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Entrepreneur Columnists on Understanding Yourself and Others: “5 Steps to Building Better Relationships”

The Year in Social Intelligence, a round-up of articles and advice to help professionals start 2019 successfully

To succeed, you need to increase your Versatility when it comes to people who are different from you. Doug and Polly White share how they use the SOCIAL STYLE model when providing executive coaching or developing team interventions for clients. Getting along with others isn’t just understanding your own Behavioral Style, but also learning how to adapt to other people’s Behavioral Style.

Can’t We All Just Get Along? 5 Steps to Building Better Relationships

| Entrepreneur

Our granddaughter Madi recently complained about her teacher, Mrs. P. Mrs. P, it seems. is tougher than Madi’s previous teachers were and isn’t as soft, sweet and complimentary as Madi has experienced in previous classrooms. What’s more, our granddaughter doesn’t like Mrs. P’s teaching style and is finding it harder than in previous years to succeed.

Our advice to her? Find a way to appreciate Mrs. P. — and get along.

As we go through life, we are all going to find ourselves in jobs with difficult bosses or coworkers. We will be forced to work and team with people we wouldn’t choose as friends. Yet, when the going gets tough, it isn’t always expedient to quit and try to find greener pastures. In fact, if you make a habit of bailing when you’re faced with working with others you don’t like or get along with, your chances of success are limited.

Instead, we suggest the following five steps to build better relationships:

Understand yourself.

The first step in getting along with others is having an accurate self-perception. There are several solid tools that can help you to understand your behavioral preferences.

These include DiSC, Myers-Briggs and other tests that have been validated and are considered reliable. When providing executive coaching or developing team interventions for clients, we most often use the social styles model developed by David Merrill to help our clients understand themselves better.

This model is constructed using the test-taker’s level of assertiveness as one axis. The other axis is the person’s level of emotional response to others. When combined, individuals fall into one of four major styles: Driver (assertive and controlled), Expressive (assertive and emotive), Amiable (passive and emotive) and Analytic (passive and controlled). A full understanding of this model is contained in Merrill and Roger Reid’s book, Personal styles and Effective Performance.

Understand whom you’re dealing with.

After determining your own behavioral preferences, you should seek to understand others. While, in most cases, you can’t ask them to take a test, there are outward signs that will give you clues as to the behavioral preferences of others. The social styles model teaches you to listen to what people say and how they say it.

It also teaches you to observe others for specific behaviors and body language. Once you’ve mastered these things, you will be able to determine, very quickly, the other person’s style.

Increase your versatility.

Versatility is the ability to modify your behavioral preferences in order to work better with others. Versatile people recognize the behavioral styles of others and manage the differences. This recognition may include something as simple as lowering the volume of your voice or becoming a bit more animated during a conversation.

It may mean that you need to spend a few minutes chatting about personal matters before diving into business, or just the opposite. You might need to forego any mention of the personal and stick strictly to business. The point is, versatile people are able to make others feel comfortable during interactions. This increases the effectiveness of the communication and leads to positive results and relationships.

Implement and revise.

To improve relationships with a specific person, first determine both your style and the style of the other person. Next, determine how you could be more versatile with this individual. What do you need to do, or stop doing to improve your communications?

Implement your plan and look for reactions. If you see positive outcomes from your efforts, continue. If not, step back and reassess. Did you correctly determine your style versus that of the other person? Have you consistently modified your behavior when interacting with him or her? If you need to revise your plan, do so and try again.


Published source: February 20, 2018: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/309247

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