To be or not to be - use FIRO B

To be or not to be - use FIRO B

Do you find yourself seizing control? Perhaps you prefer to work alone? Or maybe you are really uncomfortable in getting to know others at work on a more personal level? Or maybe you find yourself feeling excluded from projects where you feel you need to be included.

FIRO-B is a much underrated psychometric. If you want to know more about how you and others prefer to act and behave in group situations then FIRO-B could provide the key to unlock the answers you and your team are looking for.

Here’s the technical bit. FIRO-B stands for Fundamental Interpersonal Relationship Orientation-Behaviour. So, you can appreciate why its title has been shortened to FIRO-B. Its origins lay in the work undertaken by psychologist Will Shultz who was invited by the US Navy to understand and then improve how relationships work in the confined space on-board submarines. The results of this research now form the basis of the FIRO-B, a short yet powerful psychometric that helps people of all abilities to understand their wants and needs from a group situation. FIRO-B’s application in leadership development and team building is reliably insightful.

FIRO-B measures the following:

  • Inclusion
  • Control
  • Affection

In a business context, these measures translate into:

  • Involvement - inclusion, participation, recognition, belonging and how to relate to groups.
  • Influence - control, leadership, responsibility and decision-making authority.
  • Connection - affection, warmth, understanding, closeness, openness and relating to individuals.

FIRO-B measures involvement, influence and connection in two separate dimensions - expressed behaviours and wanted behaviours.

Expressed behaviours – i.e. how much you want to initiate behaviour, how you behave towards others and how consistent you are towards others.

Here are some examples of expressed behaviours:

  • Expressed involvement measures how much or little you want to include others in your projects.
  • Expressed influence measures how much or little you want to exert control over others.
  • Expressed connection measures how much or little you get to know colleagues on a personal level.

Each of these factors are measured on a scale of high, medium and low.

Wanted behaviours – i.e. how much you want others to take the initiative, how you want to be on the receiving end of these behaviours.

Here are some examples of wanted behaviours:

  • Wanted involvement could measures how much or little you want to be included in meetings and/or email conversations.
  • Wanted influence measures how much or little you want to be directed by others and/or be open to persuasion.
  • Wanted connection measures your self-motivation i.e. how much or little encouragement is needed from others.

These are only a few examples of expressed and wanted behaviours. Using FIRO-B helps you discover many more.

Group dynamics is fundamental to leadership and teamwork. Using FIBO-B, often alongside other highly regarding psychometrics such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI),can help prevent unnecessary conflict and resolve issues that can often arise due to misunderstandings.

This table shows how your FIRO-B scores will be reported:


Expressed behaviour

High, Medium or Low

High, Medium or LowHigh, Medium or LowHigh, Medium or Low
Wanted behaviour

High, Medium or Low

High, Medium or LowHigh, Medium or LowHigh, Medium or Low
TotalHigh, Medium or LowHigh, Medium or LowHigh, Medium or LowHigh, Medium or Low

At Beyond Theory we provide the FIRO Business Leadership Report with FIRO Business Profile. This provides insights not only into the FIRO-B measures in a business context but how these relate to relationships with:

  • Your manager.
  • Your co-workers.
  • Your direct reports.

The report also highlights your approaches to:

  • Handling conflict and negotiation.
  • Decision making.

Developmental stretches are also provided along with a summary of your suggested next steps to increase your effectiveness as a leader.

Want to know more or experience the FIRO-B for yourself or your team, them please let me know (

Paul Beesley
Director and Senior Consultant
Beyond Theory

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