People literacy is knowing how to read and understand behavioral style differences of others.
Every Manager has experienced frustration of not understanding why one management approach that works beautifully with one employee is ineffective with another. That’s because what we think would be motivating isn’t always motivating to someone else.
The same principle applies to client and co-worker relationships. We “click” or connect with some individuals and understand each other. But we also work with individuals who approach things differently. Research shows there are four different behavioral style dimensions. Understanding their characteristics can help us become more effective in our interactions with each other.
The Personal Profile SystemÒ is an instrument that helps identify how we tend to behave. It identifies four different behavioral dimensions: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. Although we behave with all four dimensions, we tend to use one or two most often.
Dominance. People who demonstrate Dominant (“D”) behavioral style are usually fast-paced and task-oriented people. They thrive on challenge of solving problems. Those with “D” behavioral tendencies are quick decision makers. They don’t wait to be given authority; they take it. Don’t bog these people down with fluff or details—only results interest them. “Ds” are most comfortable when they can control their environment. They work best when they are free from controls and supervision. They overcome opposition to get job done.
Those with “D” behavioral tendencies tend to get immediate results, cause action, accept challenges, make quick decisions, question status quo, take authority, manage trouble, and solve problems. They seek an environment that includes power, authority, prestige, challenge, opportunity, scope, freedom, and variety. But they need others who weigh pros and cons, calculate risks, use caution, structure a more predictable environment, research facts, deliberate before deciding, and recognize needs of others. In fact, to be more effective, those with “D” behavioral style need to understand that they need people, identification with a group, an awareness of existing sanctions, and to pace self and relax more.
Influence. Individuals with Influence, or “I” behavioral tendency are also fast-paced, but they are more people-oriented. These are “people people.” They prefer to be around others and are enthusiastic and entertaining. Popularity is important to them. They get their job done by making allies with others. They enjoy contacting people, making a favorable impression, speaking articulately, creating a motivational environment, generating enthusiasm, entertaining people, and participating in groups. They seek an environment that includes popularity, social recognition, freedom of expression, group activities, democratic relationships, freedom from control and detail, opportunity to verbalize proposals, coaching and counseling skills, and favorable working conditions. They need others who concentrate on task, seek facts, speak directly, respect sincerity, develop systematic approaches, prefer dealing with people, take a logical approach, and demonstrate individual follow-through. To be more effective, individuals with “I” behavioral style need control of time, objectivity in decision-making, participatory management, more realistic appraisals of others, priorities and deadlines, and to be more firm with others.
Steadiness. Like those with Influencing style, individuals who demonstrate Steadiness or “S” behavioral tendency are people-oriented but at a much slower pace. The “S” style doesn’t like to make quick decisions, but value consistency instead. The “S” style is patient and loyal. They also are very good at listening to people and calming others when they get upset. Individuals with “S” behavioral style focus on cooperating with others to accomplish their tasks.
Individuals with Steadiness pattern tend to perform in a consistent, predictable manner. They desire to help others, demonstrate patience, develop specialized skills, concentrate on task, show loyalty, be good listeners, and calm excited people. They seek an environment that includes security, predictability, minimal work infringement on home life, credit for work done well, sincere appreciation, identification with a group, and minimal conflict. They need others who react quickly to unexpected change, stretch toward challenges of an accepted task, become involved in more than one thing, are self-promoting, apply pressure on others, work comfortably in an unpredictable environment, prioritize work, are flexible in work procedures, and contribute value to work. To be more effective, individuals with Steadiness style need conditioning prior to change, validation of self-worth, information on how best to contribute, work associates of similar competence, guidelines, encouragement, and confidence in ability of others.