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SYMLOG-Model Overview

Leadership styles and quadrant models

MBTI®: deals with preferences and “personality types”. It is a descriptive, not a predictive model, that details behavioral preferences. It describes your preferences, but not the impact your behavior has on others because of your preferences. Available as a self-assessment only.

Adding a SYMLOG assessment to an understanding of your type could show you how effective your behavior really is, and point to areas you might want to modify in order to have more productive and satisfying interactions.

DiSC®: groups characteristics of behavior into four major styles. Word associations are used to obtain a person’s preferences. Each individual has all four styles, but differs in the extent to which they use the behavior in any style. The goal of the feedback is to recognize yours and others style, and adapt your behavior to another’s style to be more effective.

A SYMLOG personal profile would allow you to see the actual impact your behavior has on others, with a prescriptive analysis of what to change in order to be more effective. With access to a SYMLOG profile for co-workers as well, your DiSC results would be greatly enhanced by learning the actual values and/or behavior of co-workers, and predict with greater certainty how you could/should change your behavior.

Leadership Grid (Blake & Mouton): analysis of leadership styles along two dimensions, concern for people, and concern for production. Five initial leadership styles have been renamed, but characteristics describing the style remain: accommodative (country club), indifferent (impoverished), status quo (middle-of-the-road), sound (team), dictatorial (produce or perish). Opportunistic and paternalistic leadership styles have been added but map within the original quadrant. This model measures within the PF quadrant nicely, but has no way of describing behaviors that need to adopted when dealing with individuals whose profiles, as rated by others, do not fall within the PF quadrant.

Introducing a SYMLOG analysis to your situation would allow you to behave with more certainty, and provide suggestions on how to deal with individuals whose behavior falls outside of the two-dimensional grid.

Situational Leadership® and Situational Leadership II®: originally theorized by Hersey and Blanchard, and now modified by both after further research. Both models deal with leadership styles, where determining your style helps determine the appropriate behavior to show in any given situation. One relies on accurately determining the level of individual or group maturation level. The other outlines level of competence and commitment, with the levels of development, to determine the appropriate behavior. Both theories map into the PF quadrant, but are inadequate in dealing with individuals whose profile falls outside that area.

Introducing a SYMLOG analysis would allow you to more accurately understand your “situation”, and how to proceed with leading subordinates. Making ratings on co-workers would show the actual level of maturity or development you perceive them to have, and also further strengthen your ability to behave effectively with their individual needs.

Adding SYMLOG ratings from all members of the team would allow you as a group to examine your perceptions of each other, how effectively you believe you are able to work together, and what each of you needs to do, individually and collectively, to become more productive and effective.

Adaption-Innovation Inventory (KAI): measures thinking style (cognition) as it relates to problem-solving, decision-making, and creativity. Results of the 32 question inventory plot on a normally distributed continuum. The continuum moves from Adaption on the left, indicating more structure and consensus in problem-solving is preferred, to Innovation on the right, where less structure and consensus is needed. Your preferred cognitive style is likely unchangeable. In order to maximize an individual or group’s problem-solving potential, behavior needs to be flexible according to the complexity of the problem to be solved. But does your style get in the way of making effective decisions and having a maximally productive problem-solving process?

Adding a SYMLOG analysis to this measure of cognition would allow the group to better know the values others’ perceive them to hold, if they are perceived to have the best interests and goals of the group in mind, and if their problem-solving style is, indeed, allowing the group to realize its potential or standing in the way of reaching objectives. In this case, modifications would be suggested by the SYMLOG analysis.

Personality measures

During a 1996 interview with the pre-eminent social psychologist, Robert F. Bales, he was asked if SYMLOG was a theory of personality, or another kind of theory. His answer will help in understanding the difference between SYMLOG and other personality measurements.

Social motives (McClelland): a theory of three needs that outline how an individual is motivated to behave. The needs are more closely associated with measurements within the SYMLOG system than many other models, with the need for achievement close to the F dimension; need for affiliation close to the P dimension, and need for power associated with the U dimension. These achievement needs, however, are not bi-polar, as with SYMLOG.

FIRO-B: taps the extent to which you desire for yourself, or want to receive from others, inclusion, affiliation, and control. The strength of each of these needs will clearly relate to how you behave with others. How do these affect your perceived effectiveness when interacting with others?

An assessment based on SYMLOG will help you see how you might be influencing your interactions based on your intrinsic and extrinsic needs, and develop an action plan allowing you to appropriately temper/moderate those needs to have more satisfying and productive interactions.

NEO-PI: a personality inventory with five domains (the five-factor model), measured originally with 240 items (now 60), used to describe human personality. Each global factor has a cluster of more specific descriptive characteristics. Traits used to describe aspects of the factor below the broad domain are separate but correlated. e.g., for the Extraversion factor, outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved is used. There is no indication these words are actually opposite in meaning or part of the same continuum.

So, unlike SYMLOG with 3 bi-polar dimensions, the NEO appears to be missing a critical factor. Where the P-N and F-B dimensions are adequately covered, the NEO does not seem to take into consideration the importance of the U-D dimension of dominance/submissiveness, which can manifest behaviorally in all the five factors.

Adding a SYMLOG analysis to this personality measure will tap the values others’ perceive you showing in behavior, or the actual behavior you are observed to show. This analysis allows for behavior modification in order to be perceived as more effective, and have your intentional behavior better understood by others.

Team inventories

Belbin: measures individual behavior in a team environment, and classifies the behavior into nine team roles (originally eight with Specialist added after initial studies). Individuals have tendencies toward multiple roles, and Belbin states these are team roles, not personality types. Groups need these roles, and the activities performed in each, in order to maximize problem-solving. A balance should be present among members. The roles themselves, however, have the potential not only for polarization, but also neglect the social-emotional needs of a team in order to maximize its effectiveness.

A SYMLOG analysis would further provide feedback to individuals and the team on how effective the behaviors shown actually are, and what changes or additions to the team’s natural inclinations are required to be more effective.

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SYMLOG vs. other models
  • Overview of SYMLOG vs Other Models
  • SYMLOG and KAI
  • SYMLOG and McClelland-Social Motives
  • SYMLOG and Blake and Mouton Leadership Grid
  • SYMLOG and DiSC
  • SYMLOG and Belbin
  • SYMLOG and Situational Leadership
  • Self Assessments
  • Leadership Development
  • Teamwork Development
  • Organizational Development
  • Publications
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