Behaviour: Quadrant 2

There is a need for all people in the business to develop knowledge and skills and change their own and others' behaviours for high performance

The ‘Q2 Behaviour’ Organisational Perspective is about what is individual and what is tangible; it includes:​​

  • Interpersonal and task-focused decisions and actions; how you behave
  • Skills, knowledge, and experience
  • Performance; application into a work-setting

The behaviour of everyone in an organisation is important if they are to have any chance of fulfilling that organisation’s purpose. Leadership and organisational competencies are well researched and there is a plethora of 360 assessment instruments that are very useful in getting valid data points for people to work on what is helping them, and what is getting in their way.

Many markets and economies are experiencing skill, knowledge and experience gaps; the ‘war for talent’ was forecast many decades ago, and we find ourselves in a situation where both technical skills and interpersonal competencies are in short supply.

The critical and difficult to deliver challenge for individuals is the judicious application of behaviour and skill in the performance of work to deliver sustainable results in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous organisational environments.

Beginning with some objective feedback on current behaviour, individuals can begin to grow their self-awareness and identify areas they want to develop. Often referred to as ‘horizontal’ development, this is on-going work for all of us; gone are the days when a university degree was sufficient to fulfil role requirements.

Reflecting on work-place behaviour is often the best starting point for organisational transformation. It provides a tangible starting point and can be measured to reveal progress.

Behaviours for Organisational Effectiveness 

based on Human Synergistics' Leadership Styles Inventory


  • AchievementSatisfaction oriented and task-focused, this is the joy of getting things done, of accomplishing things.  The setting of realistic goals, and the organising of self and others to make those goals happen

  • Self-actualising:  The most satisfaction oriented of all the styles, based on the work of A Maslow, in which self-actualising is the pinnacle of human needs. Leading an examined life. Considering for yourself what the meaning of your life is. Discovering what gives you the greatest satisfaction. What game-of-life are you playing (e.g. he-who-dies-with-the-most-stuff-wins)?  This is the developmental move from socialised/ dependent through self-authoring/ independent to self-transforming/ interdependent

  • Humanistic-encouraging:  Satisfaction oriented and people-focused; this is the joy of growing-up other people, of seeing, and participating in the development of others; this is coaching, mentoring, leading, developing, teaching, guiding, … It is also the pleasure in experiencing and witnessing the ‘human condition’. This is probably the reason most people want to have children

  • Affiliative:  People-oriented on the side of satisfaction, Affiliative is seeking a relationship between equals, adult-adult exchanges (TA), warmth, friendship. Team players, collaboration, cooperation. “I want you to like me.” Playing well with others.


  • Approval-seeking:  The most people-oriented style, a strength taken too far. All of us are hard-wired for approval – it is our instinct as infants to seek the approval of care-givers; but if this lasts too long and too much into adulthood, this need can cause us to distort our interactions with others;  Child-parent relationship: “I need you to like me … I’m OK only if you like me”.

  • Conventional:  People-oriented on the fear/ security side. ‘I am really attending to others, because they are likely to be dangerous’. Seeks camouflage, blending in, adhering to the ‘tall-poppy’ rule book, avoiding the danger or shame of being singled out;  “I’m OK, so long as you don’t notice me”.

  • Dependent: Fear-oriented on the people side, amygdala hijack/ startle-response/ fight-flight-freeze; “I’m not going to move until you tell me what to do… what are the rules here? Just tell me what to do! What you want…” This is antagonistic to and the opposite of Achievement (above): the more someone is waiting for another to tell them what to do , the less they can set challenging goals, organising themselves or others to get it done.

  • AvoidantThe most fear and security-oriented style; fight-flight-freeze in overdrive. Many things can be avoided: other people, confrontation (with other people), ideas, myself, … Many ‘below-the-line’ behaviours are versions of avoidance: rationalisations, denial, excuses, … Avoidance is the opposite of Self-actualised: the more I am running away from what I fear, the less I am moving towards what I want…


  • Oppositional: Fear-oriented on the task side, this is amygdala hijack/ startle-response/ fight-flight-freeze. This is the inner voice of the internal critic; the voice of 'why something will not work', seeing the negative, glass-half-empty; this is sarcasm; all the opposition serves to keep whatever is threatening away by poking it with a stick, it is an agressive move, but all motivated by deep fear. Once cornered, animals will fight. This is opposite Humanistic-encouraging: the more I am finding fault and being critical, the less I am truely supporting and growing anyone else… there is no joy here.

  • Power-over: Task focused and security-oriented, Power-over says, “if it’s going to get done I have to be in charge. I’m big/ you’re small; I know/ you don’t! I win/ you loose." Often conflated with an authority and accountability hierarchy, this is part of a domination hierarchy. And unfortunately, this way of being and (not) relating has often been rewarded in organisations.  Power-over is the opposite of Affiliative: the more “I am big/ you are small” and "I am in control", the less I am a team-player with you, the less well we will play together.

  • Competitive:  The most task-focussed style, the Competitive player is mostly only interested in rank, comparisons of self to others; consequently not only potential to throw others under the bus, but they also are not so much interested in winning so much as they are consumed by a fear of losing – the emotional penalty for losing is much bigger than the rewarding emotional valence of winning, so the competitive person experiences all situations as risky and full of potential for shame. Often in a mutually reinforcing loop with Approval (“I need you to like me and I’m going to get you to like me by being the best”)

  • Perfectionistic: Task focused and satisfaction oriented; “it’s going to get done and its going to get done right.” The often confusing distinction with Achievement is the difference between setting realistic and unrealistic expectations for self and others. Perfectionists get into too much detail, micro-managing, they can be in constant stress, obsessing in the name of ‘quality’, setting unreachable or unnecessary standards.  Very high levels of this style can be a marker for health concerns (hypertension, stroke, heart disease and attacks)
Mindset Quadrant 1