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20 Feb 2012

Real-time Personality Assessment: Freedom-Order Duality

The Freedom-Order duality expresses a dimension of our personality involved in interpreting how we balance freedom and order. It can help us – in real time – understand, appreciate and predict better the reactions of others to such things as processes, decision-making, management, customer service, change and organization.

However, all of this is arbitrary, subjective, meaning different people are comfortable with different levels of freedom and order. To some freedom is chaos because it seems anyone can do whatever he wants. To others order is slavery because there is someone or a rule telling her what to do. Therefore, since there are no absolute states for either, you can be the benchmark as the figure shows. This allows you to assess whether people are more freedom-oriented or order-oriented than you are by the feelings and thoughts they trigger in you.

Freedom-Order Duality

For instance, more freedom-oriented people might make you feel they are:

  • “Wild cards”
  • Unpredictable
  • Emotional
  • Spontaneous
  • Dynamic
  • Unfocused
  • Disorganized
  • Unprepared
  • Winging it
  • Scattered
  • Undirected
  • Flashy

You might also notice they tend to use words such as these:

  • Flexible
  • Tolerance
  • Independent
  • Different
  • Adaptable
  • Unlimited
  • Dynamic
  • Customize
  • Diverse
  • Free hand
  • Openness
  • Deviate

By contrast, more order-oriented people might make you feel they are:

  • Structured
  • Uptight
  • Controlling
  • Domineering
  • Inflexible
  • Unimaginative
  • Micromanaging
  • Analytical
  • Narrow-minded
  • Detailed
  • “By the book”
  • Rule fanatics

Similarly, you might find them using words such as:

  • Structure
  • Process
  • System
  • Arrange
  • Classify
  • Control
  • Accountable
  • Quantify
  • Collate
  • Distribute
  • Manage
  • Discipline

In our daily business lives, this means adding process and procedures to those who are more freedom-oriented than we are might stir anxious feelings about becoming nothing more than an automaton. Conversely, more flexibility and options to more order-oriented people might trigger anxious feelings about what is the right thing to do.

Once we are sensitive to this, we can better position the change by adapting immediately to what we observe in others. To the freedom-oriented people, we will need to reassure the flexibility of adding their own dimension, and to order-oriented people reassuring clear definitions of their duties will exist. In essence, we personalize our approach and words to by appreciating people and their needs better.


3 Responses

  1. The strength of one’s personality can be a very powerful thing. Perhaps unbeknownst to most of us, we use the strengths of our personality daily in the way we allow our energy to flow, how we prefer to receive data, the way we make decisions based on received data, and the way we display those decisions to our outside world.

    1. Thank you for your compliments and comments. I agree, much of this can happen without knowing it is happening. All of what you mention is very much a function of personality. Again, thank you for visiting.

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