Archetypes and Empathy, Falcons and Falcons

John Freeman


This very first article is my personal review and two cents concerning the first -couple-of-pages chapter of “The Geek Leader’s Handbook” by Paul Glen and Maria McManus. The chapter begins with the title “Archetypes not Stereotypes” and from there we can tell which part of the book this is; When you’re writing a book about how to handle a certain type of people in a business, no matter your intention, you’re going to put together something in the intro that says “where not trying to be overly stereotypical”. The book will cover all the different ways a business leader-and employee- should deal with a Geek and I don’t blame it. Archetyping an Enthusiast in an analytical field such as computers or engineering is actually a way for people to better “connect” in the workplace.

Say a guy is going to meet his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. Ever. Their relationship is wonderful, they relate well and he is excited to be with her.  Sadly, they also have communication problems. He has no idea what type of a family she came from and he is caught off-guard with his girlfriend’s parents who are computer Engineers. Awkward situation after awkward situation continue with this family, and he just doesn’t relate to either parent. Because the boyfriend is a sporty MMA fighter. Eventually comes drama. What could have prevented this disaster of a first impression? Communication and a little pre-clarity. No matter who they are or what the situation, an accurate pre-conceived notion on the type of people you’re going to meet is very important. It’s about mandatory if these are people you’re going to work with.

When you are in a situation where you are cooperating with someone you don’t relate to, you can be easily taken-back. Learning Archetypes of different types of people is a way for us to be less threatened by people we have never met, or vice versa.

One suggestion I would make that helps one understand Archetypes is Empathy. I will talk about his only because it is one of my highest personality traits, I feel I understand it enough to relate to the many concepts in this book (and not because I’m only at 367 words so far). Empathy is the ability to feel and understand the feelings of another; it is the ability to put yourself in someone else shoes. Empathy doesn’t just help people “feel other’s feelings” it helps a person understand that people are not going to be like him. Say a Marvel comics enthusiast has a friend who only does sports. Empathy is something that allows either person to go “I have no interest in what he likes, but I can understand what it’s like to get excited over the word Falcon” To empathize is to have more adaptability and base relation towards another Archetype of person, no matter how far-off from the spectrum they are.

Thus Archetyping is never a bad thing (if it is it’s called something else) and it is a good concept to learn about in business. There is a wide assortment of Geeks out there and both Geeks and non-Geeks should learn to be comfortable towards each other, and adapt to each others presence. Everyone has a certain amount of Empathy, and both Empathy and good communication will help one run a good business alongside the Engineers and Computer Technicians of today.


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