I hope you had a great weekend and were able to enjoy the gorgeous weather!
How many times have you wanted to scream, “Leave Me Alone!” when you are interrupted for the 10th time before 9am? While that isn’t the quickest way to win the congeniality of the week award, there are ways to get more done. Last week we talked about being bombarded with information, emails and interruptions. This week, we’ll go a step further and look at how you can communicate your way to productivity.
While having the right planning system, maximizing technology, and focusing on high payoff activities are critical to productivity, nothing takes the place of effective communication.
Let’s talk about behavior styles. There are a variety of assessments available to identify behavior styles. We use an assessment called the Performance Indicator, and it labels the styles as: Driver, Expressive, Amiable and Analytical. Each of us has a blend of all of the different styles, but more often than not, we have a dominant style. This style determines the way we most naturally react and respond emotionally, the way we communicate and the way we approach productivity. This week, we will take a look at the Driver Style.
Drivers: Drivers are extremely fast paced and are predominantly focused on results. They are big picture thinkers and often overlook details. Typically, a Driver would rather get more done and have a few errors than taking too much time and getting it perfect. Here are a few strategies to improve your productivity when working with Drivers:
1. Email with bullet points. If you need to, attach more detailed information, but keep the email short, sweet and to the point.
2. If you are writing an email that requires an action, include “Action Requested” in the subject line. Drivers go through emails very quickly, and this will help separate the informative emails from actionable ones.
3. Be on time. Time is of the essence for Drivers. If you are scheduled to meet, be on time and end on time (or early).
4. Don’t take it personally. If a Driver is short with you, 99% of the time, it has nothing to do with you. They are fast paced and assertive by nature. When we’re stressed, we magnify our natural style so much that our strengths become liabilities. When Drivers are stressed, they have a tendency to be more impatient.
5. Give options. Drivers prefer to be in control. If possible, give them a few choices (that you are comfortable with) and let them choose. For example, “Would you rather meet this afternoon or tomorrow morning?” or “We can approach it this way or that way. Which do you think is best?” It is truly a win-win.
6. Get to the point. The Driver wants the big picture and will ask for more details if needed. The old adage, “I don’t need to know how the clock was made, just tell me what time it is” holds true for Drivers.
7. Pay attention. You can tell when Drivers are getting antsy by their nonverbal communication. Are they looking at their watch, tapping their foot or getting restless? If so, most of what you have to say will be only partially heard. Either get to the point faster or ask if they would prefer to meet another time.
While behavior style does not provide an excuse for behavior, it certainly helps explain it. Rather than getting frustrated with Drivers, ask yourself this question:
“Is it more important for me to be right or get it right?”
Stay tuned, next week, we’ll discuss communicating for increased productivity with Expressives.
I’ll also post a motivational story or two as a weekly pick-me-up.
Make it a great week!