In Archetypes, Ruler

The Ruler Archetype Culture

In Allegory’s CultureTalk survey, one of the ways organizational culture is measured is by aligning survey results against Carl Jung’s 12 archetypes. These archetypal patterns help us understand the common values, beliefs, and actions of a group of people. One of these storylines is the Ruler archetype.

Taking control and leading

The king, the president, or the top of their class, Rulers are the absolute best at what they do. They know how to step into the limelight and take control. Through policies, procedures, and an authoritative personality, these cultures push until everything is done correctly.

Ruler archetype strengths

Rulers are often politically savvy and well connected. They navigate comfortably in highly regulated environments like government, military, or financial institutions. With an inherent understanding of checks and balances, Rulers know how to engage every key stakeholder to push important decisions and make major change happen. Ruler cultures can be recognized by their experience, leadership, and authoritarian habits. 

Even in a commanding role, however, these teams and organizations measure each step against what would be socially responsible. Like the White House or British Parliament, they will design complex systems to maintain order and protect the world from chaos. They know how to balance the input of disparate groups while working their hard-earned little black books of connections.

The Ruler archetype is most likely to:

  • Quote Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill
  • Have a team of loyal followers
  • Be the most expensive option
  • Have color-coded charts and alphabetized notes

Ruler archetype shadow sides and obstacles

Using the archetypes to help us define cultures allows us to see the strengths…and possible obstacles. These shadow sides help everyone involved communicate more clearly and right size their expectations.

If you walked into a Ruler culture, you may hear someone barking orders or making demands. Like wearing a crown, power can sometimes go to their heads…and they may take it a little to far. And, because Rulers are so good at navigating bureaucracy, they sometimes lean on it too much. Their own systems can get in the way of progress, like having too many check boxes on a list. Lastly, because Rulers are often brought in when others haven’t stepped up, they’re likely to ruffle a couple feathers.

Brooks Brothers

  • As quoted by the National Retail Federation, Chairman and CEO, Claudio Del Vecchio, said, “We are not good because we are old, but rather, we are old because we are good.”
  • Del Vecchio was also quoted saying, “I am more interested in hearing from our customers than watching other businesses. We have a mandate to lead not watch.”
  • Browse through their website and marketing materials and you’ll find phrases like “Brooks Brothers is an American icon,” or “The first to offer …”
  • Scan employee reviews on Indeed and you’ll see people referencing class, timelessness, excellence, and devotion

British Airways

  • British Airways strives to be “the most admired airline”
  • Employees are quick to memorize the story of their founding. It goes back to the origins of civil aviation when Air Transport & Travel opened the world’s first daily commercial passenger service
  • They boast a lot of firsts: first commercial scheduled service, first commercial jet and super sonic service, first fully flat business class beds, first airline in Europe to operate both the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner
  • The team’s values mirror their “heritage of excellence” with 90 years of premier service

The Ruler archetype is often the champion of making the final decision, or engineering the plan to get a complicated program up and running. Choosing to foster this culture can help employees find structure and pride, because they know they work for the best in the business. However, the Ruler likely needs one of the other 12 archetypes to help it laugh a little or feel comfortable giving an occasional hug.

Culture Survey

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