Guardian Creative Profile
What is the 5 Voices?
Everyone Speaks. Not Everyone is heard.
Everyone has a leadership voice, whether they know it or not. From the most quiet to the most gregarious, we all have the ability to lead others.
The problem is most people don't know their leadership voice or how to use it. Some don't know what it is, others are insecure in their voice and have been told it is unimportant, and others immaturely overuse their voice and dominate the airwaves.
The 5 Voices is designed to help every individual discover their leadership voice and be empowered to use it effectively.
Can you imagine a team of people who were self-aware, knew how to communicate, and were able to bring their best to the table everyday? What would that do for culture? For productivity? For Profitability?
In short, a lot.
We believe teams and whole organizations can be transformed when everyone operates securely in their own voice and learns to value the voices of others.
The 5 Voices helps achieve the following objectives:
Greater Self Awareness
Learn your voice and understand what it's like to be on the other side of your leadership.
Discover the sweet spots of those on your team, get better aligned, and reach higher levels of performance.
Communicate what you mean without people taking it the wrong way and getting offended.
Delegate more effectively to save time and increase productivity.
Quicker Decision Making
Learn how to listen better, ask helpful questions, and make quicker decisions.
The 5 Voices Assumptions
Our "Voice" is made up of all 5 Voices
Some voices are more natural to us than others
Maturity allows us to value the contribution each voice brings
Nature, Nurture, and Choice have all played a part
Don't assume you know what someone else's foundational voice is
Don't assume you know what each word means
Your Foundational Voice
The Guardian Creative
Guardians have a relentless commitment to ask the difficult questions.
They will always seek to honor the past as teams look towards the future.
They accept as personal the commitment to deliver projects on time and on budget.
They have the ability to detach decision-making from personal sentiments.
They are naturally risk averse asking "is it worth the risk and investment?"
They respect and value logic, order, systems and repeatable processes.
Their desire for truth and right decisions can sometimes override the feelings of others.
Due diligence, resources, and efficient systems and processes.
What to watch out for
Guardians are risk averse, can be negative, and bring excessive critique.
You make up 30% of the global population.
How to empower them
Welcome their challenging critique and commitment to due diligence.
Your Voice Order
Your foundational Voice is Guardian. Guardians are the champions of due diligence, resources, and efficient systems and processes, which we explained in more detail in the previous section. This is your strongest Voice through which you view the world, and the Voice through which all other Voices are expressed.
Your secondary Voice is Creative. The Creative Voice is the most future-oriented Voice, and is the champion of new ideas, innovation, and integrity.
In the 5 Voices model, the secondary Voice plays a crucial role in how you express your overall “Voice”, which is why your Voice combination is referred to as “Guardian Creative”.
The Creative Voice is highly adept at developing innovative solutions and ideas for problems you are trying to solve. As your second Voice, it is expressed through the lens of your first Voice Guardian and serves a strong complementary role to it as well. This means that you leverage the Creative Voice’s outside-the-box-thinking, ability to see patterns that others miss, and creative ingenuity to help your Guardian Voice develop effective, efficient, and scalable solutions to key problems.
The combination of these two Voices as your top two strengths means that while you have a strong command of details and processes, you remain flexible and open minded to the bigger picture, to innovation, and have a knack for building innovative systems. This is especially true when it comes to very tactile industries and problems.
Pioneer is your tertiary Voice, sometimes referred to as your third Voice. The Pioneer Voice is the champion of strategic vision, results, and problem-solving.
In the 5 Voices model, the tertiary Voice is typically a Voice that you value and can access when it’s helpful, but might be more of a learned strength than a natural one.
Also, because it’s third on the list, your expression of the Pioneer Voice will be shaped through the filter of your first two Voices (the Guardian and Creative). It will not be the same as a first Voice Pioneer. In fact, you tend to utilize your Pioneer Voice in specific situations to support your first two Voices.
For example, after you have used the Guardian/Creative strengths of your Voice to develop an innovative solution that makes a key process better and more efficient, you will likely tap into the Pioneer’s strength, persuasiveness, and strategic thinking to help you convince others that your solution is the right one and why it makes the most sense. You also tap into the Pioneer Voice’s strong bent towards competition and the desire to win, especially for individual, physical challenges.
Your 4th Voice, also known as your blindspot, is Nurturer. The Nurturer Voice is the champion of people, relational harmony, and values.
In the 5 Voices model, your 4th Voice is your blindspot because it’s typically the Voice (of the 5) that you might assume you are better at than you really are. For example, you may connect with the Nurturer’s attention to detail and present-focused orientation in how you process and engage with the world. But whereas a first Voice Nurturer thrives on caring for the immediate physical and emotional needs of another, that would likely be tiring (and maybe a little boring) if you have to do it for an extended length of time.
Instead, the Guardian / Creative prefers to deal in systems, processes, and objective, pragmatic problems. Additionally, they are usually master trouble-shooters (especially in tactile situations). That’s why you will likely find yourself expressing the Nurturer Voice care for others in the systems you build and the problems you can help people solve. Finding ways to utilize these passions to help you serve and care for others is likely a healthy and enjoyable expression of the Nurturer Voice for you.
Take time to understand the value of the Nurturer Voice and identify ways for you to step into maturing in this Voice over time.
Your 5th Voice, also known as your Nemesis, is the Connector. The Connector Voice is the champion of relational networks, internal collaboration, and effective communication. The reason we call this your nemesis Voice is because Connectors see the world in a way that is diametrically opposed from how you see the world.
This doesn’t mean that you cannot tap into the strength and values of the Connector Voice, it just means it will typically be the most difficult Voice for you to access and appreciate.
How does this manifest in your Voice? Well, it means that the typical characteristics of the Connector - constant networking and communication with people, as well as grand and sometimes abstract visioning of relational-oriented initiatives - can wear you out quickly. Instead, Guardian Creatives tend to express their Connector Voice when speaking with other highly competent, technical professionals in an area that interests them as well.
However, the Connector Voice is an area of growth for the Guardian Creative. Learning some simple habits and tips to connect with others, open up, and express yourself as a person (not just a highly competent contributor) will help you with your expression of the Connector Voice.
By taking time to understand how Connectors view the world as well as how they process information, and make decisions, it will help you increase your maturity in using this Voice.
Strengths & Challenges
Guardians Creatives love adventure, competition and exploring the limits of their physical capacity. Many are gifted athletes. They are natural troubleshooters and love the challenge to solve complex practical challenges. They readily assimilate concrete data and logically compute the most rational and strategic next steps. Fiercely practical, they enjoy getting their hands dirty and taking things apart to understand them.
Repetitive, routine work, day after day is not life giving. Guardians/Creatives dislike imposed structure or being told how they are going to live. They struggle in highly interdependent team environments and do not easily delegate work to others. They often struggle to connect with those outside their inner circle.
Suggested Growth Opportunities
Learning how to connect emotionally and share your fears with those closest to you, particularly your spouse, family and close friends. Recognize people lead in different ways and that by example is just as valid as by great speeches and oratory. Refuse to be defined by your school reports and recognize that the current educational process doesn’t suit your preferences. Accept that things can be true and valid without needing to be factually proven. Discovery and new inventions happen when people push conceptual boundaries!
Stress & Triggers
What happens under moderate stress?
You are unable to get away from people and pressing demands to process the data you are taking in. You are doing work that is repetitive and routine day after day. You get lost in detail and become critical and judgmental towards others.
What happens under extreme stress?
You start to question your own worth and become overly emotional. You question out loud whether you have been a good parent, colleague, etc.
The Danger Zone represents the potential we all have to hurt others with our words and actions when we are frustrated, unaware, accidental, or immature. Like weapons that can hurt others, these are harmful patterns of behavior that can be triggered by certain things that are unique to each Voice. It's important that we are aware of these things so that we can know ourselves to lead ourselves in a healthier direction. If we do not, we risk undermining ourselves, our relationships, and the team at large.
When a Guardian enters the Danger Zone, the damage they can do can be thought of like an Interrogator who is relentlessly interrogating their subject and making them feel uncomfortable.
• Relentless Questioning
• Sharp Tone
• Lack of Empathy
• Use hard questions to make people feel dumb, exposed, incompetent or worthless
Understanding Your Triggers
There are certain things that can trigger you to step into the danger zone. It's important that you are aware of these and spot them before it's too late.
• Lack of trust in others credibility
• Unnecessary risk taking
• Unresponsive arrogance
• When illogical people appear incompetent
What does a healthy Guardian Creative look like?
They have the ability to assess their current physical reality, diagnose the problem, and formulate a logical, rational response. They have the capacity to troubleshoot and react appropriately and strategically even under the most intense pressure. They have the capacity to appropriately ask the piercing question that invariably goes to the heart of the problem.
How do they stay healthy?
They need to schedule time away from the external demands of people and practical tasks to be able to order their internal world. They need to schedule adventure in the external world, one where they can test their competency and skills invariably with their small circle of like-minded friends. They need to find non-routine work environments where they can constantly test their skills against complex technical and physical challenges each day.
What does an unhealthy Guardian Creative look like?
When they find themselves overwhelmed by people and the practical responsibility of caring for others. When they don’t take time to develop their practical skills and hone them in the company of their closest friends. When they find themselves questioning their worth. This is often triggered when they are without meaningful work and the capacity to apply their expertise to solve complex practical problems each day.
I need you to respect my professionalism, competence, and desire to bring order, systems, and processes to life. Let me ask my questions and do my due diligence. Value the real me that lies behind my logical, rational questions and critique.
Connecting with Others
One of the most powerful uses of the 5 Voices is learning how to connect with others in an effective and productive way. To help you understand how to do that, take a look at the 5 Voices Dynamics tool, and learn the rules of engagement for each of the other Voices below.
[Warning: Do not assume you know what someone else's Voice is. Let them tell you what Voice they connect with before using these methods of connection]
The 5 Voices Dynamics is a powerful tool for understanding the primary differences between each of the 5 Voices. The simple, visual way it displays these differences allows us to easily facilitate conversations about significant team dynamics like team synergies, core strengths, key differences, and potential conflicts.
We start by defining the two axes that highlight the core functions/perspectives of each Voice.
The horizontal axis defines how people Process Information.
The vertical axis defines how people Make Decisions.
The two ends of the spectrum on each axis represent the primary differences in the Voices.
For the horizontal axis we discuss the dynamic of processing information from either a Present Oriented or Future Oriented perspective.
Present Oriented processors are focused on what they can touch, taste, see, hear, and feel. They live in the present and immediate world of today.
Future Oriented processors are focused on what is possible. They live in the future and more abstract world of possibilities that "could be" for tomorrow.
For the vertical axis we discuss the dynamic of decision making from either a Systems & Logic or People & Values perspective. Those who prefer to make decisions based on Systems & Logic will prefer using logical, rational, fact-based criteria that makes strategic sense within a particular system or framework. They value the "objective truth" as more important than feelings, emotions, or relational harmony. Separating their decisions from emotions and relational considerations enables them to make hard decisions. However, without developing a high level of emotional intelligence, this can leave others with the feeling that they are cold, calculating, or impersonal.
On the other hand, those who prefer to make decisions based on People & Values will prioritize relational harmony, impact on people, and alignment with core values. They value the health and betterment of people and relationships as the definition of success. This makes them strong champions of people and culture, but it can undermine the effectiveness of their decisions or influence with others if they don't support their position with a basis in fact and logical reasoning.
The location of each Voice is significant in how it informs our understanding of Team Dynamics.
Understanding that the Voices positioned opposite one another are diametrically opposed in their perspectives of how they take in information and make decisions is a key insight.
We call them Nemesis Voices. Nemesis does not mean they must be enemies, just that these people are wired to think opposite of each other. They must watch out for conflict and be intentional to recognize the value each brings.
In summary, these two axes represent the two most fundamental dynamics of personality that most significantly influence behavior.
Using this tool to better understand our team and ourselves will help us become stronger and more intentional resulting in higher performing teams.
Connecting with Connectors
When connecting with Connectors, it’s important to remember that they are the champions of relational networks, internal collaboration, and effective communication. As a Guardian, you are the champion of due diligence, resources, and efficient systems and processes.
Connectors are directly opposite of you in how they process information, and how they make decisions. This doesn’t mean they have to be your enemy, it just means they see the world in a way that is diametrically opposed from how you see the world.
Neither view is better or worse than the other, they are simply different. Each Voice is valuable and brings a certain perspective and skill that the other does not have. It is crucial that you are aware of these differences as you seek to connect with Connectors.
Connectors are very future-oriented, whereas you are very present-oriented. They have a high capacity to understand abstract concepts, and love innovation. Whenever you are working with a Connector, allow space for them to brainstorm ideas, new possibilities, and envision the future. Be mindful of your bent towards pragmatism and concreteness, especially when the Connector is in "ideation mode".
Connectors are highly relational by nature. They prefer to make decisions based on relational harmony, prioritizing how the decision will affect the people involved. This does not mean that they avoid using logic when making decisions, simply that their default starting point is based on relationships. When interacting with Connectors, you will find it more difficult to understand and appreciate their approach to decision making because this is less aligned with how you make decisions. You prefer to make decisions based on what is most logical, rational, and fair.
Rules of Engagement for Connecting with Connectors
• Encourage Connectors to sell their ideas as passionately as they can.
• When Connectors share a new idea with you, don’t critique it at first. Start by celebrating, and only begin collaborating if asked. Remind them that your practical and detailed questions are not personal.
• Affirm their energy, passion, and ability to communicate in a way that connects with others.
Connecting with Nurturers
When connecting with Nurturers, it’s important to remember that they are the champions of people, relational harmony, and values. As a Guardian, you are the champion of due diligence, resources, and efficient systems and processes.
Nurturers are very present-oriented, which means they process information with an eye toward the present state of things, absorbing all the details of what is happening in the here and the now, especially as it relates to people. They prefer to move through the world in a sequential way, starting with “what is” and then moving forward one step at a time.
As a Guardian, you operate in a very similar manner. You are also very present-oriented, but will tend to focus more on the systems and logic of the present vs. people and relational harmony. When interacting with Nurturers, you will appreciate their attention to detail and concrete approach to operating.
When it comes to decision making, Nurturers tend to make decisions based on what will maintain or strengthen the relational harmony with those around them. Their sense of personal alignment with their values and care for people override profit every time in the decision-making process. Therefore it is difficult for them to separate their emotions, and the impact of decisions on the relational harmony of the people around them from the decision itself.
Guardians on the other hand tend to make decisions based on what seems logical, rational, objectively true, and operationally effective. It doesn’t mean that you don’t like people, or that you don’t have deeply held values. What it does mean, however, is that you find it easier to separate people, emotions, and the relational impact of actions and decisions from the decision-making process. When push comes to shove, Guardians tend to value objective, logical truth over relational harmony.
When interacting with Nurturers, watch out for your tone, tact, and the relational considerations of the Nurturer. If you can help them see how something makes people’s lives better through a concrete, tangible plan of action then you’ll find them much more receptive to your perspective.
Rules of Engagement for Connecting with Nurturers
• Be intentional to invite the Nurturer’s opinion with sincerity and attentiveness - they represent 43% of the population, whether you like it or not.
• Be careful of critiquing the Nurturer’s idea too quickly; affirm and draw out their thoughts first.
• Affirm the Nurturer’s commitment to champion our people and defend our values.
Connecting with Pioneers
When connecting with Pioneers, it’s important to remember that they are the champions of strategic vision, results-focus, and problem solving. As a Guardian, there are some attributes of the Pioneer Voice that align with how you view the world, with a number of important differences.
Pioneers are very future-oriented, which means they process information with an eye toward the future state of things, using their strategic thinking skills to map out a plan to help them achieve their objectives and win. They prefer to move through the world in an intuitive, big-picture way, starting with asking “what's possible”, articulating a compelling vision, and then drilling down into the details needed to achieve that vision.
Guardians are extremely present-oriented, which strongly contrasts with the Pioneer’s future orientation. You are highly detailed, and prefer to work with concrete information. Your step-by-step approach to understanding the world around you drastically differs from the Pioneer’s intuitive, big picture approach. When it comes to making changes, you prefer incremental adjustments over time, and tend to avoid making drastic changes that a Pioneer would be more comfortable with.
When it comes to decision making, Pioneers prefer to make decisions based on logic, rationale, and fairness. When interacting with Pioneers, you will find it easy to understand and appreciate their approach to decision making because this is highly aligned with how you make decisions.
Rules of Engagement for Connecting with Pioneers
• Invite other Pioneers to give their view or opinion before stating yours.
• Even though they can likely handle it, don’t assume they’re asking you to critique their ideas. Ask first.
• Be mindful of their preference for how reflective or expressive they are, as well as how adaptive or structured they are.
• Commit to giving Pioneers space and authority to pursue the objective - don’t micromanage them.
• Affirm their capacity for strategic thinking and invite them to collaborate to help the team win.
Connecting with Creatives
When connecting with Creatives, it’s important to remember that they are the champions of future ideas, innovation, and organizational integrity. As a Guardian, you are the champion of due diligence, resources, and efficient systems and processes.
Creatives see the world in a very different way than Guardians. Some Creatives are directly opposite of you in how they process information and how they make decisions. Other Creatives make decisions in a similar manner to you, but process information in a drastically different way than you. We’ll explore both types of Creatives in the next few sections.
Neither view is better or worse than the other, they are simply different. Each Voice is valuable and brings a certain perspective and skill that the other does not have. It is crucial that you are aware of these differences as you seek to connect with Creatives.
Creatives are extremely future-oriented where-as you are very present-oriented. When processing information, they start by looking at the big picture. For them, if the vision is compelling enough, they assume they can find a way to achieve it.
More than any other Voice, the Creative spends time thinking about and imagining a world that does not yet exist. Creatives are very comfortable with abstract concepts and ideas, and they aren’t bothered by the lack of specific details when dreaming of something new. Oftentimes their ideas seem disconnected from pragmatism or reality, which might concern or even frustrate you. Allow the Creatives in your life to spend time dreaming of possibilities, and be gentle with your critique of their ideas. Use your question-asking skills to help Creatives hone their ideas into a clear and concrete plan.
When it comes to decision making, there are two types of Creatives you will encounter.
The first is the “Creative Pioneer”, who is more logical by nature. Creative Pioneers prefer to make decisions based on logic, rationale, and fairness. When interacting with these types of Creatives, you will find it easier to understand and appreciate their approach to decision making because this is highly aligned with how you make decisions.
The second is the “Creative Connector”, who is more relational by nature. Creative Connectors prefer to make decisions based on relational harmony, and tend to prioritize how the decision will affect the people involved. This does not mean that they avoid using logic when making decisions, simply that their default starting point is based on relationships. When interacting with these types of Creatives, you will find it more difficult to understand and appreciate their approach to decision making because this is less aligned with how you make decisions.
Rules of Engagement for Connecting with Creatives
• Encourage Creatives to dream big, letting them know it’s okay to be wrong sometimes - no one is perfect.
• Ask clarifying questions and commit to drawing out the Creative’s thought process before critiquing their ideas. Sometimes it takes a few rounds of questioning to mine out the gold in what they are trying to communicate.
• Affirm the Creative’s commitment to integrity and the ability to see the future in a way others can’t.
Connecting with other Guardians
When it comes to connecting with other Guardians, it’s important to remember that you both process and make decisions in a very similar manner. However, this doesn’t always mean that you will align. The most common misalignment between Guardians may arise from differences in how reflective (introverted) vs. expressive (extroverted) they are, as well as differences in how structured vs. adaptable they are. Disagreements between two Guardians can quickly become abrasive, critical, and tense. Leverage the following rules of engagement when connecting with another Guardian.
Rules of Engagement for Connecting with Guardians
• Invite other Guardians to give their view or opinion before stating yours.
• Even though they can likely handle it, don’t assume they’re asking you to critique their work. Ask first.
• Be mindful of their preference for how reflective or expressive they are, as well as how adaptive or structured they are.
• Commit to giving Guardians space and authority to create efficient processes and systems - don’t micromanage them.