Gregory Hartley author of I can read you like a book talks at length about how we are constantly at the whim of ‘Alpha’. As he states it we are either creating the social norms or we are following them. Think about this in terms of your work place and about who calls the shots. Is your body language free flowing or does it react to that of your boss and managers? Do you sit like you do at home? Is your body language relaxed? How does it change when you move from your private space, your cubicle, or your office? How does it react when you are being reprimanded? I suspect that more then you know Alpha’s, not just in your workplace, but in your environment at large and plays a big part in how you comport yourself. Hartleys says that “Unless we are alpha, we are emulating the alpha and overlaying it to our own catalogue of gestures to maintain identity while keeping alpha happy.”
He divides us further into three categories. They are sub-typical, typical and super-typical and places everyone on a bell curve of behaviour within a given culture. The bell curve has a shape of a bell and shows the frequencies of behaviour with most people having middle ground behaviour. The super-typical show extremities in behaviour and set the rules for our cultures and microcultures, they are the politicians and celebrities of our world. Within every sector of our lives there exists this bell curve of behaviour because each of the groups we belong to has a set of acceptable behaviour; at work, your social network, at school and so forth.
Think of the playground, where the super-typical are the popular kids whom everyone looks up to and the sub-typical as the losers, the rest are in the middle. We look up to the super-typical and try to be like them except in the case of the sub-typical who simply long to advance to typical. In our workplace, the super-typical are our bosses and managers, the typical are the average people and the sub-typical are those at the low end of the bell curve.
Naturally, no matter where we are, we all know who these people are because rank is part of our evolutionary history. The sub-typical are those that form part of the group but aren’t the norm and they are consistently dismissed even though everyone sees them as part of the group. In life, the sub-typical are the homeless or socially inept, they don’t take any part in creating our social norms and as mentioned our super-typicals are our politicians and celebrities. Everyone belongs to some sort of group so we all follow social norming and we all to one degree or another follow our alphas. This then triggers behaviours, actions and therefore body language which becomes typical within our groups. So next time you watch other people’s body language be sure to frame it in light of imitating alpha.