Can you lead as a Lone Wolf?

“A lone wolf doesn’t tread paths its ilk leaves; it makes its own footprints in the snow.” In this episode, I cover some internal reflections on how I am perceived as a teammate. Am I truly a lone wolf, or do I simply exhibit certain tendencies that are based on my personality type?

After realizing I needed to do some self-reflection and based on feedback from my peers, I realized I might be a lone wolf. So like any paranoid leader, I did some research to see if in fact I was a lone wolf. I found a list of 9 signs you have a lone wolf personality, of which I bolded the signs that I see in myself: 

  1. You’re a self-starter. 
  2. You’re a rebel without a cause.
  3. You have no interest in being the life of the party. – There is a difference between being sociable and being gregarious. Sometimes being social means putting yourself out there and having fun. That is not the lone wolf’s idea of a good time because you prefer to be your own person without trying to please other people.
  4. You’re not afraid to say “no”. – When people do things that other people expect them to do, then they are following convention and abiding by society’s standards. A lone wolf would not feel obligated to go along with the crowd and is likely to do things on their own terms.
  5. You’re a loner.
  6. You’re a little introverted.
  7. You don’t need constant validation from other people. – Many people seek the approval of others, but not the lone wolf. You believe that you are responsible for your own lives and tend to avoid letting other people tell you what to do. You prefer to be in control of your own life and make decisions without worrying about what other people will think of you.
  8. You have a very fixed moral code.
  9. You’re a good judge of character. – You tend to make your own decisions and do not let other people influence you. This allows you to trust your intuition and avoid getting involved with people who are not genuine or authentic. If you have a hard time trusting others, then you might be a lone wolf.

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In addition, here is another article that explains the lone wolf as a “confident individualist.” I’ve again placed in bold the traits that I see in myself: 

Confident Individualists tend to trust in themselves. They enjoy their own company and don’t mind spending time alone to pursue their interests. Over time, this can give these personalities an impressive range of skills and interesting ideas.

But these types take pride in their skills for their own sake, not to impress others. They tend not to see the point in social displays and bragging. While they’re proud of who they are, these personality types don’t always feel the need to prove themselves to anyone else. They prefer substance to superficiality and personal honesty to playing along.

Confident Individualists are motivated by their inner world rather than outside expectations. They’re opinionated, but they aren’t excessively worried about what others think. These personality types express their thoughts unapologetically. They’re rarely pressured into agreeing with others – even if agreeing would be more convenient.

Confident Individualists bring their love of independence into their academic and professional pursuits. They’re more likely than any other Strategy to say that learning as part of a group is distracting rather than helpful. As you can imagine, group projects can be frustrating for these personality types – whether at school or in the workplace.

This isn’t to say that Confident Individualists can’t work well with others – far from it. But if given a choice, these types would prefer to operate independently and figure things out on their own. At school, these personalities may be drawn to independent study opportunities. At work, they may try to develop a specific area of expertise that allows them to make their own decisions and do most of their tasks on their own.

Confident Individualists tend to hone their ideas and skills on their own, and they often prefer to work alone. That said, these personalities may be willing to take up the reins of leadership if that’s what is necessary to turn those ideas and skills into real-world progress.

Here are my final thoughts on whether or not you can lead as a lone wolf:
No. You can’t lead as a lone wolf. As a matter of fact, you can’t lead a team of one. However, one may exhibit tendencies of a lone wolf…but that’s ok. Maybe that’s just how they need to operate for a bit before they come back to the fold. Don’t take those behaviors as being offensive to you. Understand your teammates and meet them where they are at. Sometimes you actually want to work with someone like that because they can take action and deliver results faster than others (assuming it isn’t at the expense of the team). Understand your wolf pack and get shit done.