Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Alpha, Beta, Gamma, & Delta - Choosing your role

Picture credit: http://www.deviantart.com/art/ALPHA-349964323
The “Alpha” is the leader or directing individual in a group. For example, the Alpha male and Alpha female wolves are the dominant pair in a pack. Alpha is actually one of several social roles or personalities which can be considered:
Alpha: An Alpha personality is a leader. The alpha is usually the strongest, which may be physical strength, personality strength, or even intellectual strength depending on the group or circumstances. Positively, Alphas are influential, good communicators, promote change, and are the keystone that holds a group together. Negatively, Alphas can be arrogant, controlling, and power hungry. They can create conflict by challenging others for leadership, or try to hold on to leadership even when others could do better. In politics, Alphas are the candidates running for office.
Beta:  A Beta personality is a follower. (Some sources refer to a Beta as the second in command, but either way the Beta is following.) Positively, Betas are humble, supportive, help allow a group to function smoothly. Negatively, Betas can be dependent, lazy, and expect others to do things for them or solve their problems. They can also be submissive and taken advantage of, or hide their own talents and abilities out of timidness. Alphas command attention, although if an Alpha is too needy in seeking things from others they’re really a type of Beta. In politics, Betas are the ones following or supporting a particular candidate or party (however if a Beta becomes a strong enough proponent to others about a philosophy, then they’re really a type of Alpha).
Gamma: The Gamma personality is independent. That means they neither try to control nor allow themselves to be controlled. Positively, Gammas are self-reliant, and necessarily productive because nobody’s taking care of them. Negatively, Gammas can be isolated, selfish, and don’t contribute anything to society because they’re self-absorbed. Some Gammas have the determination to become Alphas if they wanted to, but they don’t want to. In politics, Gammas are the ones saying things like, “Politics is annoying and corrupt, so I don’t pay attention to it.”
Above are the three main roles people play in a given context, presented in a rather general manner. Each role can be implemented positively or negatively. Also, an individual can play different roles in different contexts, such as an Alpha manager of a business who lives alone and so is a Gamma when outside of work. A classic saying (perhaps invented by somebody stuck in traffic) requests that people should “lead, follow, or get out of the way” which is a summary of the three roles. Are there any roles other than Alpha, Beta, and Gamma? For example, consider a “group of equals”. However, such a group still has Alphas, because they are the ones that ensure the group of equals runs smoothly, or are the ones proposing and promoting ideas within the group for others to follow. There is however a meta-role to consider, which is a positive way of approaching Alpha, Beta, and Gamma:
Delta: The Delta personality is dynamic. The Greek letter Delta is a triangle, which is appropriate since it covers the three roles above synthesized and integrated. A Delta is confident and capable enough to lead, complete within themselves and humble enough that they’re not threatened by following, they’re self-reliant enough to be independent, and most importantly adaptable enough to switch between these roles as needed. If there’s an ideal role it’s Delta, because the person isn’t just focused on themselves and what they want to do, but are considering what’s needed for the good of the whole. The only potential downside is if a Delta focuses too much on serving others in whatever role that they neglect their own needs or inspirations, in which case they’re really a less positive type of Beta.