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bashful  |  dopey  |  sleepy  |  sneezy  |  doc  |  grumpy  |  happy


Some Strengths which Sleepy may exhibit in a Group Meeting:

  • Rational and logical
  • Understands things literally and concretely through his five senses
  • Uses understanding in a hands on way (making great mechanics or having strong technical skills)
  • Values privacy as well as adventure
  • In a meeting they may be daydreaming about being out on a motorcycle, in an airplane, skydiving, or surfing. Because they become bored rather quickly their reveries are about these types of escapes.

How do you know when you have a Sleepy in your meeting?

  • Unresponsive
  • Acts bored
  • Daydreams
  • Stares out the window
  • Sits back from the table
  • Tries to hide in the middle
  • Yawns
  • Eyes actually start to close

Some Difficult Behaviors which Sleepy may exhibit in a Group Meeting:

  • Brings down the energy of the whole group
  • Hard to draw into a conversation
  • Acts as if subject matter is unimportant
  • Makes leader question how interesting (s)he is

Assumed Feelings Underlying BOTH Strengths and Weaknesses for Sleepy:

  • Feels isolated
  • Afraid there's no room for his feelings
  • Doesn't expect anyone to be interested
  • Becomes passively aggressive - sleepy and bored
  • Wants to be important and recognized
  • But feels unwanted

How to Leverage Sleepy Strengths:

  • Remind sleepy that personal reveries are often unconscious approaches to solving the problem, and the more that this can be brought back to the group, the more successful will the group's efforts be
  • Encourage them to think through technical applications and discuss them
  • Ask them what the logical and practical implications are.
  • Ask them how a new problem-solution design would work
  • Try asking questions about lively, sensational activities (skydiving, race car driving, mountain climbing, etc) to gain their attention.. when successful it provides MORE energy and enthusiasm to everyone in the group

Potential Interventions to Diffuse Sleepy Problems:

  • Draw him out of his isolation
  • Energy circle
  • Stretching
  • Paired introduction exercise
  • Point out connection between sleepy and other member, "Sleepy, both you and _____________ seem to feel___________"

General Description of Sleepy Personality:

Sleepy's primary mode of living is focused internally, dealing with things rationally and logically. He takes things in via five senses in a literal, concrete fashion. Sleepys have a compelling drive to understand the way things work. They're good at logical analysis, and like to use it on practical concerns. They typically have strong powers of reasoning, although they're not interested in theories or concepts unless they can see a practical application. They like to take things apart and see the way they work.

While off in an apparent daydream, Sleepy's reveries have an adventuresome spirit. They are attracted to motorcycles, airplanes, sky diving, surfing, etc. They thrive on action, and are usually fearless. They are fiercely independent, needing to have the space to make their own decisions about their next step. They do not believe in or follow rules and regulations, as this would prohibit their ability to "do their own thing". Their sense of adventure and desire for constant action makes Sleepy prone to becoming bored rather quickly.

Sleepy types value privacy and sometimes keep important issues to themselves. Their concern for the present moment and their inability to recognize the importance of setting goals, often leads them into passive aggressive conflict with authority. Being action-oriented outside the controlled environment of a focus group or business meeting, Sleepy reacts against restrictions with apparent boredom. Sleepy may be experiencing feelings of internal emptiness and uncomfortable levels of stress. In such situations, Sleepy therefore, attempts to flee the circumstances by mentally tuning out; going off into a day dream that allows him to escape the discomfort of constraints on his wish for freedom.

Although they do not respect the rules of the "System", they follow their own rules and guidelines for behavior faithfully. They will not take part in something which violates their personal laws. Sleepy likes and needs to spend time alone, because this is when they can sort things out in their minds most clearly. They absorb large quantities of impersonal facts from the external world, and sort through those facts, making judgments, when they are alone.

Sleepys are action-oriented people who tire in a constrained environment. They like to be up and about, doing things. They are not people to sit behind a desk all day and do long-range planning. A two hour group is tough for them. Adaptable and spontaneous, they respond to what is immediately before them. They usually have strong technical skills, and can be effective technical leaders.

Sleepys avoid making judgments based on personal values - they feel that judgments and decisions should be made impartially, based on the fact. They are not naturally tuned in to how they are affecting others. They do not pay attention to their own feelings, and even distrust them and try to ignore them, because they have difficulty distinguishing between emotional reactions and value judgments.

Sleepys who are down on themselves are negatively judgmental about their inability to perform some task. They can get into a downward spiral in a group feeling withdrawn from the task and then judging their inability to perform. They will then approach the task in a grim emotional state, expecting the worst and therefore isolate and withdraw further.

Sleepy is difficult to understand in their need for personal space, which in turn has an impact on their relationships with others. They need to be able to "spread out"--both physically and psychologically. But because they need such a lot of flexibility to be as spontaneous as they feel they must be, they tend to become inflexible when they have to conform (as in a meeting situation) appearing dormant, impassive and detached. This appearance is intensified since they naturally express themselves non-verbally. When they do actually verbalize, Sleepys are masters of the one-liner, often showing flashes of humor in the most tense situations; this can result in their being seen as thick-skinned or tasteless.

Sleepies are happiest when they are centered in action-oriented tasks which require detailed logical analysis and technical skill. They take pride in their ability to take the next correct step. However, groups and meetings are experienced as confining and constraining. They need to escape and do so in their silent imaginations as the rest of the group discusses the task at hand


To read descriptions of the other Dwarf Personalities, choose an appropriate link below:
bashful  |  dopey  |  sleepy  |  sneezy  |  doc  |  grumpy  |  happy

read more about general tips and techniques for creating an encouraging, supportive atmosphere for all participants in a group meeting.


About The Author
Dr. Sharon Livingston

Sharon Livingston, Ph.D. is founder and Co-President of The Looking Glass and Executive Solutions, Inc. Articles either about or by Dr. Livingston have appeared in The New York Times (several times - see 5/6/01 Long Island edition), Marketing News, Communication World, Adweek, The Washington Post, The Daily News, Newsday, Advertising and Communication Times, The American Bar Association Journal, Delta Sky, Discover, Beverage World, U.S. News and World Report, Quirks Marketing Review, and Winners. Her work has been referenced in The Group Depth Interview, a book published by Prentice-Hall, and Beyond Mind Games a book published by American Demographics. She has addressed gatherings of the American Marketing Association, the Advertising Research Foundation, the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Society, Qualitative Research Consultant Association, Marketing Research Associaiton, The Qualitative Research Council of the Advertising Research Foundation, Professional Marketing Research Society of Canada and the Sales Executive Clubs. Dr. Livingston holds a B.A. in Psychology, an M.A. in Organizational Behavior and a PhD in Clinical Psychology, has had extensive training in creative ideation procedures, group dynamics, applied psychological techniques and projective methods. She is currently on the Qualitative Research Council of the Advertising Research Foundation, is a current and founding member of QRCA - the Qualitative Research Consultant Association; a founding member of FFA - the Focus Facility Association, and is also a member of the American Marketing Association, and the National Association of Female Executives.



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