Are Top Dogs Instigator Communicators?


Last time I told you that movie hero Rocky Balboa was an Empathizer-type communicator. In the Talk to Me© leadership communication system, he would be a “Seer.” He went to war with Apollo Creed for the Heavyweight Boxing Championship. As you’ve learned, whom you box with in real life is typically your opposite communicator type. I’ve also taught that you should walk in the shoes of your opposite talk type. Are there characteristics which tell you that boisterous and flamboyant top dog Apollo Creed was an Instigator communicator? You tell me….


Instigator-type communicators don’t mind a good fight or conflict. They are strong-willed, eat nails for breakfast, and fart thunder. I-types can’t stand losing, much less losing face, and they want to win big and look good while doing it. When criticized harshly, they will work harder and smarter to be the one in the right. Situations that worry most people roll off the backs of Instigators like water off a duck.

I-type talk-traits which Apollo demonstrated:

…Lived life with fiery passion – and an occasional flare-up
…Easily accepted that he was the greatest champion
…Turned bad news into an opportunity
…Snatched success out of the jaws of defeat
…Came up with the promotional idea of using a local talent
…Bragged comfortably
…Got lost in the marketing and didn’t see that Rocky had nothing to lose
…Surrounded himself with very talented people who could deliver what he needed
…Saw the map ahead which would solve his problems
…Made a memorable spectacle of the whole thing, with fancy costumes and all
…Confident – ever confident
…Never going to give up or quit
…Believed in justice and fairness for all


If you are an Instigator communicator, these traits will fit you like a hand in a boxing glove when you’re in the ring with your talk opponent:

• You need R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

• You default to anger when vulnerable.

• Tough feedback is easier to give than to take.

• Getting past the past is your way to make peace, not war.

• Reaching a friendly compromise is a challenge, when you are hurting.

• An Achilles heel for you, however, is that when the red flag of anger is flying, logic flies right out the door.

• Rogues or toxic communicators, psychodrama, and making a mountain out of a molehill drain your physical energy battery.

• When stressed, you forget that being right and winning is not the same as being loving and compromising.

• You are for doing less of what isn’t working.

• You recommend a cooling off period before attempting problem-solving, when the bridge of trust has been weakened.

• Although proud, you can admit to making mistakes.

• You are a role model for how to get down to business and not beat around the bush.

• You tend to be loyal to people who produce the results you seek.

To avoid looking like a goof ball, use your strengths, and your co-communicator’s strengths, for the good of all.


Dr. Dennis O’Grady is the new Talk Doc in town, a corporate consultant, team trainer, and the insightful, original developer and researcher of the Talk to Me© positive and effective communication system. T2Me has been successfully implemented in multi-generational family companies and couples communication training.

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