 types of leaders and only 4 of the 12 are effective. Contrary to popular belief, the effectiveness of a leader has far less to do with education, IQ and work experience than with having well developed natural skills and abilities, a healthy level of emotional intelligence, the right values and the ability to effectively cope.

Unfortunately, most assessments don’t measure these vitally important factors so they are often overlooked and almost never measured, sometimes with devastating and very costly results. The growing list of multimillion (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar hiring mistakes is a testament to this fact.

Do you know how the leaders in your organization stack up?

Find out by exploring CORE Types as Leaders which provides an eye-opening description of every type of leader or manager you will ever encounter.

If you discover your organization has too many less than positive types in leadership roles, don’t despair. In most cases, you don’t need to fire them and start over. We can help you pinpoint exactly why your leaders (and all other employees) are under-performing and provide you with the tools you need to get fast, measurable and trackable results that ensure you are getting the very best from every leader and every employee.


The Four Basic Types

The four basic types of people were first described more than 300 years BCE by the father of medicine, Greek physician, Hippocrates. Thousands of years of research since his time continue to validate his keen observations.

We use the terms Commander, Organizer, Relater and Entertainer to describe the four basic types. These terms describe a major attribute of the corresponding type and make it easy to have conversations about the characteristics of each type.

There are many assessments that define the four types and the combinations of these types, but only one that shows with uncanny accuracy what lies beneath the observable surface traits and tendencies. Only one that gets deep beneath the surface to reveal what really matters—development, emotional intelligence, and coping capacity all in one unified system-- the CORE Multidimensional Awareness Profile (CORE MAP).

An examination of the Top 10 Competencies reveals that 9 out of the 10 most sought after competencies require these vital traits.

Expanding your understanding of people, even on a surface level, is a good thing and many assessments let you do that, but to make excellent hiring and promotion decisions and truly get the best out of every employee, we have to get beyond observable traits and right to the core of what matters. CORE MAP let’s you do that.

Explore CORE Types as Leaders and then, if you would like to take a closer look at what CORE MAP can do for you, register here and take the assessment. If you are a decision maker, there is no cost or obligation. Once you have completed the assessment, one of our facilitators will get back with you to go over your results and explain how you can use CORE MAP to transform your organization.

Below is an overview of each of the four basic types. This is the basic description you can get from many assessments on the market today so you may already be familiar with them. What makes CORE MAP so powerful is that it gives you the ability to see how well (or poorly) developed traits an individual claims to have actually are and whether the individual is using them effectively. And CORE MAP cannot be skewed without detection.

If you have worked with many assessment, you are likely aware that there are people of the same type who behave quite differently. The differences are generally based on whether the individual is functioning from a Positive, Mid-zone Coping, or Negative position. The importance of this distinction will become more apparent as you look at the descriptions of leaders based on development and EQ.



Commanders are extroverts who prefer to take bold action. Many Commanders believe they are introverts because many assessments describe only one aspect of extroversion; sociability, and Commanders are not sociable outside the business arena. There are two ways to extrovert energy; one is through action, the other through interaction. Commanders prefer action. Commanders are also intuitive. They use their intuition to project into the future and envision possibilities. They filter their decisions through logic.

  • Natural leader with a take charge style
  • Enjoys work and the process of achieving
  • Often prefers work to leisure time
  • Goal directed and driven to succeed
  • Primary need is to get things done
  • Sees the big picture and seeks the bottom line
  • Good at creating strategies and organizing people and environments
  • Self-directed - seeks to maintain control
  • Driven and decisive
  • Loves challenges and actively seeks them
  • Does not easily take "no" for an answer
  • Cool-headed in emergencies
  • Operates from logic rather than emotions
  • Can become overly focused on goal achievement and neglect the personal/emotional side of life.
  • Can become aggressive when goals are at risk



Organizers are introverts who prefer to exercise caution when moving into new territory and sensors who live in the here and now and call on history to validate their experiences. They filter their decisions through logic.

  • Serious, dutiful, responsible, reserved and deliberate
  • Seeks order, structure, precision and predictability
  • Systematic and thorough - wants to finish what he/she starts
  • Careful planner who works well within hierarchies - doesn't need to lead
  • Cautious and slow to change
  • Has a definite opinion of right and wrong - seeks to do the "right" thing
  • Analytical and detail oriented - likes schedules, lists, charts, graphs, specifics
  • Realistic about skills and abilities - tends to over emphasize shortcomings
  • Wants to keep tradition in work and family structures
  • Works in an orderly and methodical manner
  • Tends to have artistic abilities - refined tastes
  • Loyal, diligent, and duty-bound
  • Select friends carefully - sticks with the familiar


Relaters are introverts who prefer to exercise caution when moving into new territory. They are also sensors who live in the here and now and call on history to validate their experiences. They filter their decisions through Feeling.

  • Thoughtful, considerate, loyal, conscientious and behaved
  • Good listeners - sympathetic and kind
  • Tries to anticipate and meet the needs of others
  • Flexible, easygoing and easy to relate to - accepting of others
  • Will quietly and dutifully follow orders when expectations are clear
  • Tends to discount personal attributes
  • Bound to value systems - seeks to uphold them
  • Sensitive and easily hurt - seeks acceptance
  • Works to achieve and maintain harmony and balance
  • Good at teamwork - mediates well
  • Caring and concerned about doing what seems right
  • Prefers safe, routine, slower paced environments
  • Slow to take action - prefers watching to doing
  • Avoids conflict and confrontation
  • Tends to defer decisions to others


Entertainers are extroverts who prefer bold interaction. Like Commanders, the other bold type, they enjoy action, but want to share it with others. There are two ways to extrovert energy; one is through action, the other through interaction. Entertainers prefer interaction. Like Commanders, Entertainers are intuitive. They use their intuition to project into the future and envision possibilities, but where Commander filters decisions through logic (whether the decision makes sense), Entertainers filter theis decisions through feeling (how it will imact them or someone else).

  • Enthusiastic, energetic, outgoing, active, stimulating
  • Creates excitement - tries to keep things upbeat and interesting - able to influence others to join in
  • Charismatic - loves social interactions and actively seeks to connect with others
  • Great communicator, storyteller - good promoter
  • Enjoys dreaming, innovating and speculating about the future
  • Finds it difficult to stick with one project or point of focus for long
  • Dislikes routines and time restrictions
  • Quick minded and easily bored - likes to multi-task
  • Enjoys learning and discovering new things - curious and adventurous
  • Makes friends easily and usually has lots of them
  • Enjoys talking – mentally formulating the next statement may interfere with listening or attentiveness to others
  • High energy - activity oriented
  • Not good at remembering names, dates, or other facts, but has a good memory for colors, faces, shapes and concepts

A Deeper and Critically Important View

While it's very important to know the natural traits of your leaders and key employees, personality traits are just the tip of the iceberg. What really counts is how well developed the traits are and how effectively they are being used to cope. Only the CORE Multidimensional Awareness Profile (CORE MAP) and the CORE Personal Effectiveness Profile (CORE PEP) can get beneath surface behaviors and preferences to reveal these vitally important factors.

Assessments like Meyers-Briggs, DISC, Wilson Learning, Hogan and dozens of other frequently used assessments only see the surface traits. The graph below shows three job candidates who all look alike on the surface where most assessments stop.  All three profiled as Commander/Organizers with Relater as the backup style and Entertainer the least preferred style. But when you get beneath the surface, the story is very different. These are personal effectiveness profiles of actual people who applied for a management job.

The development and coping patterns of the first candidate reveal a high performer with a lot of patience with both processes and people, great coping skills and a very high degree emotional intelligence.

The patterns in the second graph reveal a task focused individual who is very impatient and nit-picky around getting tasks done and who has no effective people skills and ineffective coping strategies.

The patterns in the third graph reveal a high maintenance employee with no effective coping skills and no emotional intelligence to help them manage day to day stressors.       



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Power Shift

Power Shift