In our everyday lives, we are exposed to many different archetypes whether we realize it or not. These can be found in every movie, tv show, book, or even game we play. These archetypes allow us to better understand characters and better relate to them. The interesting thing though is that archetypes exist in real life as well. This can be seen in our types of friends, professors, coaches, family, co-workers, and bosses. Being able to identify and understand archetypes can help someone get a better, deeper, understanding of the people they are dealing with.
Now a lot of people would confuse archetyping as stereotyping but the two are completely different. Stereotyping has a negative connotation due to the fact that most stereotypes are not good. Stereotypes tend to be negative and apply a general belief to a specific type of person. For example, a stereotype would be a statement such as “all blonde girls are dumb.” This is a generalized statement that associates the color of a girl’s hair to the level of her intelligence. The worst part about stereotyping is that it can affect the behaviors of people dealing with a person affected by the stereotype. For example, someone might ask a brunette woman for directions over a blonde woman standing next to her based on the fact that they believe in the stereotype that blonde women are dumb. The brunette woman may not know the directions needed, and the blonde woman may know them, but because of the stereotype one automatically goes towards the brunette. The difference between an archetype is that it’s a very specific example of a type of person. An example of an archetype, in order to contrast the earlier mentioned stereotype, would be a statement such as ” there are dumb blondes, smart blondes, tall blondes, short blondes.” This breaks down the generalization that “all blonde girls are dumb,” and says that there are some blondes that are smart, some that are dumb, some that are tall, and so on.
A good way to spot archetypes is to take a second and try to think of the people you encounter every day. I play volleyball and have been a part of several different volleyball teams. When most people think of volleyball players they tend to use stereotypes. The most common stereotype I hear about volleyball players is “All volleyball players are tall.”
That statement is invalid for volleyball players range in various different heights both tall and short. When I think of volleyball players or my teammates, I see archetypes instead of stereotypes. I am not the only person who has witnessed these archetypes, as there is a video called “How to be a Volleyball Player,” which highlights a few of them. Although these archetypes tend to show the more comical types of players, there are volleyball player archetypes that can be deeply analyzed. Coaches can use these archetypes to understand their players and look for ways to help them develop as a player, and help the team become better as a whole.
Archetypes encourage a deeper understanding of different types of people. It allows us to move away from the generalization of groups and goes into specifics. This is very important to understand when managing people, especially technical people. There are many types of technical people and as a manager, you should not try to deal or relate to them in the exact same way. A huge key to success as a leader is to understand your employees, and how they work. A great way to better understand them would be to analyze their archetype in order to better understand how they function.