The Irritating Side of a Golden Retriever

May 9, 2013 — Leave a comment

You may be surprised to find me using a Golden Retriever as a personality type in my series on Dealing With Difficult People, especially if you know me personally and know that I have owned two Golden Retrievers and how much I love the breed.

I’m also aware of Gary Smalley’s breakdown of personality types and his positive take on the Golden Retriever.

But take a look at it from another stand point.

Here is the “up side” of people with this personality type:

  • They are super agreeable
  • They say “yes” without even thinking
  • They are eager to please
  • They avoid conflict

Here is the “down side” of people with this personality type:

  • They are super agreeable
  • They say “yes” without even thinking
  • They are eager to please
  • They avoid conflict

Yes, that is no misprint.  The same traits of these people that everyone loves are also the traits that can be irritating and problematic.

Here’s why.  It’s impossible to learn what their opinion is about anything because they always parrot someone else’s position.  They don’t add any new ideas to a discussion for fear someone might disagree with them.  They are mindless drones because they feel safer in that role.  Being eager to please, they try to anticipate the direction a conversation is flowing, then will jump in the boat and start rowing furiously in the same direction.  Wanting to be liked by everyone, they believe the best way to achieve this is by always going along with the majority.  Their fear of conflict is so strong that they will outwardly agree, even if they inwardly strongly oppose the other person’s position.

How can you help them come out of their fear-based position?
  1. Insist they support their positions with facts and figures.  Don’t allow them to paint a broad stroke as they outlike their idea.  Ask them how they arrived at their conclusion. Tell them you want details.
  2. Give them permission to disclose their dislikes.  Let them know you are genuinely interested in hearing anything negative they might see in your plan or idea.
  3. Invite them to disagree with you.  Show yourself to being open to others disagreeing with you by staying calm and engaged when your idea is being challenged.  Tell them that one of the ways you sharpen your own ideas is when someone has an opposing idea.
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