"Those who apply themselves too closely to little things often become incapable of great things." Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Sunday, December 30, 2007

How To Get The Response You Want

How To Get The Response You Want
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes

Personality assessments are used today in almost all social settings. Whether it be used for employer screening, military recruitment, or any other interpersonal environment, personality assessments attempt to give a behavioral understanding of how we interact. Two popular assessments are DISC, developed in the early 1900's by a Harvard psychologist; and Myers-Briggs, developed by two females two help women during WWII who were entering the industrial workforce.

While these two systems have there uses and critics; there is another model that has been somewhat dusted under the rug. Timothy Leary, a Harvard educated psychologist who become an infamous promoter of psychedelic drugs; notably introduced a personality assessment based on interpersonal behaviors; i.e., how we react to others behaviors, and how they react to us.

According to Leary's work we respond involuntarily in a reflex like fashion to someone else's behavior. This reflex serves to enhance our ego's and to diminish anxiety. So it follows that a persons most favored behavioral pattern is set in accordance to which types of behaviors have produced the least amount of anxiety.

Leary categorizes the major behavioral patterns along sixteen personalities. Each personality provokes a certain response. For example the "docile-dependent" provokes advice/help. Whereas a "managerial-autocratic" type provokes obedience/respect. Further along Leary's grid we find that a confident/independent "narcissist" provokes inferiority; and a "cooperative-over-conventional" type provokes tenderness & love.

The just of the interpersonal matrix is that if you want a certain response, you can provoke it by adjusting your behavioral signals to provoke the appropriate response. This provides a wealth of information to all of us who wish to have a better understanding of our personal, business, and political relationships. Many of the popular assessments tell us "how we are", and where we fit in. The beauty of Leary's model, is that it tells us "how we can be" to create the relationship we seek to build or sabotage. By focusing on how we can behave to change conditions, Leary's Interpersonal model puts the power back in our hands and allows us to develop a more flexible approach to our social behavior. In my next blog I will give a more detailed example of how to use multiple behavioral patterns at certain points along an initial meeting with a person to maximize rapport...

Further reading: "Self-Determinations" by Timothy Leary; "Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality" by Timothy Leary

Angel Armendariz

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