In Part 1 of this blog, I described how I began with the model of AP2 based on Taibi Kahler’s (1979a, 1979b) material and a workshop I had attended with him. By 2001 (Hay, 2001) I had added a third dimension and begun to call the model AP3.
Figure 1 shows this cube, which has the third dimension running from the top right-hand corner at the back to the bottom left-hand corner at the front rather than being at right angles to the other dimensions. This may seem unexpected but is necessary because it links with Kahler’s findings on the proportions of people with particular combinations of drivers, as I will explain below. Within the cube, I also show the four boxes that are ‘created’ by the AP2 dimensions and these too will be explained below.
Within this framework, I am able to show factors such as how we might use the appearance, behaviour and communication channel of an individual to analyse their likely interaction preferences, as well as providing suggestions about which strokes are most likely to motivate them, what their strengths and pitfalls are likely to be based on their probable drivers/working styles, and which leadership style is called for.
As I begin to describe the AP3 model, I include here the caveats with which I normally introduce it. This model is a simplification of material that has been developed in great depth by therapists. It has been simplified so that it is easy to recall and apply; however that simplification inevitably means that it will be less accurate than a more complex model. We cannot really fit people into such tidy boxes, although we may notice that when someone is very stressed they may (metaphorically) jump into such a box and it is then even more important that we respond effectively. The framework presented here is designed to guide us in choosing our own behaviours at any time, so we will maximise our chances of getting on with people. However, people are immensely interesting and varied individuals so use the framework tentatively.
To understand the diagram, imagine a cube as shown in Figure 1, where the height contains a dimension of active-passive, the width contains a dimension of alone-people, and the depth contains a skewed dimension of acceleration-patience. The skewing of the third dimension is to reflect the fact that the model has been developed empirically and real human beings do not divide into convenient groups that would allow us to put the third dimension in at right angles to the others. Because we are attempting to show this information on paper in only two dimensions, you will see below that we use a ‘pop-out’ box to demonstrate the impact of the third dimension.
The active-passive dimension refers to how we initiate contact, with people and goals – active means that we move towards people and initiate conversations and that we choose goals to work towards, whereas passive means that we are more likely to wait for people to move towards us and initiate conversation and we may acquire goals that seem to present themselves to us. Note that the active-passive dimension has nothing to do with how physically energetic we may be; it is about whether we initiate or respond.
The alone-people dimension is fairly straightforward – do we prefer to be alone or would we rather be with a group of people. This applies to any circumstances but as we are considering leadership it has obvious relevance for how people behave at work. Depending on how far along the scale we are, we may want to avoid contact, or to have contact with one or two people only, whereas if we are at the people end we will be much more comfortable functioning within a group, and may even wish to be the central figure in any group.
Acceleration-patience was added by me to reflect the impact of the Hurry Up driver, (Kahler, 1975) in that some people prefer to do things quickly whilst others, especially those with Be Perfect driver, prefer to take the time to work slowly and carefully. Kahler has pointed out that there is a tendency for Hurry Up driver to be associated with Try Hard more than with the other drivers and clearly those with Be Perfect appear to be at the other end of the scale. This is why this particular dimension is drawn at an angle. Although some people will have both Hurry Up and Be Perfect, these are difficult styles to combine whereas Try Hard and Hurry Up can fit together fairly easily. We can also imagine that the Hurry Up style may overlap with Please People, as when someone rushes about pleasing many people, but it is more difficult for someone to combine Be Strong and Hurry Up because the former leads them to appear calm whilst the latter involves an impression of haste.
There are of course any number of ways in which driver combinations may exist in real people; as already emphasised, the AP3 framework is a simplification.
Figure 2 provides a summary of what we can observe when we meet someone for the first time. Such observations provide us with clues about the person; interpreted carefully it means that we can experiment with interacting with them in the way that seems most likely to meet their preferences. Unless they are particularly script-bound at that moment, interacting with them in a way that they find comfortable will invite feelings of OKness and we will not need to speculate about whether we should respond instead to Internal Parent or Internal Child (Hay 2009) rubberbands (Kupfer & Haimowitz 1971). Figure 3 provides additional information about ways of responding to them that are most likely to be effective.
Some comments about the separate box that refers to acceleration. This box may overlap with any of the previous four styles and in that case you will observe the appearance/behaviour/channels that apply and can respond accordingly. However, for those where the Hurry Up driver is most significant, what you will then see is that they arrive in a hurry, often late, rush about and talk very fast, and may even then rush away early because they are already late for their next appointment. The Hurry Up sentence pattern is very easy to spot because it means speaking fast and interrupting others. The advantages of this as a working style is that the person gets a lot done; they are also very good at meeting tight deadlines.
For these, your leadership style will need to be concise – you will need to engage with them quickly and give them concise instructions because if you attempt to include too much information, they will have rushed off to start the task before you have finished briefing them. It may not matter which channel of communication you use in this case provided you are quick. In terms of strokes, because they get a lot done they will prefer their strokes to be about their productivity. As with all of the drivers/working styles, we need to stroke the positive outcomes so that people feel OK and are then better able to stay in working style rather than driver.
The comments above indicate that there are four (and a half) leadership styles to be used: consulting, caring, connecting, controlling and concise. The implications of this are that leaders need to be more skilful than those they lead, and that organisations should avoid creating a culture where one style of leadership is favoured.
It is our own development towards autonomy that enables us to extend our options. If we fail to do this, we will be restricted in the number of leadership styles that we can competently apply, with the obvious result that we are unlikely to interact successfully with some of those we are meant to be leading. I often remind managers that they are not paid more because they are cleverer than others – they are paid more because they are meant to be more skilful than those they lead. There are numerous TA concepts available to help us understand how we may be limiting ourselves and to make the appropriate developmental changes.
We can also apply those TA concepts to organisations so that senior management can understand about the need for different leadership styles to coexist, and the importance of creating a corporate culture that values difference.
Hay, J (1992) Transactional Analysis for Trainers London: McGraw-Hill
Hay, J (1993) Creating Community: The Task of Leadership Leadership & Organisation Development Journal 14:7 12-17
Hay, J (2001) AP3: The Assessing Cube TA UK 59 16-19
Hay, J (2009) Transactional Analysis for Trainers 2nd edit Hertford: Sherwood Publishing
Hay, J. & Williams, N. (1989) The Reluctant Time Manager, Opportunities May
Kahler, Taibi (1975) Drivers: The Key to the Process of Scripts Transactional Analysis Journal 5:3 280-284
Kahler, T. (1979a). Managing with the Process Communication Model. Little Rock, AR: Human Development Publications card
Kahler, T (1979b). Process Therapy in Brief. Little Rock, AR: Human Development Publications.
Kupfer, D & Haimowitz, M. (1971) Therapeutic Interventions Part 1 Rubberbands Now. Transactional Analysis Journal 1 (1) 10-16
© 2018 Julie Hay
Julie is a fan of open access publishing so feel free to reproduce any of these blogs as long as you still attribute it to her.