The Rose of Leary

In 1957, Leary designed a model that allows you to map relationships between people. We call it the “Rose of Leary”. It can give you more insight. It is regularly applied in the business environment to gain more insight into how people relate to each other. How exactly does it work?


The basis for human relationships is the division into main dimensions:

  • control, influence and dominance
  • Intimacy and affection

This actually means that when people interact with each other, there is always something of power and influence at play on the one hand and personal distance or proximity on the other.

If we take control, influence and dominance at face value, we talk about the following terms:

  • power – domination – dominance
  • docile – submissive – humble

With regard to intimacy and affection, the following applies:

  • cooperation, sympathy, affection
  • Opposition, antipathy, rejection



Leary built his model on the above division in the shape of a circle. This model allows you to better represent the symmetric and complementary interactions. The following parts together form the circle and recognize the ,roles, that people fill.

Upstairs – together

Self-definition: I am stronger, better than you: I oversee it
Definition of the other: you are weak and needy Relationship definition: you have to listen to me

Up – Against

Self definition: I am better than us too, I only trust myself
Definition of the other: you are hostile and weak Relationship definition: look at me and feel inferior

Against – Above

Self definition: I am angry, threatening
Other definition: you are hostile and powerlessRelationship definition: be afraid of me

Against – Under

Self-definition: I am different from others, I don’t need anyone
Definition of the other: you are unreliable , you don’t like me
Relationship definition: reject me, just leave me

Down – Against

Self-definition: I do everything wrong, it is my own fault
Definition of the other: you are threatening Relationship definition: don’t meddle with me

Below – Together

Self-definition: I am weak and willing, I need help
Definition of the other: you are stronger than me Relationship definition: you must help and guide me

Together – Below

Self-definition: I am friendly, kind and accommodating
Definition of the other: you are also friendly and kind
Relationship definition: just say what you want, I am willing to do anything

Together – Upstairs

Self-definition: I am balanced, reliable and sympathetic
Definition of the other: you are balanced and sympathetic Relationship definition: we like each other

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