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A Different Point of View ...
on November 27, 2011
This book uses a model of human behaviour to understand difficult people. I find it falls down because this model is lacking.
The authors describe 10 archetypes (Tank, Sniper, Grenade, Yes Person, No person, Maybe Person, Nothing Person, Whiner, Know-It-All, and Think They Know-It-All). They go on to describe how to identify these archetypes, why they are the way they are, and what you can do to change this behaviour. There is also advice on what to do when somebody perceives you as one of these archetypes. The last sections of the book (haven't read this yet) focus on improving communication skills.
The model characterizes these archetypes in terms of two parameters - weather the person is passive or agressive, and if they are task or people oriented. This creates 4 quadrants where people have a desire to be productive(passive & task oriented), acheive perfection (agressive & task oriented), get along with others (passive & people oriented), and gets attention from others (agressive & people oreiented).
Problems with this model and associated archetypes are:
1) It makes the assumption that bad behaviour stems from good (albeit extreme) intentions. I have had plenty of experience with bad behaviour from people with less altruistic goals (possible additions: the Politician & the Rattlesnake).
2) Many difficult people don't fit nicely into any of these 10 categories. I find that there are some people with extrememly agressive or passive personalities that don't fit well in a quadrant, that should have their own category (possible additions: the Sloth, and the Policeman)
3) Some people are so far gone that they may exhibit many of these negative behaviours simultaneously. I knew someone that satisfied 4 different categories at the same time - some in diametrically opposed quadrants.
In short, the advice may work as written 65% of the time.