As the parent of two young children, I often have to deal with their behavior and occasional misbehavior. Whether they deserve praise or punishment, I often talk with them about the choices they make and the consequences of those choices.
It’s really no different for adults. All of us frequently make choices about our behavior and these choices have consequences for our relationships and productivity. While research has shown that our personal SOCIAL STYLE is established at a young age and typically stable over our lifetime, our Versatility is more variable.
In practice, Versatility represents a series of choices each of us makes. Do we choose to join colleagues for an out-of-office lunch when we might prefer to eat at our desk while completing a task? Do we cede control of a project to help develop the skills of a co-worker when it would be faster to do it alone? Do we answer our cell phone while we’re in a meeting?
Even something as basic as participating in a water cooler chat about the weekend’s weather is a choice we make that affects how others see us.
Of course there are times when our choices have greater consequences. Showing patience and teamwork when interacting with your co-workers certainly is different than engaging in friendly small-talk with a stranger on an airplane.
Any single behavioral decision is typically considered as one part of all our collective interactions with another person or group. They might see it as confirming their previous views on our Versatility or an exception to what they had come to expect.
One of the most powerful characteristics of the SOCIAL STYLE Model is the fact that we can control our behaviors to improve our interactions. That’s the essence of making good choices and becoming more Versatile.