January 31, 2003
Simple Techniques That Will Help You to Enhance Your Professional Bottom Line
By Phil Stella
The Platinum Rule of Communication?
Imagine for a moment what it would be like if everyone you communicated with at work practiced the “Golden Rule of Communication”? You know, they’d communicate with you the way they’d want you to communicate with them. Wouldn’t that be nice? Well, we all know that doesn’t happen very often and, as you’ll find out, the “Golden Rule” doesn’t work very well.
Yes, it’s a simple philosophy and easy to practice if you want to. But, it has two critical flaws. It assumes everyone you communicate with is the same and that everyone is the same as you. Wrong … and wrong.
You’re much better off trying to practice the “Platinum Rule of Communication” at work – communicate with other people the way they want you to communicate with them! It’s just as simple, but harder to do and takes more effort. The difference is, it’s much better.
Your Basic Communication Style
Each of us has a basic communication or personality style – our comfort zone where we operate most of the time. Each style has both strengths and weaknesses. No one style is better or worse than the others … they’re just different. For many of us, our weaknesses are excesses of our strengths … sort of strengths on steroids.
This article is based on the “Expanding Your Horizons” communication style assessment produced by Impact Training & Development that I’ve used in workshops for many years. It describes four basic style categories – Drivers, Enthusiasts, Amiables and Perfectionists.
In this edition, we’ll briefly describe the strengths and weaknesses of each style so you can guess which one you are. In our next edition, we’ll suggest some clues to identify the styles of other people and some simple changes you can make in your own style to maximize the success potential of interactions with other people.
Drivers like to be in charge and are often in strong management, leadership or entrepreneurial positions. They like to make things happen and enjoy solving problems and making decisions. Drivers don’t like to waste time. They tend to be self-motivated, confident and goal-oriented. They thrive on change, as long as it is compatible with their goals. Drivers tend to be more extroverted and task oriented.
Drivers respond well to ideas, brevity of detail, logic, action, challenges and innovation. They like status, opportunity, power, delegation, flattery and a no-nonsense approach to business. Their motto is “Do it my way, now!” When these strengths are overdone, Drivers can be perceived as pushy, impatient, inconsiderate and egocentric.
Enthusiasts flourish in strong people contact positions, such as sales, social work, teaching, public speaking and entertainment. They enjoy being in the limelight and helping others. They have an excellent network of contacts. They create enthusiasm and excitement and are excellent communicators. Often, they prefer talking to doing detail work. Enthusiasts tend to be more extroverted and people oriented.
Enthusiasts respond well to opinions and feedback from influential people, but prefer a minimum of details. Enthusiasts trust others, are optimistic and act according to their emotions. They like to delegate because they value time. Their motto is “Let’s do it together.” When these strengths are overdone, Enthusiasts can be perceived as too talkative, poor listeners, disorganized and lacking in follow through.
Amiables are the most productive and happy where they have people contact and specific responsibilities with clearly defined expectations. They like to be appreciated for their contributions to the group or the whole organization and tend to be hurt if their efforts are unnoticed. They prefer gradual change and want to provide input when change directly effects them. Amiables tend to be more introverted and people oriented.
Amiables are patient, traditional and loyal team players who get the job done. They tend to be friendly, but shy. They are sincere peacemakers. They need time to digest facts and adjust to change in a logical manner. Their motto is “Everything will be all right.” When these strengths are overdone, Amiables can be perceived as too forgiving, hiding their feelings, making too few demands and rarely saying “no”.
Perfectionists are most successful in detail-oriented fields such as accounting, information services, bookkeeping and engineering. They enjoy being rewarded for how their work benefits the department or organization. They dislike change that is poorly planned, organized or implemented. Perfectionists tend to be more introverted and task oriented.
Perfectionists don’t waste time on small talk and prefer to limit personal contacts. They like detailed explanations, logical methods, objective evaluations and precise descriptions. Perfectionists like to avoid mistakes and minimize risks. They tend to be conservative and security-oriented. They strive for excellence with high personal standards. Their motto is “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right … the first time.” When these strengths are overdone, Perfectionists can be perceived as overly critical, expecting too much, slow-moving and adapting poorly to change.
Which One Are You?
Which style sounds the most like you at work most of the time? Keep in mind that we can change our style based on certain situations or circumstances. We each have components of each style in us, but one style is generally primary for us most of the time. So, which one sounds like you? Think about this, watch and observe and next month I’ll give you the clues.
(If you’d like the assessment booklet, contact IMPACT Training & Development, 440-899-9010, they’re $5.00 each plus S & H).
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Phil Stella is a resource for business people who want to communicate with more power and success, and runs Effective Training & Communication, Inc. (440-449-0356). A founding member of MCA-I/Cleveland, he has been active nationally for over 10 years and received the Board of Directors award for distinguished service. As a professional trainer and speaker, he has delivered popular workshops at many national conferences and chapter events around the country.