We may all be created equal...but we are certainly not all the same.
By harnessing a very basic working knowledge of the concept of personality style, we will start to develop the tools which can enhance the way we communicate in almost every interpersonal interaction we encounter! There is little escaping our personality style type, so we might as well respect and celebrate this fascinating aspect of behavioral diversity. After all, some of these well accepted principles first identified over 4,000 years ago, have been packaged, repackaged and presented for a very long time.
My first exposure to the concept of personality style, which is now one of the cornerstones of my corporate training program, came during “boot camp” for my inaugural job with the Xerox Corporation. The system back then was called Professional Sales Skills Training and to learn this highly sought after, cutting edge concept, required several weeks at the newly constructed Xerox Training Center near Washington D.C..
The portion of the program that dealt with this insightful concept was called “Needs Satisfaction Selling.” It was high-tech stuff 30 plus years ago and it wasn’t just about selling.
Simply stated… By learning to rapidly identify a potential prospect’s personality and communication style, we can immediately customize our approach and direct our efforts to specifically satisfying the priorities, the needs, of that individual. In doing this, we become more effective at achieving the desired outcome. Thus the name “Needs Satisfaction”.
Like so many core competencies we pick up along the way, these communications lessons learned back at Xerox would stay with me. Often having little or nothing to do with sales, these skills would bubble to the surface in a variety of ways. Long after I would leave the copier business for a new career in compressed air, this knowledge would remain and serve as the foundation for many a win-win experience!
Most of us are already familiar with the concept that the human brain is divided into two distinct hemispheres, each controlling different functions. The right half of our brain operates in the creative realm and the left deals with the more analytical processes. Just as we are either right or left handed, we also demonstrate tendencies which suggest us to be either right or left brain dominate. This physiological reality offers a good starting point, but is only just a part of the story. Here is the rest of the story:
- Initially, it is important that we begin by disarming our initial skepticism and simply acknowledge that there are indeed some basic brain wiring differences among us.-
- Then, it is necessary that we accept the simplicity that with a brief vocabulary of just a few basic “Personality Style” terms, these differences can simply and easily be described and understood.
- Finally, we must trust that intuitively and instinctively we can be confident in our ability to understand the dynamics of this concept.
Even without any significant training of “Personality Style”, if we simply open our eyes, the applications become obvious and we will see that the dynamics of this phenomenon are factoring in all around us. After all, these concepts set the tone and offer the foundation for what makes good drama, and good comedy. For many, validation of this principle is to look no further than our spouse, as we tend to initially be attracted to the opposite style and therefore often choose partners who demonstrate complementary Personality Style traits and skills. The Amiable Personality often pairs with the Driver Personality and the Expressive Personality with the Analytical Personality.
It is from these four terms we can build a simple vocabulary to understand one another’s basic communications nature and personality style tendencies.
We can all be described as predominantly one of the following:
- The Driver - determined, efficient, decisive and practical.
- The Expressive - ambitious, stimulating, enthusiastic, and dramatic.
- The Analytical - serious, industrious, persistent and exacting.
- The Amiable - supportive, dependable, agreeable and willing.
Awareness of these four descriptions quite often is all that it takes. By simply respecting and accepting our different natures, we can immediately relieve many of the frustrating bottlenecks and inefficiencies we run up against while communicating with the world around us.
However, taking the real working application of this to the next level requires one more critical step and one more very important word, “Versatility.” It is when we choose behaviors that reflect Versatility that we can relieve much of the communications resistance that is created within the interpersonal systems we operate.
Versatility can best be described as “one’s ability and willingness to be what other people need us to be, in order to more effectively achieve our objectives together.”
Versatility is a choice!
- When dealing with the Driver, provide facts, be clear, specific, to the point and stick to business.
- When dealing with the Expressive offer personal experiences, take time to relate, be warm, outgoing and talkative.
- When dealing with the Analytical, provide information and gain professional respect by establishing task related competence.
- When dealing with the Amiable, show warmth and sincere interest in them as people and don’t be all business.
Points to remember:
- Success does NOT depend on our Personality Style.
- Success depends on our ability and willingness to be Versatile.
- Simplicity is the key to utilizing Personality Style.
- Acknowledge that just because a personality is different does not mean it is wrong.
- Realize that often times the reaction we receive is not personal, it is just natural for the Personality Style of the other person.
- Find humor in personality diversity, not frustration.
- Show a willingness to laugh at ourselves!
- Make a conscious choice everyday to utilize Versatility.
By managing our expectations in the following ways, we will less often be disappointed and frustrated and more often find ourselves pleased and satisfied.
- Expect, celebrate and respect that the Driver personality will push towards the bottom line.
- Expect, celebrate and respect that the Expressive personality will sell, sell, sell and fill the air with words!
- Expect, celebrate and respect that the Analytical personality is willing to collect and utilize exacting data.
- Expect, celebrate and respect that the Amiable personality will be there to support with warm relationships and customer service.
Either we can consciously choose to communicate by using the “Personality Style Language” of the other person, or we can continue to insist that others speak our language and then only hope that we have been understood. When in doubt, yield on behalf of the other person personality and you will never be wrong! Respecting and celebrating personality differences is just another way that interpersonal Best Practices can be achieved.
For more information contact PFJ Communications, tel: 214-695-0028, http://www.pat-johns.com/