While the alpha male is most often credited with leadership potential, the lesser-known sigma male might actually be the superior leader. The hierarchy of social archetypes is as follows:
The alpha pack leader and the beta follower are the most well-known of the social archetypes, but the sigma’s position shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated.
12 Traits That Make Sigma Males Excellent Leaders
There are many traits that make sigma males excellent leaders. These characteristics distinguish them from the alpha male. The following traits are notable in the sigma personality.
1. They Have Leadership Qualities Without a Hunger for Power
One key difference between the alpha and sigma males is that alphas hunger for power. An alpha male will seek out power and fight to keep it. The sigma male, on the other hand, doesn’t seek power but will excel in leadership positions if he finds himself in one.
Oftentimes, the sigma becomes an unintentional leader. Because he has qualities that are much admired by others, he’s often thrust into leadership positions. While he’s not resistant to them, he doesn’t have a driving need to seek them out, to wrestle for power, or to fight to keep it.
Instead, he keeps living from a place of deep integrity that fuels his leadership abilities. He won’t see other people as his competition and will instead create collaborative relationships that may help keep him in the position of power without a need to fight to maintain it.
2. They Are Excellent Listeners
Sigma men are excellent listeners, an important trait for any leader. The alpha male is typically more domineering while the sigma male is happy to sit back and share the spotlight, learning from those around him and collaborating rather than competing.
Because sigmas are typically more introverted than their alpha counterparts, they often lead quietly — doing a job without creating a spectacle around it. The sigma male is listening to the people around him, and this creates positive relationships in the workplace. The people under his direction feel seen and heard, and this can help them stay motivated and productive.
While alpha leaders might ignore the pack in favor of their own desires, the sigma male takes into consideration the desire of the group and makes decisions accordingly.
3. They Are Self-Aware and Self-Motivated
The sigma male has two key qualities that contribute to making him an amazing leader: he is both self-aware and self-motivated. He might not seek out power, but he will step up when necessary. He’s keenly aware of his strengths and challenges and will delegate when needed to make sure that a job doesn’t just get done but gets done right.
This can make the sigma male a powerful leader. He’s good at assessing strengths on his team and assigning tasks accordingly, and he’s driven enough to complete his own tasks well. Despite his lack of hunger for power, it looks good on him.
4. They Lead by Example
Alpha males lead and are generally seen as superior to all other social archetypes, but the sigma male leads by example even when he’s not in a leadership position. Because he’s fiercely independent and a bit of a wild card, he often inspires others simply by doing his own thing and doing it so well that it stirs admiration. Often, others will follow his lead even when someone else is in charge.
Sigmas might be quieter than alphas, but they are confident and self-assured in a way that draws attention. This is how they often end up in leadership positions that they didn’t really plan to take on in the first place. They work hard and care about quality, and it shows.
5. They Have an Internal Compass that Guides Their Decisions
Another admirable quality of the sigma male is that he has an internal compass that guides all of his decisions. He is not influenced by outside pressure, and he’s not preoccupied about what other people think of him. Instead, he’s got very specific ideas about what is right and wrong, and he allows that internal guidance to drive him forward.
This can make a sigma male a difficult person to have on the team of a more controlling alpha, but it also makes him excel in leadership positions. He can see what needs to be done and will do it — often asking forgiveness rather than permission when he feels it’s necessary.
Make no mistake — if something needs doing, he’ll be the one to step up and get it done, but he doesn’t just follow orders. He acts in accordance with his own ethics and no one else’s.
6. They Won’t Micromanage You
A sigma male has absolutely no interest in looking over your shoulder to micromanage every move you make. Why would he? He assigns work out based on strengths, and he has faith in people to do their work without feeling a need to hover as they do it. His faith in others inspires most of his subordinates to step up and do a job and do it well.
While alphas might be constantly telling you how to do a job better, a sigma male is an excellent leader because he instills confidence in his team.
He’s not going to trust an important task to someone who’s unlikely to fulfill it, and he doesn’t need to account for every single detail of a worker’s day to trust that they are doing their jobs. This can make the sigma male both an excellent leader and an absolute pleasure to work under.
7. They Stay Authentic
The sigma male has another notable quality that contributes to his leadership abilities: he’s always authentic. He doesn’t change because he’s gotten a little power. He doesn’t become someone else because of outside pressure. Also, he stays true to himself, and it’s an inspiration to others.
While absolute power is said to corrupt absolutely, this rule of thumb might not apply to the sigma male with his penchant for independent thought and inquiry. He’s less likely than other social archetypes to be influenced and manipulated. He’s likely to stay down-to-earth no matter what position or salary assigned to him.
8. They Are Excellent Problem Solvers
The sigma male is good at many things, but problem solving is one of them. Because he is a critical thinker, he can think far outside the box to find solutions to everyday problems. He can look at situations from many angles to determine the best course of action.
Because he’s not power hungry or competetive, he has more energy to devote to solving real problems. He can collaborate with others as needed and can delegate when necessary to help resolve pressing issues that pop up.
He’s also open to listening to others to find solutions because he doesn’t feel like he’s the only person capable of good ideas. He also won’t take credit for someone else’s work, which helps him solve problems while earning the admiration of those around him.
9. They Treat People Based on Character and Not Perceived Social Status
While the alpha male is occasionally known to ingratiate himself to more senior leaders, the sigma male sees no need to do this. In point of fact, the sigma man has a tendency to treat people based on their actions and character and not their perceived social status. He’s not the type to accord more respect to the CEO than to the cleaning staff.
This is one of the most powerful traits of the sigma male. Other people might climb over colleagues to reach the next rung on the ladder of success, but sigma males are more likely to give others a hand and treat everyone equally no matter how far up or down the ladder they find themselves. He just doesn’t care about status because he’s too centered in his own integrity.
10. They Are Adaptable to Changes
One reason the sigma man excels at leadership is because he’s adaptable to change. When leadership comes his way, he can step up into the role and do it well. When company policy pivots dramatically, he can figure out how to make it work for him. He stays on his toes and can find a silver lining in changing situations.
It’s not that the sigma male is unaffected by change or enjoys it. He can be made as uncomfortable as anyone else when life shifts unexpectedly. He’s just learned to feel his feelings and then got on with it. He’s the person most will want in charge when major changes come down the pike because he’ll handle it with calm when others might panic.
11. They Are Assertive
The sigma male may not be considered the top of the food change in the social hierarchy, but never underestimate him. He’s assertive. He goes after what he wants and is capable of communicating his needs. His clear and direct communication is an admirable quality in any relationship and makes him an excellent leader.
Unlike the alpha, the sigma male’s assertiveness never crosses into aggression. He doesn’t want to lead by force or intimidation when he can inspire instead. He has no problem advocating for what he wants, but he’s not going to run over anyone else in the process.
12. They Don’t Require Outside Validation
The sigma male doesn’t need or seek approval. He’s not concerned with his approval ratings or even his performance review. He’s only concerned with his internal valuation of how he’s doing. He does not need any further validation than his own.
This is powerful for anyone but especially for a leader. He’s not constantly overworking himself to chase down someone’s good opinion. He does exactly what he needs to do and trusts that his best is good enough.
A Final Word About Sigma Males as Leaders
The alpha is a powerful leader, but the sigma male should never be discounted. His power is quieter but no less strong. Even when he’s not in a leadership position, the way he lives still inspires and leads the people around him.