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Read: management & leadership 6: Empowerment through Core Qualities

(based on Daniel Ofman's theory)

Each individual has positive qualities. Searching for these positive traits and strengthening them is called empowerment. Ofman's theory on core quadrants presents a method for identifying and strengthening each individual's positive characteristics.

Each core quadrant comprises four concepts: core qualities, pitfalls, challenges and allergies.

Core Quality -> Pitfall
^   v
Allergy <- Challenge

Core Qualities

A core quality is an individual's specific strength, something he/she is good at, or for which he/she is often praised by others. To the person him- or herself it is a matter of course: anyone can do it. It is an inherent quality that can either be suppressed or developed.


Decisiveness, considerateness, carefulness, courage, orderliness, flexibility


A pitfall is a transformation of a core quality; not the opposite, but 'too much of a good thing'. The positive aspect goes too far, turning a strength into a weakness.


Helpful becomes meddling.
Careful becomes fussy.
Flexible becomes capricious.

Yet there is a positive quality behind every transformation. The underlying core quality can be found using a negative label (pitfall).


Someone who acts inflexibly, may have decisiveness as a core quality.
Someone with an unyielding attitude may be a go-getter at the core.
N.B.: this concerns behaviour: an individual is not really inflexible, but he or she behaves inflexibly.


A challenge is the positive opposite of a pitfall. Having identified the negative, transformed behaviour, one can start looking for the challenge.


In a nagging person, the positive opposite is patience (and the core quality decisiveness).
And: in a capricious person, the challenge is orderly behaviour (and the core quality flexibility).

The core quality and the challenge are complementary qualities. The objective is to strike a balance between the two. If the challenge is underdeveloped, the core quality must be improved to find the balance.


It is not necessary to become less decisive, but to develop more patience, resulting in a patient decisiveness without nagging.
Or: find a balance between flexibility and orderliness.


The core qualities can also be used to identify potential conflicts with the environment. People tend to be allergic to too much of their own challenge in other persons. The allergy is 'too much of a good thing' of the challenge, as well as the negative opposite of the core quality.


The negative opposite of the core quality decisiveness is passiveness. Too much patience may also degenerate into passiveness.

The more people are confronted with their own allergy, the greater the risk they run of ending up in their own pitfall.


The decisive individual starts nagging in response to too much passiveness in another individual.

Example of two core quadrants:

straightforward -> aloof
^   v
obsequious <- empathizing

decisive -> nagging
^   v
passive <- patient

Learning from encounters using the core quadrant