You Can Be Right, or Be Happy. Pick One.
Over 85% of our personal and financial success stems not from our technical skills, but from our ability to have positive interpersonal relationships. If you’ve ever taken a behavioral assessment, like the Myers Briggs, Disc, Insights, colors, animals, etc., then you’re probably familiar with the concepts I’m about to explain. Unfortunately you need a Ph.D. to understand much of what’s been written on the topic. I’m going to simplify it.
While there are dozens of names and labels, ultimately, there are 4 primary behavior styles:
Everyone is a combination of styles, meaning no one is all one style or none of another. We all float along on a continuum. When we are under stress, our styles become magnified so heavily that our strengths actually get overextended and become a weakness.
When communicating with others, your style shapes your perspective and your perception of reality. Let’s face it, no one would intentionally communicate ineffectively. That means that when we’re communicating, we think we’re right. In a conflict or a disagreement, if we think we’re right, that automatically makes the other person wrong. Well, you can be right or you can be happy. The goal of style-flexing is to focus on getting it right (accomplishing the goal) rather than being right.
Your style has nothing to do with how educated you are, nor does your style have anything to do with your age. Style isn’t determined by moral turpitude, intelligence, or intent. Your style is merely a reflection of how you react, respond, and communicate. We are all born with predispositions to certain styles. Our environment then shapes and molds us.
This is what you need to know about the basics of the four styles.
- Drivers walk fast, talk fast, eat fast, think fast, multi-task, and focus on getting results. Drivers like to be in control and appreciate when others share their sense of urgency. The Driver’s motto? If it ain’t broke, break it, because I can make it work quicker, faster, easier and better.
- Drivers are big picture thinkers, and they are extremely decisive. They sometimes make careless errors or make decisions without having all the information. They typically have a short fuse and get angry easily, but they get over it just as fast.
- Drivers tend to be extroverted. They gain energy being around others and in social situations. They think and process aloud, so they often say things they regret. Because Drivers are results-oriented, task driven, and assertive, when they are under stress and pressure, they can come across as rude, aggressive, or abrasive.
- Drivers are not typically detail-oriented; they don’t care how the clock was made, they just want to know the time, and they want to know now.
- Drivers like to be in control. They know what they want, and they accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. They think strategically, rather than tactically.
- Like Drivers, Expressives are big picture thinkers, fast-paced, and impatient. They are also more extroverted, process aloud, and prefer the big picture to details. Unlike Drivers, Expressives are more focused on people and relationships than results.
- Expressives are sharers. They will come into work on Monday and walk around the office telling everyone what happened from the time they left the office on Friday until they drove in the parking lot that morning (and they have pictures to prove it!)
- Expressives are story tellers, they are persuasive, and enjoy being the center of attention. Because they move fast and focus on the big picture, they tend to make careless errors and miss details.
- Validation, feedback, and recognition are crucial to Expressives. They struggle with social rejection and hate when others appear upset with them.
- Expressives appear disorganized, tend to have lots of piles, start on the next task before finishing the one they are working on, and get bored easily. They are emotional, highly social, extremely persuasive, and enjoy building relationships and fun environments.
- In contrast to Drivers and Expressives, Amiables and Analyticals are slow-paced, patient, introverted, and detail-oriented.
- Amiables are all about harmony and peace. They are extremely loyal, and they are great listeners. Amiables are team-players who love doing things to help others. Amiables don’t like to be the center of attention, but they do want to know they are making a difference.
- Amiables dislike conflict, confrontation and change. Amiables prefer predictable routines and have a tendency to be indecisive. Have you ever seen two Amiables trying to go to lunch?
- In an effort to avoid conflict, Amiables tend to be passive aggressive. Rather than assertively communicate how they’re feeling, they’ll take it, and take it, and take it, until, like a rubber band, they’ve stretched too far, and then they pop. Because it has taken them so long to get to the point of being upset, it takes them a long time to get over their anger, and they hold a grudge.
- Similar to Amiables, Analyticals are very patient, slow-paced, and detail-oriented. Analyticals also tend to be more introverted, meaning they gain their energy by spending time alone, having time to think and process. Analyticals are similar to Drivers in that their main focus is on results, but they prefer to focus on quality, detail, and accuracy, regardless of how long the task takes.
- Analyticals prefer to collect all the information, examine all sides of the equation, and carefully, methodically, make a decision. This can be frustrating for Drivers and Expressives who would rather make a quick decision, even if it requires going back and making adjustments later.
- Analyticals may appear to be skeptical and critical, as they ask a lot of questions and challenge information. But they are simply trying to gather data and understand. Because they spend a great deal of time and energy ensuring their results are accurate, they tend to become defensive when others point out mistakes or oversights.
- Similar to Drivers, Analyticals are extremely logical and objective. They are not as likely to be persuaded by feelings and emotions but prefer logic and facts. Analyticals tend to be black-and-white thinkers, uncomfortable with shades of gray.
We are all some combination of each style, but most of us have a style that is more dominant than the others. The key to your relationship success lies in your ability to understand your own tendencies and styles, identify the styles of others, and modify the way to present your message so that the other person is receptive. Stay tuned. Next month, we will explore ways to identify someone else’s style simply by observing them and follow that with a post to provide some techniques on how to effectively communicate with each of the styles.
For now, just pay attention to your own tendencies and be observant in your interactions with others. As always, leave a comment here or on Facebook with your questions!