Skill Assessment: Doers, Throughers and Spewers

In my extensive time spent around leaders and teaching leadership, I have noticed there are three distinct types of people in this world - Doers, Throughers and Spewers. Understanding which category you fall into might provide some valuable insight into improving the value of your leadership footprint. Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of each.


These are the Type A personalities that range from the glory-seekers to the servant leaders. They are interested in getting things done. Doers see a problem, opportunity, or challenge and they take action. Some for personal gain; some for the betterment of the greater cause. Their intentions matter in some conversations, but not this one. What matters here is not why they are in the Doer category. What matters here is how they came to become a Doer and the trail they leave behind.

The upsides of the Doers are pretty self-explanatory. They get things done. They make things better (most of the time.) Doers fail a ton, but mostly because they try a ton. Being a Doer doesn't make one right or better. It simply makes them productive and contributive (yes, that is a new word.) Many of the world's greatest and smallest solutions are a result of a Doer taking action.

The cons of the Doer are a little more complicated to explain and sometimes complex to understand. Many of the downsides of a Doer's actions are a result of a Doer taking action when...

1. They didn't have all the information necessary to make a decision.
2. They didn't have the right information needed.
3. They made a decision when it wasn't their place to do so.
4. Their decision cause them to sacrifice something more important (often times a relationship).
5. It wasn't the right time to take action.
6. And the list goes on...


The Througher is defined as someone who simply passes through situations, events, opportunities, challenges and relationships in their life without exerting any extra effort to improve or add value.

The main pro of the Througher is they don't rock the boat. They don't disrupt any preexisting leadership/decision-makers structure.

The main con of the Througher is they don't rock the boat. Sometimes the boat needs to be rocked. Sometimes all a problem or challenge needs is a Througher to stop and do something about it. A common phrase we use in many of our programs is that the problem in many organizations is not the negative vein or the poor decision makers. The problem of most broken organizations is good people who, for whatever reason, don't step up and take action. These people are the Throughers. Most Throughers are in this category because:

1. Fear.
2. They think their opinion, information or help isn't valuable.
3. They are comfortable where they are and they know (rightly) that many times if you talk about a problem or offer a solution, you will more than likely be asked to do something about it - which leads to more work.
4. They don't know how to help.
5. They don't want to find out how to help.
6. And the list goes on...


The Spewer (as you probably guessed from the name) is the worse of the three. The Spewer is defined by their negative attitude and unfortunate tendency to spew said attitude on everyone around them. They love to gossip, chat and advertise about how bad things are.

You wouldn't think there would be any pros to the spewage (another new word) of a Spewer, but there are a few...

1. They bring attention to problems.
2. They can actually provide motivation to a Doer simply by making them mad or annoyed.
3. They validate the importance of the Doers and show Throughers a way to get involved.
4. And the list goes on...

Yes, there are quite a few negatives of a Spewer. Here is the short list...

1. They don't take any positive or constructive action.
1. Unpleasant to be around. (Yes, there is a tie for first place here.)
2. They actually block the creation of positive solutions by killing the motivation, spirit, and ideas of Doers and Throughers.
3. They have a tendency to make things worse by delaying or damaging the constructive action of others.
4. They highlight the negative and make the problem or challenge larger than it actually is.
5. And the list definitely goes on and on and on and on...

So, you need to decide where you live - in Doerville, Througherland or Spewer City.

Doers, keep at it. You help more than you hurt.
Throughers, find a place to help out. You are needed somewhere.
Spewers, there is a better way. Find it.

Good luck.

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