Virginia Satir suggested that 4.5% of people will typically use the satir categories leveler attitude. Many thought this was an optimistic view.
Levelers are congruent in their beliefs, respecting their own view, other people’s views, and the context of a situation. They show no symptoms of the other stress stances. The leveler appears knowledgeable, and speaks in facts. Their gestures are symmetrical, and particularly around mid waist. This stance shows credibility in speech giving. What do we mean by congruence – that the messages from body language and verbal communication match.
It is actually quite a feat to be in touch with your real feelings, thoughts and body. Intimacy takes a great deal of courage – to actually say what you feel honestly. To express your fears and discomforts about others behaviors and situations, especially if everyone else is saying what wonderful robes the naked emperor is wearing. The world and its humans aren’t necessarily going to reward you for speaking the truth when that’s not what they want to hear.
What about a man’s most feared question – “Does my bum look big in these pants?” A leveler might say “I don’t think these are the most flattering” A chicken might say “They look great”
Leveler is about win/win. It is the solution based problem solving stance. It focuses on solutions. In negotiation, this attitude focuses on the facts and the basis for the negotiation.
- They apologize when they are in the wrong (rather than to placate).
- They can evaluate a situation (rather than blaming a person).
- They know when abstract language is appropriate, like when talking to other experts or when they truly need to be objective (rather than to avoid feelings)
- They know when it’s useful to be asymmetrical and playful (hi cutie) without being dishonest or to divert.
Using a leveler stance, if you were late to a meeting you might walk in and say.
“I’m late, I’m sorry. Have you been inconvenienced? Where are you up to and what do you need?” The attention would be on the outcomes of the meeting, while acknowledging and dealing with the feelings of the people involved.
Written with Craig McClure