Behaviour, the bus stop and Leary’s Rose

At the bus stop
At the bus stop

Waiting at the bus stop

The group started Friday morning with a trip to the bus stop. Participants were asked to pretend they had just woken up and were queuing for their morning bus at the bus stop and to act as they normally would in this situation. Some of the participants joined the line busily engrossed in their phones, others with their hoods up avoiding meeting others’ gaze; while some cheerfully exclaimed “good morning” and made conversation (whether it was wanted or not).

At the end of the exercise Steve asked the group what they noticed and the response was that people demonstrated different behaviours. The discussion moved on to the idea that different people behave in different ways depending on their situation – so how you behave first thing in the morning on the bus would be different from how you behave in the early evening in a bar.

Exploring Leary’s Rose

Sandra explained Roos Van Leary and his rose model (Leary’s Rose) of behaviour to the group. The model divides behaviour into eight areas and says that individuals can occupy any of the areas at any time depending on their situation – these are not fixed.

Leary's Rose
Leary’s Rose

The models divides a circle with a vertical axis with dominant behaviour at the top and submissive behaviour at the bottom, then horizontally with individual behaviour on the left and collective thinking on the right. The circle is then divided once again diagonally producing eight areas shown in the diagram which are leader, helpful, cooperative, subsequent, withdrawn, rebellious, offensive and competitive. Sandra explained that the words were not to be taken too literally but were more of a label for the type of behaviour that is being displayed.

Inside Leary's Rose
Inside Leary’s Rose

Next the group were asked to think about each other’s behaviour within the training and discuss which area that person fitted into. In turn each participant received their feedback and was assigned to an area, remembering that it was only their behaviour from their time at the training and not responding but only listening. Sandra explained to the group that it was important not to be joking while giving feedback to ensure that the experience remained constructive and helpful.

Everyone agreed that this had been an insightful and enlightening exercise which helped individuals to consider how they are perceived within the Pathways group. There is a self assessment tool you can use for Leary’s Rose which you can find in English here and Dutch here if you want to try it for yourself.

Steve & Sandra plan their holiday
Steve & Sandra plan their holiday

Influencing with Leary’s Rose

Following the first part of the Leary’s Rose explanation Sandra and Steve went on to explain that you can use the model to influence the behaviour of others by moving between behaviour areas. They did role-play of a conversation between a fictional couple planning their annual holiday. They played it out on the taped off “Rose” on the floor, and as they exchanged comments and the conversation developed they moved from area to area. Because different behaviours in us provoke predictable responses from others, we can use our behaviour to influence the outcomes of situations we find ourselves in. The role play also demonstrated that the model is very flexible, and that we all have the capability to operate from any of the eight areas on the rose. As youth workers, the more areas we can behave in, the more effective we can be in influencing the behaviour of others.


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