If you've been struggling to relate, manage or connect with someone, you have probably been dealing with a Storming Bulldozer, a Moaning Shark or a Pleasing Goody Two Shoes. Or maybe with a Grounded Grower. Which one are you? Where do your colleagues, family members or friends fit in?
The Dimensional Model of Behaviour is a useful tool that will help you understand four different types of people:
- Some people make you feel small and incompetent. They abuse their power, and you feel as if you have no choice but to do as they say.
- Some people make you feel disempowered and frustrated, because they do not come to the party or they always seem to misunderstand your instructions and explanations. They criticise what others do, but they do not necessarily come up with new solutions.
- Some people are “too good to be true” and are always willing to do anything for you, no matter how big or small. It is wonderful to have a "slave" like this, but you always need to be conscious not to abuse him/her.
- Some people are just so comfortable to be with or work with. They set their own boundaries and treat you with respect and kindness. They work independently and they are creative yet also willing to share their ideas. What type of person are you? How do you manage or relate to people in other groups? This article explains how.
The Dimensional Model of Behaviour consists of four quadrants (see picture). The vertical axis ranges from (at the top) high on making things happen (assertive) to (at the bottom) low on letting things happen (submissive). The horizon axis ranges from (on the right) high on concern for people (kind and respectful) to (on the left) low on concern for people (hostile and aggressive).
Where do you fit in? Plot yourself (or another person) in one of the quadrants, based on your perception of yourself (or your perception of the other person).
Q1s are high on making things happen, but low on concern for people. Like bulldozers, they are very good at making roads and moving mountains, but they do not necessarily care about the trees, houses or obstacles in their way. There is only one way and that is bulldozing ahead to get the job done! They have a high need for independence as well as recognition as the doer/action person, even the hero. In their minds they know best, thinking "Who are you to tell me what to do?"
When you need to engage with a bulldozer be sure to have both your feet firmly on the ground and to turn on your assertive courage. Keep the crown on the bulldozer's head without losing ground.
Various pathways lead to the Q2 moaning and groaning pit. Firstly, when natural Bulldozers are managed by Bulldozer managers, they drop to become Q2s. They want to make things happen, but are not allowed to or empowered to do so. They end up “letting things develop” instead of engaging actively. When this happens, they do not feel good about themselves and in the process definitely also not good about their leaders. This leads to "So what, I know how to help you, but I would rather sit in this pit and see you suffer!" (They let things develop rather than take control or get concerned about others.) Like the sharks of the sea they wait passive-aggressively for an opportunity to attack whenever they smell blood. When you allow yourself to sit in the pit for too long, you end up being burnt-out and depressed, a sad sight.
The second route to the bottom of this pit is through trauma or change. The third route is through being a misfit in your position. Stay long enough and you will hit the black hole! Remember sitting in this black hole puffing with resentment, anger and paranoid ideas?
When you need to engage with or manage moaners and groaners you need to understand that you cannot expect anything from them. You first need to let them feel better about themselves (even if they communicate negatively!) For example: When a moaner and groaner attends a meeting that you are facilitating and only gives negative and interruptive feedback, stop and say: “Ann/Paul, thank you for showing us what we are doing wrong and what will not work in the future. You have a real gift pinpointing our problems to us! I am sure you also know what we need to do to solve the problem!”
Pleasing Goody Two Shoes
Q3s are the very nice people of this world. Often too good to be true, but they continue pleasing everybody around them without taking their own needs into account. Their concern for people is very high, but they are not standing up for themselves or their projects or programmes (letting things happen). Hence, they end up as doormats, or slaves doing everything for everybody. If you continue to be Suffering Suzy or Pleasing Peter you are doubting your own abilities and contributions. Before you know you slip into Q2 (another slipway to Q2).
When you need to engage with slick slaves, make sure that you know their needs and wants because they won’t tell you. They will put on a nice mask and mislead you with their intentions. Make sure that they feel good about themselves. They need lots of validation (see article on Validation) and reassurance about their competence.
Q4 people are skilled in balancing tasks and people. They are concerned about and respectful towards the people they are connecting or working with while they also make things happen. I call them grounded growers. They are grounded (they know who they are and accept who they are), they improve their competencies and they are conscious of what they do and say. People in this position (Q4) can engage or work with people in any of the other quadrants.
Sometimes people migrate from one quadrant to another. However, by reading this article, assessing yourself and trying to learn how to handle people in other quadrants, you are busy with a grounded and growing exercise. Good luck on the way forward!