Can’t We All Just Get Along?

We are all wired differently.

Understanding your own behavioral preferences and what makes you tick is an important first step towards better communication and improved results in the workplace.  Understanding how others are wired and what makes them tick is essential if you want to improve relationships, maximize teamwork, troubleshoot problems and reduce conflict.

In my previous post I introduced  the characteristics of behavior utilized in the DiSC model.  To recap, they are:

  • Dominance- direct, high intensity, active in solving problems, strong-willed, prone to risk-taking and often impatient
  • Influences-talkative, magnetic, persuasive, expressive and people-oriented
  • Steadiness-reliable, loyal, modest, introverted, collaborators, slow to change
  • Compliance—play by the rules, task oriented, careful, systematic, accurate.

All of us possess all four of these characteristics, but in varying degrees. We all have one that is dominant and a secondary characteristic that stands above the rest. What’s your behavioral profile?  I am a “CD.”  I am very task oriented (ask to see my task list which I carry with me at all times!), play by the rules, direct and often impatient (ask my wonderfully tolerant wife about that). Steadiness people can drive me nuts because I want to get things done, check it off my list and move on to the next thing.  The “S’s” want to form a committee to discuss every idea to death and put a team together to work on the project (OK, so I am a little bias on this one).

The point is we have to learn to work with people of all different behavioral styles, which means we have to learn to adjust our approaches accordingly. When I deal with an “S” I have to learn to be more patient, and use buzzwords and phrases like, “how can I support you,” or “how can we collaborate on this?” (Yuck!).  I also have to understand that my tendency to be overly direct will not be greeted well by an “S,” so if I want positive results, I need to use a more indirect approach.

Here are some tips on how to work well with people of the four behavioral styles:

Work well with D’s

  • Firm handshake—good eye contact
  • Buzz phrases—“do whatever it takes” “get the job done”
  • All business-no chit chat
  • Be prepared to make decisions and move quickly

Work well with I’s

  • Smile
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Work on relationship building
  • Buzz Phrases—“that is a great approach” “this will be fun”

Work well with S’s

  • Encourage them to contribute in groups where others tend to dominate
  • Buzz phrases—“how can I support or help you” “I know I can depend on you”
  • Be warm and friendly.  Offer critical comments quietly and privately.
  • Allow them to warm-up to change.

Work well with C’s

  • Stick to the task
  • Just the facts
  • Give them space
  • Buzz phrases- “what does the data show?” “we need a strategic approach”

In my coaching practice, I often help client design experiments to help them work with people with different behavioral styles. Try a few different approaches.  Take some notes, and reflect on what does and doesn’t work for you.  You’ll be able to adjust your strategy over time to the point where you will notice a marked improvement in relationships and results.