Develop a Strategy for Each SOCIAL STYLE
Understanding the behavioral preferences of colleagues and applying Style-specific techniques is the essence of Versatility. Being Versatile is a great way to improve the productivity of meetings. Here are specific suggestions for people of each Style.
To help Driving Style teammates, participants can come prepared to explain the strategic significance of the topic at hand and any input they provide. This can head-off the Driving Style’s tendency to dismiss issues that they feel are not primary to a discussion. Also, simply clarifying the desired outcome of the discussion and expressing a desire to achieve resolution can help put the Driving Style person in a productive mood.
When working alongside Expressive Style teammates in meetings, co-workers should be prepared to take slight detours from major topics. The Expressive person may get sidetracked and want the opportunity to explore what he or she believes to be an important, if somewhat tangential, topic. Allowing some flexibility before moving back to the agenda can allow Expressives to satisfy their Style need while avoiding their confrontational Backup Behavior. Using Active Listening techniques such as clarifying, confirming and summarizing can make a major positive impact on keeping Expressive teammates on track.
Identifying an Amiable person’s Backup Behavior can be a challenge, because it often looks like acceptance. But this person’s acquiescence may signal a conflict in hiding. If you enter the meeting aware of this tendency, you can avoid Backup Behavior by taking time to recognize the Amiable person’s contributions and validate their concerns. Just the act of recognizing such concerns will go a long way to minimizing conflict and boosting buy-in.
To avoid the Analytical Backup Behavior of withdrawing and avoiding, other participants can focus on rational arguments, rather than their own interpersonal needs. Setting aside one’s own desire for quick results (Driving), creativity and recognition (Expressive) or camaraderie and safety (Amiable) and focusing on making a well-informed and thoughtful decision will make the Analytical person comfortable. Showing patience with Analyticals’ long pauses and presenting them with one point to consider at a time can also help to keep these participants engaged and contributing.
The examples above illustrate that a wide range of creative solutions and meeting-preparation tactics can enhance meeting productivity. Using your Versatility skills can help overcome Backup Behavior, whether our own or that of the others in our meetings.
Dave Ingram is a Project Coordinator at TRACOM Group. His writing has been featured in The Motley Fool, The Houston Chronicle, NYSE Moneysense and Yahoo.