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Interpersonal Needs and The Human Spectrum

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The Need for Control

This interpersonal need can be best defined in spatial terms as Up/Down. It is fully aligned with the Ruby Red perspective and is focused on action.  As the name Ruby Red implies, a group member who embraces this dimension of the Human Spectrum wishes to generate Heat among those gathered to form this group/team.  A fire must be built to generate energy. Furthermore, the energy must be directed toward accomplishment of the group’s assigned task. This means that authority must be clearly defined and control must be firmly established.

Group/team members may have different ideas about how to move forward, but the Ruby Red perspective and practices calls for moving beyond these differences, so that something gets done. The primary concerns of the Ruby Red center of three issues. This is where the need for interpersonal control comes to the fore. If we are going to move forward then we must figure out who is going to be influential in this group/team and how is this influence going to be engaged (expertise, formal power, active involvement, etc.) Fundamentally, members of the group/team must determine who is in charge and what will be the leadership structure of this group/team (for example, are we going to have a single leader, rotating leadership, leadership assigned to specific tasks/). Then there is the matter of each members assessment of their own desire for control: do I want to have influence and perhaps acquire some authority in this group/team?

Given the Ruby Red perspective held by those with a high need for control, several key questions must be addressed: (1) Do I want to become influential and/or gain control in this group/team and if I do how do I become influential and in control? And (2) Do I instead want other people to be primary sources of influence and provide control? This need is closely affiliated with the Domain of Ideas and the Ruby Red dimension of the Human Spectrum. It is important, first, to appreciate the Ruby Red focus on taking action – in this case there is a focus on the actions being taken in the group or team which one has joined and on the accomplishment of specific goals related to the founding purpose of the group/team.

For someone with a strong need for clarity regarding control in the group/team there are three primary concerns: (1) how am I (and how are we) going to figure out how the power operates in this group/team, (2) how do we assign authority in this group and to whom do we give this authority, and (3) how do I determine where and with whom I want to align myself, given the structure of authority and operation of power in this group/team? If these members of the group are a large and influential major, then the group is likely to lean toward (or even opening embrace) an autocratic mode of leadership (Lewin, Lippitt & White, 1939). Ruby Red is likely to glow.  By contrast, if most of the members of a group wish there to be little formal control (a low need for control) then the group is likely to lean toward a more laissez-faire mode of leadership – in other words not much formal leadership at all. There is likely to be little attention to the fire—left unattended it is likely to soon burn out.

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