The Rose of Leary saves your conversations

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The Rose of Leary saves your conversations

I am not a big fan of models and theories when it comes to feeding conversations. My motto is: keep it simple, be yourself and treat the person sitting across from you how you want to be treated. During my own study (Human Resource Management) I trained in conducting conversations according to certain methods. Two of which stayed with me, but for several reasons, firstly the STARR method, which I can’t relate to at all. In addition, the Rose of Leary model, which I still regularly experiment with during conversations.

The STARR Method

There has been a huge hype about the STARR method. This method based on the assumption that behaviour from the recent past is a good predictor of the future behaviour. By asking questions in a structured way about situations from the past, the inquiring party can get as reliable a picture as possible of the behaviour and patterns of the person you’re in conversation with. This sounds very distant to me and for this reason, I would not recommend this method when conducting an interview.

Rose of Leary

Even though I’m not a big fan of models and theories, the ‘Rose of Leary” model has always stayed with me from my studies. I still regularly return to this and I keep experimenting. The Rose of Leary is an interaction model that is emerged from psychological research into the interaction between behaviour and people. It is a model that forms the basis of current methods of behaviour monitoring and influence. The theory was developed by (among others) the American psychologist Timothy Leary in 1957 on the basis of research and observation discovered predictable behaviour patterns. He has worked out the result into what is now known as the Rose of Leary.

Structure vs behavior

Where the STARR method mainly focuses on having a structured interview, the Rose of Leary model looks more at the behaviour of a person (which is crucial for a possible new employee, for example). It is of course important to ask the right questions during an interview but that can be done in a less structured manner. Also read my blog 20 questions you MUST ask during an interview to make sure you get the most out of your interview. 

The model

The Rose of Leary model consists of 8 different planes. Each plane gives one certain behaviour that someone can display during a conversation. The vertical axis indicates the degree of influence: above more influence, below little to no influence. The horizontal axis indicates the degree of acceptance: together represents a lot of acceptance, against is little acceptance. This causes you to have 4 types of behaviours: Upper behaviour (focused on exerting a lot of influence), lower behaviour (not or hardly aimed at exerting influence), cooperative behaviour (oriented towards acceptance) and counter behaviour (aimed at interests other than acceptance such as result). 

Behaviour elicits behaviour

Behaviour elicits behaviour: you help when someone asks for help or you get angry when someone does something wrong. We call this action-reaction. Looking at the Rose of Leary model means that: leading behaviour evokes subsequent behaviour and offensive behaviour elicits defensive behaviour.

Then the question is: what can you do with this? Sometimes you’re in a conversation where you see that it’s not going well because of someone else’s behaviour. You then have two options: you accept it, or you adjust your behaviour. Grumbling about it afterwards is of no use, after all you have it in your own hands! For example:

It sometimes happens that you are in a conversation with someone who has a lot to tell about themselves. You hardly get a word in even though you want extract certain information have from this person. Do you want the other person to show more following behaviour? Then, take more charge yourself. Take over the conversation with short (or closed) questions one after the other without letting yourself be interrupted!

Experiment and learn

I myself like to experiment with this both in my private and professional life. During interviews that I hold with candidates, I often deal with this. How does someone who is dominant react to me, if I am also showing my dominance in the conversation? What happens to a candidate who is very nervous and following behaviour shown and I will behave accordingly? Will he take the leading role or will he stay in the following behaviours?

You can easily switch between the different behaviours, and see how the one sitting across from you reacts to that. And what about during the days that you’re not having such a good day yourself and it seems that all communication goes wrong? Then think about this model and see where your behaviour is at that moment and you may find an explanation why your communication it isn’t going very well.

Are you still looking for tips on how to conduct an interview? Then read my blog about 7 tips for the best interview with candidates. Or contact me directly.

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