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Short ALPHA male dominates everyone

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I thought that this latest video by Lucio has 2 interesting points to talk about.

How Should the Taller Man Handle Berlusconi

I believe that the taller man could have touched Berlusconi in return and give some resistance.
Then he could look at Berlusconi and tell him that he will walk over by himself.

He could also shake his head and give a slight grin.
(Drawing inspiration from the Comey video)

This would allow him to retain some power, independence, and distance.

How Would a High-Quality Leader Handle the Situation As Opposed to Berlusconi

If you are the most powerful person in that situation and are short, standing in front of a very tall person may not look good in terms of power.
When you are representing the country internationally, many people around the world may look at the picture or video.

We are all for equality and looking past the superficial elements.
Accepting your shortcomings is also a form of personal power.
However, impressions and perceptions can strike a lasting impression.

That being said, in the overall scheme, your height will not matter if you are a solid leader.
Results and actions will speak much more loudly if you are leading the country's developments.

Push the tall person around did come across as a bit crude and childish as mentioned in the video.
I was thinking about several options:

High power vulnerability
Admit that you are short and that you would prefer a switching out the person behind.
Actually, Berlusconi demonstrated that through his actions, hiding it on the surface as warmth in a joking manner.
Maybe that was why he could push the man around without looking too dominant.

Shuffling the arrangement by height
Maybe the situation could be eliminated altogether if he instructed taller people to stand at the side.
And shorter people to stand in the middle with him.

Saying that he would like his key team members around him
He could instruct his ministers to stand by his side.
Or people he works closely with.
To draw attention away from the issue of height difference.

I'll preach the "don't say anything until someone else might chip in" here to get some more original inputs before I'll share mine.

What I will say in the meanwhile is about Berlusconi's strategy.

SKY-HIGH POWER, OFFSET BY SKY-HIGH (FEIGNED) "WARMTH"

This website advises on dual high-power/high-warmth as the general approach to maximize social/life success.

Berlusconi in this case -and often, as a matter of fact- goes for an extreme in both: super high-power/dominance, overflowing into aggression, but offset by equally very high warmth through an attitude that's all about smiling, joking, and making it all seem "in jest".

Had he done something similar in full seriousness, he would have come across as overly-aggressive. But, possibly more, most people would have thought "God, this guy is crazy".
It would become more of a crazy, dark-narcissistic thing a dictator would do, and would have been a big self-goal in any democracy that is more dependent on goodwill.
Even in a dictatorship, that type of behavior still risks making people too resentful and start plotting against you.

Instead, with that "it's all a good fun" attitude, he got away with it.

WHERE JEST ENDS AND WHERE AGGRESSION BEGINS

And in part, it was, both jest and aggression.

It's not immediately obvious to separate where the jest ends and the aggression begins.

Personally, I'd put it at around 75% aggression, 25% fun.

The percentage depends on where you place your personal boundaries.
In general, higher power people would see more aggression, and more passive people would see more jest.

HOW OTHERS REACT

It's also instructive to watch the people around.

Berlusconi's action might push him into "dickhead-dom" level of dominance.
But everyone is on his side.
Just look at the thumbnail, it's like the Jesus' Last Supper painting.

Tells you a lot about power and power dynamics.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

 

Interesting topic – I think Matthew gave already very intuitive and good suggestions on what the taller man could have done, and the Comey video is a great demonstration for the shaking-head approach.

 

More ideas of what he could have done:

 

Using his height

 

With such a power move I think it would have been fair to use his height to his advantage, so for example demonstratebly looking from above down on him (Lucio referred to something similar as “towering”).

And a brutal, brutal power move would have been gesturing with two closed hands to hold Berlusconi up – like a small child.

 

Neutralizing the Finger

 

But I find the pointing finger to be the most obvious sign of his aggression and dominance.

So I think this should preferably be neutralized – maybe through shaking his hand. And if he refuses, even better – shaking his finger, which would likely be received with great and genuine laughter from the people around.

 

Initiative

 

He also could have taken more initiative here.

So instead of being passively shoved to the side of the picture, he could have stepped out and pointed with an open hand at someone smaller than him, maybe gestured -switching-, and then simply taken his place.

And if he made these gestures demonstratedly above the head of berlusconi (not necessarily literally even if that would be the most effective, but simply in terms of height), it could also be seen as a small power move.

 

Yes, this video is very instructive. I like the analysis on the power dynamics, however it also shows:

  1. Berlusconi's insecurities
  2. That people trying to dominate others most often do it from a place of insecurity/low self-esteem: they value themselves only in comparison with others (VERY fragile ego)

That is why I recommend to learn about these people and power moves only to defend (remember what Yoda said about the Force). Caution the following statement is a strong statement: To insecure people he looks like a strong man, to secure people he looks like a weak man.

Also, I think the word "Alpha" is not appropriate for humans. This is a classification used for wolves and it has downward spiraled. I would rather use "dominant".

Some great stuff here already, this forum is truly acting like a mastermind of power strategies and mindsets.

A few notes from my side:

Higher-quality man: make a joke, or go ahead unperturbed

A higher-quality man would have done nothing in a similar situation.

In that specific case in the video, the scene started when a photographer commented on it.

So not to seem like Berlusconi was pretending to ignore, and if he wanted to maintain his "I'm the big poppa here", he could have turned around, looked at him, and said "wow, this guy is tall". And that's it.
It's still a power move since "this guy" disempowers the tall guy and says "I'm the boss here".
But still far kinder and more respectful than what he actually did.

So to be a more value-adding leader, an option here might have been to turn around and comment "wow, you're tall man", all with a smile, as if to say "good for you dude, and this picture is going to look funny".

Then proceeded as normal.

The Mental Side

Big yes to what John says.

Mental empowerment here is crucial.

And so is self-inflicted mental disempowerment.

It reminds me of Alfred Adler, who said that humans have an "inferiority complex" because they're not as powerful against other animals.
That's the type of baseless psychologizing that triggers me: you really need to go out of your way to find a reason to diminish yourself when you're actually the apex predator of the globe.

If you're the apex predator (or the highest power in the group), you're the apex predator, no matter who's around and what their sizes are.
As a matter of fact, you're even more apex if you're at the top while being physically less formidable (which is still a moot point whether you can be less formidable when you're on top).

Even if a Tyrannosaur Rex came back on earth, you don't feel "diminished" because he's 15 times your size and you might lose a hand-to-hand combat.
Who the hell is so stupid to even think of negotiating a fight hand-to-hand when you got far better and higher power options?
Instead, you think that mothafucker is toast, one way or the other. Maybe even literally. One flame thrower and you'll have lizards' steak for dinner.

That's the aggressive stance, which is fair in some situations.
And can actually be good if you can channel that aggression in more civilized and value-adding forms.

The next level would be to make nothing of it.
Not easy to reach that level, but possible, and worth to be pursued.

This aspect is crucial and should have probably mentioned in the video (going to make a link here more prominent).

What the taller guy could have done: take the lead, or passive-aggression

This is another situation where assertiveness wasn't easy.

Not only not easy, but also carrying major risks, and difficult to make it work.

Not impossible, mind you, but certainly difficult.

As someone said, Berlusconi had a huge advantage to win any power escalation and frame battle.

And also notice the people around, how they react: they're all on Berlusconi's side (the thumbnail is like watching Jesus' Last Supper).
If an escalation took place, you'd be up not only against someone who's got more power than you have -including coercive power here-, but also with the people around who are likely going to side with Berlusconi (social firepower).

So yes, I like Anon's approach of "prosocial passive aggression" (new name for this type of passive aggression, to get rid of the negative connotation?).
You ultimately move, but you also hit back while doing so.

Another option:

  • First, refuse, then do it (at your own volition)

In the beginning, he could have put his hands on his hips in an akimbo position while towering on him, as if to say "you got some problems, dude?"

That was an initial aggressive response, but he'd have done it the same way as Berlusconi, in an exaggerated manner as if to say "we're just having fun".

Then he'd have smiled even more and moved. But this time, with much higher power.

  • Do it taking the initiative

Yes, also what Anon proposed, great technique!

This is a technique in PU as well.

When you have no other option, rather than being ordered around, take ownership of your tasks.
As soon as the taller saw what was happening, he could have stood his ground to regain some power while saying "wait, wait, we got this" to avoid making it a competitive frame (just a couple of seconds would have sufficed). Then he'd immediately look for someone shorter and tell him, including with visible hand gestures, "let's swap".

He could have also used the opportunity to hit back on Berlusconi, saying to the shorter guy he'd swapped place with "he wants to feel like the big guy and doesn't want a taller man around". But that might have been an unnecessary overkill at that point.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

The next level would be to make nothing of it.
Not easy to reach that level, but possible, and worth to be pursued.

Powerful indeed and part of the way of the stoics.

On the “refuse then act on it” here is a powerful one by Macron.

Context: talking about police violence. The journalist wants Macron to say the words “police violence”.

Macron: we’re not going to play the game of “nor yes nor no” (ni oui ni non, who says yes or no loses).  If it pleases you I will say it there is police violence.

He said it from a place of power: I’m not beating around the bush. For me it’s not important but if to continue this conversation it’s important to say these words, I’ll say them.

True leadership. To me Macron is the best president France ever had. But none of my French friends agree. I think he’s a visionary and a great orator and debater. What he really does on a daily basis I have no idea. Is he a puppet? Maybe. I don’t know. But I will definitely learn from his frame control.

 

Certainly learnt a lot from this thread from what a high-quality leader can do and how to handle dominant, powerful individuals.

Even if a Tyrannosaur Rex came back on earth, you don't feel "diminished" because he's 15 times your size and you might lose a hand-to-hand combat.
Who the hell is so stupid to even think of negotiating a fight hand-to-hand when you got far better and higher power options?
Instead, you think that mothafucker is toast, one way or the other. Maybe even literally. One flame thrower and you'll have lizards' steak for dinner.

With our mastermind of power strategies and mindsets, we should all have a lizards' steak for dinner to celebrate when Tyrannosaur Rex returns.

This really hits home. Sometimes I am dealing with a more powerful person in a certain context.
I forget that there is a larger scheme, and I can outplay the person in this larger scheme in the long run.
I could treat a more dominant, powerful person as a Tyrannosaur Rex and outflank him in other ways.
This is through using intelligence and social strategies combined with pure diligence and work ethics.
This could be in the case of dealing with value-taking leaders or bosses.
Fighting your value-taking, incompetent boss directly would not be wise.

The next level would be to make nothing of it.
Not easy to reach that level, but possible, and worth to be pursued.

Another crucial point.
On a personal level, your ego should be anti-fragile enough to not be dependent on any shortcomings at all.
Or even better, that your shortcomings remind you of how you overcomed them to reach where you are today.
Summarised as what Lucio says in this statement

As a matter of fact, you're even more apex if you're at the top while being physically less formidable

Collaborative Frames As A Leader

Pushing the taller man around frames your relationship with your subordinate as competitive.
And gives the impression that you are afraid of him overpowering you.

You should strive for a collaborative frame with your subordinates.
After all, he helps you to further your interests.

That tall man certainly does not seem like a person who would challenge his leadership.

This inspires another possible reply

I am proud to say that I lead a team of people far more qualified than me in many ways.

Sounds very leader-like.
Implies you can get high-quality people to work for you.
And that you are not at all challenged by their intelligence and quality.

Matthew: You should strive for a collaborative frame with your subordinates.
After all, he helps you to further your interests. That tall man certainly does not seem like a person who would challenge his leadership.

Yes, yes, and yes.

And the biggest win one could ever score is to make your worst enemy want to support you.

Matthew: I am proud to say that I lead a team of people far more qualified than me in many ways.

Great one!

A bit similar to Steve Job's famous "I hire people to tell me what to do" (or something along those lines).

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

"I hire people to tell me what to do"

That's the dominant person ultimate mind-trick.

It could be understood as: "I'm just following what my subordinates tell me to do, look at me: I'm an equalitarian, inclusive leader."

But actually what it really means (Jeremy Irons: "I can tell you it's not brains that got me there" from PU) is:

"I'm so dominant that actually the only skills that I advertise and that matters is that I control people who have skills I don't."

 

Quote from John Freeman on December 5, 2020, 6:23 am

That's the dominant person ultimate mind-trick.

It could be understood as: "I'm just following what my subordinates tell me to do, look at me: I'm an equalitarian, inclusive leader."

But actually what it really means (Jeremy Irons: "I can tell you it's not brains that got me there" from PU) is:

"I'm so dominant that actually the only skills that I advertise and that matters is that I control people who have skills I don't."

Yep, exactly, quite a manipulative sleight of hand.

I wonder how many people actually fell for that line as an example of "inclusive" or egalitarian leadership.
It's instead more likely that only leaders with a supreme confidence in their unchallenged leadership would say that.

Thought Matthew's original option was lower in dominance and more inclusive:

Matthew: I am proud to say that I lead a team of people far more qualified than me in many ways.

Less about "who tells what" (dominance hierarchies) and less about who hires whom (if I hire you, I'm obviously higher power), and more giving with the compliment.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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