The Journal Gazette says “Understanding Social Styles Vital to Success”

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Understanding social styles vital to success


The Journal Gazette

journal gazzette

Let’s be honest; it happens.

You or someone you know has referred to a colleague as a jerk or incompetent. Or, maybe you think someone is out to get you because it seems all they do is work against you.

The negative labels and assumptions often don’t have as much to do with the other individual as they do with our self-evaluation biases, the facilitators of a webinar on understanding behavioral patterns said.

“SOCIAL STYLEs – detecting whether people are amiable, driving, analytical, or expressive – are key to more effective relationships.” said David Collins, a specialist in behavior-based training.

Collins facilitated the webinar, titled “The New Workplace Demands Versatile Communication Skills,” with Judy Tisdale, a professor of management and corporate communication at the University of North Carolina’s business school. The free, Nov. 7 webinar was sponsored by the Tracom Group, based in Colorado. It included participants from Sweden, India, Germany and Canada.

Participants were asked to say what they saw when a picture of an orange appeared on the slide. The answers ranged from what was clearly visible – the color – to at least one person responding “juicy.”

And there were other subjective responses – ones that clearly couldn’t be seen as much as perceived. And perceptions are often based on past experiences. Our brains come up with quick answers that seem logical but are rooted in our cognitive or self-evaluation bias without really taking time to consider things, Collins said.

The tendencies go beyond to how we might describe a piece of fruit to how we assess people on our teams.

“Most of the time when our brain makes things up, it really isn’t helpful to us or the other people we’re trying to work with.” Collins said.

Communication, collaboration and adaptability – considered soft skills or social intelligence – are crucial to organizational success, Collins said. That means people have to understand each other, not just label each other. A “toxic stew of misinterpretation” affects our ability to connect with and engage people.

During the webinar, a McKinsey & Co. study was cited that projects 30 percent of tasks in 60 percent of jobs could be automated in the future. And yet hundreds of thousands of jobs are still being created –positions that require creativity, relationship building and communicating well.

Social style is Tracom’s model for understanding people’s behavior. Someone who is “amiable” tends to avoid conflict and be supportive, while someone whose style is “analytical” tends to be more cautious, ask more questions and prefer a slower pace. Someone considered “driving” tends to prefer a faster pace and tends to direct the behavior of others, while someone who is “expressive” tends to act quickly, more impulsively and tries to avoid isolation.

“But it’s easier to determine other people’s style than to accurately assess our own,” Collins said, “based on studies showing contrasts between how individuals rate themselves rather than how others see them.”

Tisdale said students working on projects or exercises when learning the varied social styles have sometimes used “blind spot” to refer to potential or real bottlenecks. The key is developing a plan to work with other people, which requires versatility.

Based on profile data Tracom Group has collected from people in industries worldwide, the five most versatile industries – in order – are education, health care, media, legal and telecom. The jobs where people are most versatile are physician, teacher, health care, hotel services and consultants.

“Regardless of individuals’ social styles,” Collins said, “everyone can bring something to the table.”


Published source: Sunday, November 18, 2018 :