How to use Style descriptors, interpret their meaning for you and understand how to take them into consideration when communicating with people.
The first thing to realize is that the styles detailed here describe behaviors in communication, not necessarily personalities. It is therefore important to remember that, depending on situations, the individuals involved, the role you play and your responsibilities, or accountabilities at the moment; you will use a variety of styles in different interpersonal communications. It is obvious however that your personality, who you are deep inside, your natural preferences and your experience will influence your choice of Style in various communication situations.
The second element to take into account is that all of us can or in fact need to use each of those behaviors at any given time. Unlike personalities which are often more “set in stone”, behaviors can vary greatly and more often than not, can be controlled in accordance to the environment and circumstances. In fact, depending on the situation, we may have to choose a specific style in order to be more productive.
Using styles to better communicate.
The most effective communicators are able to synchronize their style to the style of their interlocutors. The reason that makes this effective resides in the fact that we are typically more comfortable with people that behave or think the same way as we do. Cialdini1 has identified six factors that help us influence people, two of which are directly related to what was just mentioned; reciprocity and sympathy.
Methodology in using styles to improve communication skills:
- identify your own style preferences
- understand why you tend to communicate in this manner
- identify the style of the person with whom you are communicating
- try to understand what causes this style preference
- without changing who you are, adapt your style in order to better mirror and communicate with the other person
Adapting your style to the style of another is not meant to manipulate or coerce individuals to do something which is not good for them. Adapting your style is simply a way to modulate what you say and how you say it in order to better connect with people and therefore increase the effectiveness of the communication process and exchange of information. Hence, it is critical to understand that no one style is better than another and none of the descriptors below should be taken in isolation. Most of us use a mixture of styles. After completing your style questionnaire you will be given percentages or proportions in how you use each of the styles.
Interpretation of communication tendencies.
Once again, the descriptors provide information that is typically associated to each of the styles. Unless you use one style 100% of the time, you should read the descriptors and put them in the perspective of your own reality based on the mix of styles you have identified through your questionnaire (Figure1). For example if my score is 50% Achiever and 50% Director, I will read the descriptors for both styles and filter according to what I know of myself, my situation, my role, my responsibilities and my personality. I also will remember that I filled out my questionnaire in accordance to my current business responsibilities.
It is your responsibility to understand, filter and interpret the information given below and how it affects your ability to communicate with people of different styles.
If you are a Director don’t fall into absolutes. If you are a Protector don’t be too defensive. If you are a Socializer don’t forget to pay attention to details. If you are an Achiever don’t draw hasty conclusions.
Remember that all styles bring tremendous value in any communication environment. Each style has significant advantages but also present real challenges. While one may think that Socializers are always better communicators, it is not the case. Nor does it mean that Directors are always tedious and boring. Achievers are not always the ones getting the best results and Protectors are far from lacking innovativeness.
What you need to be an expert communicator.
- an open mind
- determination to understand others
- accepting differences
- understanding the value of different points of view
- always striving to put things in perspective
These are key factors that will contribute to increased communication effectiveness resulting in heightened productivity.
- Cialdini, Robert B. (2001). Harnessing the Science of Persuasion. Harvard Business Review, October issue, 72-79.
The following is a brief overview of what clients will learn and use when integrating the complete model.
“People are fascinating. I learn so much by interacting with them.”
Socializers in brief: They are outgoing, friendly, affable individuals. They like people. They like to visit with you and are usually interested in you as a person. They want to be your friend and for you to like them. Socializers will be influenced by what others think. They want to please people with their decisions and actions. Be careful, they may say “yes” just to please you.
Socializers are easy to approach. Ask them questions about themselves or others, and they will usually respond.
- The Socializer is optimistic, enthusiastic and extroverted.
- The socializer fosters innovation, creativity and the adoption of new ideas.
- The Socializer is not as energetic and daring as the Achiever
- Socializers inspire courage to view reality, have a positive outlook and take action on making changes and moving forward.
- In spite of some tendencies to go overboard, Socializers are often great stabilizers.
“It’s all about getting things done in a timely manner.”
Achievers in brief: They are highly active, often impatient, “get it done” people.
Often pressed for time, they focus on bottom-line results, and may occasionally be perceived as overbearing in their approach. They are results-oriented. They don’t like idle chatter. They command a certain level of respect. Achievers easily make decisions and will make them quickly once they’re convinced of results and outcomes.
Achievers are easier to approach if you ask them about how they got to be as successful as they are. They love to answer the question, “What are some things that helped you get where you are today?” They don’t have time to waste unless it’s talking about themselves, their success, or getting results.
- The Achiever is passionate, energetic and action-oriented.
- The Achiever fosters action, assertiveness and determination.
- The Achiever is not as charismatic and caring as the Socializer
- Achievers inspire the attainment of results, have a focused outlook and take action on moving towards objectives.
- In spite of some tendencies to go overboard, Achievers are inspirational.
“We just cannot rush anything. Evaluating all possibilities ensures that we make the safest decision.”
Protectors in short: They are easy-going, steady, dependable people. They want to go slowly and get a lot of information. They are detail-oriented. They will probably ask a lot of questions about process and methodologies. Protectors are slower to change and are more concerned about eliminating risks and protecting people and their environment when they make decisions.
Protectors become easier to approach when you get them talking about processes, functions or how they do things. Expect a lower energy level and enthusiasm than in Socializers and Achievers.
- The Protector is stable, reassuring and comforting.
- The Protector fosters safety, security, harmony and respect.
- The Protector is not charismatic but genuinely cares about people and fosters a grounded, wholesome environment.
- Protectors inspire teamwork, a structured approach and take careful action towards predictable outcomes and customer loyalty.
- In their own way, Protectors are inspirational but rarely noticed for it.
“With sufficient details and structure, and also eliminating emotions, the best solutions will be ironed out.”
Directors in brief: They are reserved, distant, logical people. They don’t show a lot of emotion. They want facts and accurate information. They’re not swayed by your personality. In fact, they may be turned off by excess enthusiasm. Directors demand more evidence and proof – backed by facts. They will require detailed reasoning and the ability to apply a structured approach to obtaining results.
Directors are often more difficult to approach because of their low emotional responsiveness. They are usually more critical and don’t waste time. They will often give you quick “yes” or “no” answers making it difficult to draw them out.
- The Director is stable, reassuring and comforting.
- The Directors foster respect, structure, methodology and dependability.
- The Director is not flamboyant or even perceived as warm. They are fair and honest people that care about doing what is right.
- Directors inspire a controlled and logical approach to problems or ideas. They like to get results as long as it is done according to well established plans.
- In their own way, Directors are wonderful team members and friends, they are just quiet and subdued.
You want to know your communication Style(TM) and learn how to adapt your communication to others? A free link to a questionnaire and guide follows. Just know that this is for individual use only. The copyright remain the sole property of Aseret Congruence LLC and any usage of this tool with commercial intent is a breach of the copyright laws. So if you are in agreement with this and plan to respect the copyright, please click here.