Behavioral Styles in the Workplace

Ever wonder why there are some people you just “click” with and others you can’t seem to connect with no matter how hard you try? You treat both people the exact same way, but what worked for one doesn’t even come close for the second. It doesn’t make sense. Unless, of course, you’re aware of the concept of behavioral styles. Then you would know different things motivate people, and if you can tap into the different needs of people, you can tap into the excellence inside every person. Behavioral styles research is nothing new. It’s been around in various forms for years. You know, you might be Driver or an Analyst, a Green or a Yellow, or Conscientious or Steady. It all depends on which instrument you use for measurement.

Here at NTG, we use the DiSC Personal Profile 2800 SeriesĀ® for measuring one’s preferred behavioral style. The operative word there is PREFERRED. Everyone can adjust his or her actions based on the situation, but we all have a way we tend to behave when given a choice. By nature, some people are quick decision-makers; others like to toss around all options before making a decision. Some are quiet and reserved while others tend to be the center of attention. Put all these differences into play in the workplace and you’ll quickly see why some workplace conflict begins. However, arm yourself with the knowledge of DiSC and you’ll quickly overcome even the most difficult barriers.

Think about someone who seems to get along with everyone at work. He may also be the one who is known for treating others fairly and respectfully. In all likelihood, he’s not treating everyone the same. Instead, he’s probably adjusting his communication style to meet the needs of the other person. By doing this, he gets what he needs (organizational effectiveness) and the other person gets what she needs (communication in the form which is most comfortable for her).

The power of using a behavioral style tool is in recognizing of the differences in people, thus eliminating the “You are here just to drive me crazy” feeling that often comes with working with someone who is different from you. It also offers a myriad of suggestions on how to best work with each style so all contributions are recognized and appreciated. When people feel like someone is really “tuned in” to their needs, they tend to feel more connected to the people they work with and to their workplace in general.

Practical Illustration Of Behavioral Styles

Imagine you have 4 co-workers. Bill is pretty action-oriented. He likes to skip the details and get to the bottom line. What inspires him at work is variety and challenge. He enjoys working by himself, and when he’s with a group, he’s most comfortable when he’s a leader. Another co-worker, Jim, is the social one of the group. He’s always in conversation with someone, and he makes a lot of decisions based on “intuition.” He also likes to be in charge, but what he really appreciates is recognition of his work—public recognition, that is. The life of the party, he’s also the life of the workplace. Then there’s Pete. Pete really likes to be part of a team and his comfort zone is when everyone is working harmoniously. He’s patient and a good listener, and much more likely to “blend in” with the group rather than stand out like Bill or Jim. Pete likes step-by-step instructions and feels most comfortable when he knows exactly what he’s supposed to do. Finally, there’s Curt. The detail guy of the group, Curt likes to make sure everything is done correctly, not just done. Curt prefers conversation that focuses on facts over small talk. He has high standards, and has a hard time adjusting to anything that’s not done the “right way.”

All four employees are hard workers, good workers. Yet it’s obvious even from the brief descriptions above that different things motivate them. Their methods of stress management, communication, dealing with conflict, and working with others are in general, different too. Does this make one better than another? Not at all. All it means is they’re different. Not wrong. Just different. Therefore, as their co-worker (or even more so, as their manager), you may have to adjust how you communicate and interact with each one of them to be most effective. Reflect on their preferred behavioral styles and interact with them in a way that they’re most comfortable. Once again, you get what you need by giving them what they need.

For instance, if you happen to be like Curt and you need to get through to someone like Jim, you might find that adjusting your behavior so you’re a bit more talkative and responsive to his social needs will put you in a better position to coach, correct, or praise. Likewise, if you tend to be more to-the-point, you might find yourself taking a bit more time to explain a process to someone like Pete in order to keep him/her most comfortable.

Using Tth DiSCT Personal Profile in the Workplace

There are many ways to implement the DiSCT Personal Profile in the workplace. The challenge is not in offering the profile as part of a standard management or teambuilding training. That’s the simple part. And using the DiSCT Personal Profile in a training day guarantees fun and interaction in the training room. The value of the instrument, however, comes after you hold the training course. Make behavioral style awareness and adaptation part of your company culture by holding your employees accountable for putting their knowledge of behavioral styles to work. The DiSCT Personal Profile gives an organization a common language and foundation from which to work, putting everyone, regardless of job title or seniority, on a level playing field.

Bottom line: The “DiSCT Personal Profile 2800 Series” is a super retention tool and should be added to every organization’s toolkit!

by Pam Wyess
(c) 2001 NetWork Training Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by Pam Wyess in Managing and Coaching.

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