Forceful, yet disciplined; aggressive, yet deferential to established authority. Stags are so influential and vital to the establishment of our society that they are often looked upon as the quintessential Gatherer. More than any of their Gatherer siblings, Stags embody the idea of community, teamwork, and order. More supervising than the auditing Beavers, Stags are natural leaders who believe they have a responsibility to ensure that every individual is on the same page when it comes to reaching a common objective; one that will benefit society in a practical way.
The Authority Figure
I don’t gripe to you, Reiben. I’m a Captain. We have a chain of command. Gripes go up, not down. Always up. You gripe to me, I gripe to my superior officer, and so on and so on and so on. I don’t gripe to you. I don’t gripe in front of you. You should know that, as a Ranger.
– Capt. James Miller, Saving Private Ryan
Much like Beavers, Stags prioritize dutiful obligations over family ties. It’s not that they don’t care about family. It’s that their role as a parent, for example, and the subsequent responsibility to ingrain in their child a reasonable respect for authority, supersedes their feelings as a parent. This ability to remain objective enables Stags to make reasoned, impartial decisions. However, as opposed to Beavers, whose objectivity is best utilized in positions of judgment and inspection, Stags are frequently found in supervisory roles, where their impersonal decision-making and leadership skills, when combined, prove vital to guaranteeing the success of the group. Individual whims are often disregarded by Stags—even their own.
Whereas rules are paramount for the Beavers, Stags adhere to the chain of command. A clear line of authority, predicated on qualifications and experience, is important to them. There is a comfort in knowing that the person you’re following has reached the mountaintop before via hard work and experience, and that the men and women who are following your lead feel the same way about you. This can be misconstrued by other types as blind obedience, and Stags are commonly accused of not thinking for themselves. While this might be true when it comes to immature Stags, the same can’t be said for mature Stags, whose ability to reason and ponder the ramifications of their decisions rival any type. Stags who have effectively expanded their bubble—see, you didn’t read that section in vain—appreciate the value of critical examination, but they also know that there is a time and place for everything—arguing with your superior in the heat of battle rarely works out for either of you—and consistently questioning authority, even on a Smith basis, can only lead to the eventual upheaval of the structure that authority is based upon; if the choice is between conformity and chaos… well, for the Stag, that’s no choice at all.
By enforcing the Clauses, we have kept religion a matter for the individual conscience, not for the prosecutor or bureaucrat. At a time when we see around the world the violent consequences of the assumption of religious authority by government, Americans may count themselves fortunate: Our regard for constitutional boundaries has protected us from similar travails, while allowing private religious exercise to flourish… Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: ‘Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?’
– Sandra Day O’Connor
Order is paramount for Stags. Like Beavers, who ensure that everything is in its proper place, Stags strive for a world with clearly delineated niches and designations, and they will make sure that these categorizations are accepted by all. If the Beaver is the anvil, the support on which the laws of society lean on, the Stag is the mighty hammer that drops when those laws are not followed. Stags do not fear confrontation. In fact, they take pride in the straightforward, confident style with which they dictate their opinions on what is right and wrong. Though this is not to be confused with the dominating Killer Whales, who can sometimes be rather oblivious to the needs of others. Stags, beacons of the community, are always aware of the needs of their group members, so any critique they dole out is, in their minds, beneficial to the team in the long run. They are the hard-driving drill sergeant, the screaming football coach, or the taskmaster boss.
Regarding their role in an organization, Stags do not view themselves as specialists, but rather, as great judges of character. Unlike their fellow administrators, the Killer Whales, Stags will, when recruiting, place a higher premium on traits such as loyalty, practicality, and trustworthiness, over knowledge or skill. To a Stag, practicality is intelligence, and while they acknowledge the virtues of speculation and experimentation—albeit through gritted teeth—Stags find it hard to trust that which has not already been proven and established as truth.
The Inflexible Bureaucrat
You’re going to keep your mouth shut until I come to you and ask you a question, then you’re going to speak; otherwise Byrd will take you outside until you understand the rules, ’cause here, I’m in charge.
– Judith Sheindlin
A Stag’s purpose in life is to determine the most practical method of reaching a certain echelon of success, and then to hold themselves, their family, and the other members of their organization accountable to this standard of achievement. Unfortunately, this can lead to a tremendous amount of conflict when they fail to realize that there are different strokes for different folks; Stags too often follow a virtual manual on how a person should properly behave themselves, with specific rules for specific contexts. At their worst, Stags will aggressively engage with those that would challenge their authority or the authority of the system they adhere to. In cases such as these, it is not uncommon for them to be perceived as overbearing, obtuse, and virulently closed-minded, unwilling to view a situation from any other perspective but their “correct” one.
Their devotion to the chain of command and their penchant for delegating, when combined, can cause them to form committee after committee of “authorities”, creating a weighty bureaucracy that is as unwieldy as it is progress-stagnating. Lucky for us, the same knee jerk reaction towards established virtue that leads Stags into the aforementioned problems, can also lead them out of it, as it usually only takes an intervention from an individual they respect to—in words that every Stag has said at least twice in their life—“get their shit together.”
The Natural Born Leader
There is nothing that gives a man consequence, and renders him fit for command, like a support that renders him independent of everybody but the State he serves.
– George Washington
As opposed to Elephants, the other herding, team-building type among the Gatherers, Stags are less about turning their organization into one big, happy family, and more about directing it towards attainable goals—think SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based), which Stags love to preach as gospel. To achieve this, Stags take it upon themselves to make sure that every member of the team is fulfilling their prescribed duties. They are practical individuals who prefer when plans are laid out in an applicable fashion and address concrete questions: What is the benefit from a specific course of action? Is the goal feasible? What are the steps needed to accomplish said goal?
The reality-based Stags focus on immediate, tangible results rather than distant, projected outcomes. They’re the general manager of a sports franchise that exchanges young prospects for grizzled veterans at the trade deadline. They are always in win-now mode. In no way does this mean that Stags avoid establishing long term objectives. It’s just that they need to see continual progress, or else they will begin to doubt the efficacy of the plan. Due to their hard work, social awareness, and loyalty, Stags are often high-ranking individuals who climbed their respective organizational ladder with relative ease. And yet, it is their team-first mentality, not their industriousness, that is at the core of their follower’s respect and admiration. Individuals under their leadership can always feel safe in the knowledge that the ship is being steered by a solid, straight-shooting captain who has their best interests at heart.