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Are You Sending Mixed Messages?


Are you sending mixed messages to your colleagues? Do you exhibit one behavior but prefer a different approach on how others interact with you?


This is not about being hypocritical or walking the talk, this has to do with whether or not your expressed needs match your wanted needs. If your behaviors and actions are not resulting in particular actions you want from others, you may want to look inward and consider how you are portraying yourself.


The Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation™ (FIRO®) is a terrific assessment to help us understand our interpersonal needs and explore how we interact with others – as a team member or leader. William Schutz, Ph.D. developed the instrument on the theory that beyond our survival needs – food, shelter, and warmth – we each have unique interpersonal needs that strongly motivate us.


There are two FIRO® assessments – the FIRO-B® assessment and the FIRO Business®. Both are quite similar with a focus on expressed and wanted social needs, with the shorter FIRO Business using slightly different language designed with a business environment in mind.


• For FIRO-B: inclusion, control, and affection

• For FIRO Business: involvement, influence, and connection


Each of these assessments provides insights in two fundamental areas – how people tend to behave towards others and how they want others to behave toward them. For example, let’s take the topic of inclusion/involvement. Inclusion/involvement indicates how much you generally include other people in your life and how much attention, contact, and recognition you want from others. It is all about you in relation to groups – small or large.


It raises questions such as:

• Do you like to include others in what you do?

• Do you want to belong?

• Do you need a little or a lot of recognition?


The FIRO instrument provides understanding around our interpersonal relationships: it illuminates what we express to others and what we expect in return. Just as with our biological needs, we may become uncomfortable and anxious if our specific needs are not being met. FIRO insights can help you uncover better ways to interact with others and to manage expectations and desired interaction. You can build more trust, improve communication, manage stress, and resolve conflict in your relationships. It complements any learnings you or your teams may have uncovered in learning about your Type preferences through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) assessment.

By understanding your expressed versus wanted needs for yourself and your colleagues, you can alter your approach to make a healthier and safer working environment. This includes being open and flexing to support others’ needs, while sharing your expectations so others are clear on what’s important to you. Interested in learning more? Set up a free consultation to discuss.