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Interpersonal Needs and The Human Spectrum

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As in the case of the Golden Yellow and Ruby Red perspective, there are several key questions to which the Azure Blues want answers: (1) How open do I want to be in sharing my ideas, experiences, concerns, hopes, and fears, and (2) How open do I want other people to be in sharing their own ideas, experiences, concerns, hopes and fears? This need is closely affiliated with the Domain of Intentions and the Azure Blue dimension of the Human Spectrum. As in the case of Golden Yellow and Ruby Red it is important to appreciate the Azure Blue focus on vision and nurturance.

Proactive and Reactive Openness

As in the case of the need for inclusion and control, some people are quite willing – even eager—to share their feelings, hopes, fears and observations with other people. Taken to the extreme, these are the people who share their entire life history sitting next to an unfortunate stranger on an airplane with too many hours yet to be passed before touching down on foreign soil. In a group setting, this proactive openness can be more appropriate and quite valuable. These are the group members who begin to share their own observations about group functioning and their own hopes for and fears about the group’s productivity with other members of the group/team—no life histories,  just task and group related feedback.

In some cases (perhaps many cases) an important distinction must be drawn between openness about task-related issues and openness about the operations of the group. Both forms of openness are critical as a group moves to becoming an effectively functioning team. We need honest appraisals of how we are doing on the task and how we are doing in relating to one another. With this feedback in place, we can consider ways (group methods) in which to do a better job on the task or on our relationships. Hopefully, we can find a way to more effectively blend task and relationship—making the task more enjoyable to do and the relationships more satisfying precisely because we are getting things accomplished.

Reactive Openness is found among those people who are often identified as “good listeners” (or at least patient listeners). These are the folks who will sit there and not only listen to the stranger sitting next to them on the airplane (rather than putting on their ear phones), but will actually ask some questions that produce an even more extended life narrative. In a group setting, those with high reactive openness needs will wait for and even encourage other members of the group/team to share their feelings, hopes and fears, as well as observations about group functioning. While these members of the group are not always given the credit that they deserve, the contributions that they made can play a major role in transforming their group into an effectively functioning team. While many groups would probably only find this role being performed by an outside, high-paid group process consultant, there are those groups that are fortunate to have this role being played by one of their own members.

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