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The Alpha Male

An alpha male is a man who is highly intelligent, confident, and successful. Alpha males are generally considered great leaders and prefer to be in positions of power. Common traits alpha males possess include:

The Alpha Male

In 1000 BCE, the Greeks created their alphabet, with the first letter being alpha. In the centuries that followed, the most dominant creature in a pack of wild animals (or supposedly more evolved humans) was alpha too.

Researchers found that alphas are dynamic in their voice. They use a louder voice when they are passionate and a quieter one for important things. Or, they speak fast when telling a story and slow down for emphasis.

While opponents of President Obama have disapproved of his political record, his decision-making skills define him as an alpha male leader. Putting his politics aside, here is the trait we can learn from him: his incredible decision-making ability.

Another great example is motivational speaker Tony Robbins interviewing actor/comedian Kevin Hart, which is an excellent example of two different alpha male personalities engaging in touch without awkwardness.

Bruce Lee is considered the greatest martial artist of all time, and his hybrid style helped create mixed martial arts (MMA) today. A quiet, confident alpha, Lee changed how America viewed Asian men in films.

The goal of executive coaching is not simply to treat the alpha as an individual problem but to improve the entire team dynamic. Initial success creates an incentive to persevere, and the virtuous cycle reverberates throughout the entire organization.

Top women can be just as challenging to coach as alpha males. Both have been extremely successful with their particular styles, which makes it difficult for them to see the need for change. But because women more readily understand the importance of positive motivation and the limitations of fear-driven cultures, they are less likely to avoid interpersonal issues. They may not enjoy delving into the touchy-feely zones any more than alpha males do, but they are more willing to because they understand that inspiring and motivating people are just as important as pursuing the right idea.

In 2001, Dell embodied the corporate alpha archetype; its tough culture was all about getting results. But as the company matured and the tech industry faced its worst downturn, then CEO Michael Dell and president Kevin Rollins felt a need to change how the organization achieved its industry-leading results. They wanted to improve teamwork between the two of them and other senior executives, and they aimed to develop a more mature and welcoming corporate culture.

In our experience, when an alpha admits he is afraid or asks for help, the impact on his team is profoundly positive. So it is a key milestone when an alpha expresses a fear or exposes a vulnerability.

Our coaching focuses on getting the alpha to recognize his underlying emotions while they are still at the niggling, flurry-in-the-gut level, long before the big eruption occurs. Tying emotions to physical sensations makes the process seem more concrete. If we can help the alpha feel an emotion more fully, it is less likely to burst out at inappropriate moments. If the alpha can tell when his feelings are beginning to intensify, he can channel them constructively and avoid a temper tantrum.

Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of the National Industries for the Blind, is the rare alpha who easily expresses appreciation. In an off-site team-building exercise, he wanted his entire executive team to experience the power of praise. So we asked all present to note their energy levels before and after a 20-minute period in which each of them expressed appreciation to everyone in the room. Though dubious, the team complied. At the end of the exercise, to universal surprise, everyone reported higher levels of energy and optimism. Every team we work with reports similar results.

Changes in behavior typically begin to show in three to six months, as the client harvests low-hanging fruit from our initial coaching efforts. Sustained changes take about a year. But the goal of coaching is to change the entire team dynamic, not simply to treat the alpha as an individual problem. After two years, an organization can be well on its way to transformation, with a dysfunctional and combative executive team turning into a collaborative and trusting one.

Alpha male and beta male, or simply put alpha and beta, are pseudoscientific terms for men derived from the designation for alpha and beta animals in ethology. They may also be used with other genders, such as women, or additionally use other letters of the Greek alphabet (such as sigma). The popularization of these terms to describe humans has been widely criticized by scientists.[1][2]

The terms were used almost solely in animal ethology prior to the 1990s, particularly in regard to mating privileges with females, ability to hold territory, and hierarchy in terms of food consumption within their herd or flock.[7] In animal ethology, beta refers to an animal who is subordinate to a higher-ranking members in the social hierarchy, thus having to wait to eat and having negligible or no opportunities for copulation.[8]

In the 1982 book of Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes, primatologist and ethologist Frans de Waal suggested that his observations of a chimpanzee colony could possibly be applied to human interactions. Some commentary on the book, including in the Chicago Tribune, discussed its parallels to human power hierarchies. In the early 1990s, some media outlets began to use the term alpha to refer to humans, specifically to "manly" men who excelled in business. Journalist Jesse Singal, writing in New York magazine, attributes the popular awareness of the terms to a 1999 Time magazine article, which described an opinion held by Naomi Wolf, who was at the time an advisor to then-presidential candidate Al Gore: "Wolf has argued internally that Gore is a 'Beta male' who needs to take on the 'Alpha male' in the Oval Office before the public will see him as the top dog." Singal also credits Neil Strauss's bestselling 2005 book on pickup artistry, titled The Game, for popularizing alpha male as an aspirational ideal.[9]

Misconceptions about "alpha males" are common within the manosphere, a collection of websites, blogs, and online forums promoting masculinity, strong opposition to feminism, and misogyny which includes movements such as the men's rights movement, incels (involuntary celibates), Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), pick-up artists (PUA), and fathers' rights groups.[15][4][16][17][18]

The term beta is also often used among manosphere communities to refer to men they consider easily taken advantage of or ignored by women.[19][20][21] Its usage is inconsistent; media studies scholar Debbie Ging has described the communities' theories about "alpha, beta, omega, and zeta masculinity" as "confused and contradictory".[20] Beta is sometimes used as self-identifier among men who do not embody hegemonic masculinity.[4][5] It is also sometimes used by manospherians as a pejorative term for men who are or are perceived to be feminist, or who are thought to be acting as a "white knight".[22] Some manosphere groups refer to members of other groups in the manosphere as betas; for example, members of the MGTOW community sometimes use it to refer to men's rights activists or incels.[4] Members of the pickup artist (PUA) communities use it to refer to men who cannot seduce women.[23] Similar terms used by the manosphere communities include nice guy, cuck, simp, and soy boy.[19][24][25][26][27]

A beta orbiter is a beta male who invests time and effort into mingling with women in the hope of eventually getting into a romantic relationship or having sex with them. The term earned some media attention in 2019 with the murder of Bianca Devins. A man killed the 17-year-old Devins and posted photographs of her body online, one of which bore the caption, "sorry fuckers, you're going to have to find somebody else to orbit."[30][31]

Sigma male is used to denote a male who is equally dominant to an alpha male, but exists outside the alpha-beta male hierarchy as a "lone wolf". In the manosphere, it is regarded as the "rarest" kind of male.[34] The term first appeared in a blog post by alt-right provocateur Vox Day.[35] In 2018, the term appeared on YouTube and in 2021 it went viral.[36][37]

Despite its alt-right origins, the term sigma male has taken on an ironic and satirical meaning, often mocking the concept of the "manosphere" and the ideas of hustle culture with bizarre and nonsensical actions being considered part of the sigma male mindset or "grindset".[38][39]

Mech used the alpha wolf nomenclature in a classic book of wolf biology, The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species, which was published in 1970. But he has made a point of pushing back against the term as new research has come to light. After a years-long effort, he finally got The Wolf taken out of print in 2022, he says. The 2003 book Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation, which he co-edited with zoologist Luigi Boitani, is now far more accurate and up-to-date, he says.

Primates are notable for the widespread presence of long-term female-male associations which go beyond the mating context. However, little attention has been given to the factors that affect within-species variation in female-male relationships, especially among New World primates. Although detailed accounts of heterosexual relationships in Cebus species are scarce, a few studies have suggested the occurrence of strong associations between adult females and high-ranking males. This study explores affiliative relationships between females and the alpha male during the nonbreeding season in wild tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella nigritus). Affiliative relationships were explored through female-male patterns of spatial proximity and grooming. By adopting a social network approach, we analyzed: (1) whether the alpha male is the preferred male partner for females and, (2) whether variation (if any) in female-alpha male affiliation can be explained through both female individual characteristics and social network metrics. Our results showed that alpha males were the favorite male partner for adult females in the proximity networks, but this did not hold true in the grooming networks. In addition, female-alpha male interaction patterns showed considerable variation, with only some females being strongly associated with the alpha male. Our results suggest that such a variation can be explained by female dominance rank, level of centrality (the quantity and intensity of spatial connection with other females) and prestige (the quantity of grooming received by other females) in female-female social networks. Taken together, these findings highlight two aspects of female-alpha male relationships in tufted capuchin monkeys: the alpha male represents the most socially integrated male in the group, and females with high dominance ranks and high centrality in both proximity and grooming networks show stronger relationships with the alpha male. 041b061a72

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