The Arbitrator leadership type strives for peace, harmony, and cooperation. Arbitrators are excellent planners and let their reports know exactly what they expect of them. Mature arbitrators are empathetic, easygoing, and supportive. When derailing, Arbitrators eschew responsibility, avoid conflict, and lose credibility. Leadership coaching can help Arbitrators overcome their derailing tendencies.

“At all events, arbitration is more rational, just, and humane than the resort to the sword.” – Richard Cobden.

Arbitrators are among the most open, honest, and just leaders. With an Arbitrator, employees, peers, and other stakeholders always know where they stand. Unlike Drivers, the Arbitrator leadership type does not seek to dominate its environment. Instead, Arbitrators adapt and get along with people seamlessly. To this end, they won’t hesitate to do their best to bring people together and get them to cooperate in service of a higher goal.

conflict management

Arbitrators are great at managing conflict.

Unfortunately, this focus on finding common ground may deny derailing Arbitrators the ability to set clear goals, keep people accountable, and establish a well-defined vision.

Characteristics of the Arbitrator Leadership Type

The environment is the centerpiece that defines many leadership types. And it plays an essential role in setting the characteristics of predominantly Arbitrator leaders. Arbitrators’ relationship with their environment is one of harmony. When they derail, however, Arbitrators no longer feel at peace with their environment. They may feel they can’t fit in and abandon their leadership responsibilities.

Mature Arbitrators are great active listeners and mediators. They bring diverse people together with ease and facilitate collaboration. A mature Arbitrator is empathetic and provides effective support to others.

Middle-of-the-road Arbitrators find it more difficult to fit into their environments. They dislike change, perceiving it as a headwind against their efforts to adapt. They may turn passive and lose focus. When they lose focus, their decision-making suffers. They procrastinate and lose the edge their adaptable leadership style confers them.

Derailing Arbitrators surrender their mediator leadership skills and neglect conflict resolution. They don’t play to their strengths and may become complacent to the point of not doing anything.

A derailing Arbitrator may become helpless and irresponsible. Instead of tackling conflicts, such leaders avoid them or may even deny their existence.

Leadership coaching can help derailing and middle-of-the-road Arbitrators recognize their shortcomings and identify the challenges they face.

Challenges Faced by Arbitrator Leaders

Adaptability and conflict resolution are two strengths of the Arbitrator leadership type. They’re also the main sources of challenges Arbitrators face in leadership. By focusing too much on others, some Arbitrators may become disconnected from their environments. They may feel they don’t belong. Neglecting themselves, they may find they don’t have a mission and purpose in life.


A purpose lends direction to leaders and employees.

Without a purpose, it’s difficult to consider anything important. Derailing Arbitrators may find themselves neglecting their projects deeming them uninteresting and unimportant. Commitment issues often plague Arbitrators who aren’t self-aware enough to recognize that there is a problem.

Executive coaching helps leaders recognize their challenges. A good leadership coach can help you identify your leadership tendencies and traits and establish whether you are an Arbitrator.

Recognizing the Arbitrator trait in Yourself

How do you know you are an Arbitrator? And how do you know you are mature enough to play to the strengths of this leadership type?

If you are empathetic, a good listener, and have no problems accepting yourself and others, you may be a mature Arbitrator.

If you fit this leadership type, you are probably also a good facilitator and conflict manager.

Arbitrators know their value. And they can inspire their followers to put their differences aside and work together toward a higher goal.

Peace and harmony are among the basic motivations of Arbitrators.

Arbitrator Leadership Style

Strong conflict management skills make good leaders. In their quest to achieve peace and harmony, Arbitrators develop strong planning and management skills. Effective conflict resolution in leadership also requires high emotional intelligence and self-awareness.

Using these skills, effective Arbitrators create efficient organizational structures, defining the roles and responsibilities of every employee clearly. This overarching clarity earns employee appreciation and loyalty. People like to know what their leaders expect of them, and Arbitrators are more than willing to provide clarity.

We all appreciate clarity.

Predominantly Arbitrator leaders prefer to keep a low profile and let their actions praise their leadership. Their constant yearning for peace and harmony can hamstring Arbitrators, making them less likely to criticize their reports and peers.

Derailing Arbitrators may avoid conflict to such a degree that they lose credibility and become unable to inspire their followers.

Tips for Strengthening the Arbitrator Trait

Leadership coaching can help Arbitrators identify their strengths and weaknesses. Here’s what leaders can do to make the most of their Arbitrator tendencies:

  • Focus on assertiveness. Arbitrators should make a point of focusing on their needs as well as the needs of others. Those who neglect themselves risk becoming disconnected and derailing.
  • Break routine. Arbitrators value tradition and routine. By doing things differently now and then, they can discover better, more effective ways of accomplishing their goals.
  • Recognize their limits. Setting limits to their willingness to compromise can help Arbitrators limit their weaknesses. It can also send a positive message to their employees about their assertiveness.
  • Open up about their feelings. Arbitrators who discuss their feelings with close confidantes, like friends or leadership coaches, can control their derailing tendencies better.

Arbitrators dislike conflict and strife. They value peace and harmony above everything. Leaders who possess predominantly Arbitrator traits, fear being disconnected from others.

Such leaders are patient, empathetic, and good at managing conflict. When assertive enough, they can build highly functional teams that are valuable assets to their organizations.

contact us


Back to blog