Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to DrTony@Assessments24x7.com!

Develping According to Style

Each style of worker needs various types of direction that will suit their unique characteristics, and develop them into the most productive employee they can be.

 

RELATERS
Indirect and Open


You'll like RELATERS and find them easy to work with -- everybody does. But your biggest challenge will be to get them to break out of their ruts. They loathe change and often cling to out-dated ways of doing things. DIRECTORS and SOCIALIZERS sometimes can help them find short cuts, and even a THINKER may have suggestions, if asked.

RELATERS, when in training for a job, favor slower, hands-on coaching by a warm, patient human being. While a DIRECTOR or THINKER might be satisfied with a manual and time to digest it, the RELATER prefers an instructor who'll help him or her find comfort with each step. RELATERS may want to observe others for a longer-than-average time before trying the task themselves. Only when their confidence builds, will they comfortably begin. When you have occasion to reward RELATERS, do so in a low-key way because they're often uneasy with public praise. Stress how much you appreciate their efforts to make things better for you and others.

Though they often do have good ideas, RELATERS may be reluctant to bring them up because they don't like the limelight. So you might want to emphasize, "Please let me know what you think of the proposed new compensation plan. It's a bit of a change, and we want it to be fully understood and, hopefully, accepted by everybody, before we proceed. Your input is especially important because of all the thought you give to such things."

In all cases, expect to do more talking than listening with RELATERS. They'll want you to carry the conversational ball. Because RELATERS crave clarity and stability, it's a good idea to take items, or steps, one at a time. As you complete each item on an agenda, for example, you might double-check that the two of you fully understand: "So you'll handle the Dobson account, and I'll make the preliminary checks with the lawyers on the Bernstein case. Is that agreed?"

Other steps you can take to promote growth in RELATERS:

- Try to help them think for themselves by modifying their tendency to do what others tell them

- Make them feel sincerely appreciated

- When you see positive changes, get them to accept credit and praise

SOCIALIZERS
Direct and Open


SOCIALIZERS bear watching. If given too long a leash, they may procrastinate, spread themselves too thin, fail to follow up, or get sloppy with details. But if you can channel their enthusiasm with tactful reminders and hands-on help, SOCIALIZERS will spin out endless ideas and lend a zest to the office that's priceless.

When coaching SOCIALIZERS, what you'll probably see is a desire to jump right in before they're fully prepared. Allow them to get involved. But remember their penchant for applause. So help them save face if they do something wrong, and be sure to heap on the compliments if they succeed.

Probably the best single thing you can do for SOCIALIZERS is help them sort out priorities. When they find themselves surrounded by opportunities, they're sometimes paralyzed.

You can lessen their anxiety by stepping in and lending some structure. "I'll need the Stevenson report by Monday. If that means putting off the Shepherd case, that's O.K., as long as I get that before the 17th. Do you understand?"

SOCIALIZERS are dreamers. They're less motivated by facts or issues than concepts. Try to support that trait by carving out time for the two of you to get to know each other better and toss around ideas. The SOCIALIZER will have plenty of them, and your role will be to translate this talk into action.

Also, if you can do so sincerely, cater to the SOCIALIZERS' fathomless need for appreciation and recognition. That can improve their work and keep their morale at its usual high level.

You can further foster their growth by:

- Ensuring they see tasks through to completion

- Insisting that deadlines be met

- Having them write things down

THINKERS
Indirect and Guarded


THINKERS, the most complex of the four styles, are often the hardest to get a handle on. But if you make the effort and do so, you'll have an employee whose diligence and quality work can make him or her invaluable.

They want to make rational choices, not decide something based on hunches or what others say or think. So when they say, "Give me some time to think it over," you should.

You'll have to be more on your toes when speaking to THINKERS than with any other types. They're likely to ask a lot of questions, and if they sense you're unprepared, they may lose respect for you. Avoid exaggeration and vagueness when you speak to them because they often dissect remarks to decide if you have serious ideas worthy of serious consideration. If you come across as half-cocked, real communication may grind to a halt.

They're also very sensitive to criticism. So if you ask questions of them, be oblique and non-judgmental: "Sam, what are your thoughts about the deadline on the Thompson matter? Are there special problems you're encountering that I should know about?" That's far preferable to the harsher "Why is the Thompson account so late?"

When coaching THINKERS, it's best to focus on the most important things first and then proceed in an efficient, logical manner. Go relatively slow, stopping at intervals to ask for their input and for a sense of how well they comprehend.

That's because they like to do things bit by bit. So, if possible, let them complete a task in steps, reporting back to you at each milestone.

Other ways to help THINKERS:

- Gently request that they share their knowledge and expertise with others

- Encourage them to stand up for themselves with those people they'd prefer to avoid

- Try to get them to make more time for people and for fun

DIRECTORS
Direct and Guarded


Your DIRECTORS can be among your greatest assets if you can give them opportunities and avoid being threatened by their strong personalities. Don't get frustrated and write them off if you can't develop a warm relationship with them; they're into power and results, not warmth. Let them do their own thing as much as you can, and they'll repay you with awesome energy and effort.

When training a DIRECTOR, what you'll probably hear him or her saying, if you listen well, is, "Make this short and direct. Just hit the high points." They aren't going to want to be bothered with a lot of details. Help them find short cuts and streamline the routine so he or she can get results more quickly and efficiently.

If you were trying to teach them use of a new computer, for example, you might say: "Here are the five basic steps needed to get into the files, make your changes, and then get out again. You're a quick read, so you'll probably want to learn the rest on your own. Oh, here's the manual, in case you get stuck."

On any project, be prepared to listen to DIRECTORS' suggestions. For instance, they'll probably want to tell you what they think of the options and the probable outcomes.

When you suggest a different idea or action, be sure to point out that you're trying to work in ways that are acceptable to both of you. "Charlotte, I understand where you're coming from when you say you want to finish the Shipley project by this afternoon. But I know that you, like me, would rather be right than quick. What if you had the rough draft into me by, say, 4:30? That'd give me time to look it over and maybe sleep on it overnight. Then, if we're still on track, we'll send it out tomorrow. That way we won't have lost much time and with both of us having reviewed it, we'll have ensured that it'll get the results we both want."

So, in short, you've got to be cordial but strong to deal effectively with DIRECTORS. On the organizational chart, they may not be your equals. But in their minds, they're more your peer than your subordinate.

Shrug that off, if you can, and play to their strengths: energy, decisiveness, and force of personality. And try to help them by nudging them toward:

- Being more careful and patient before making decisions or reaching conclusions

- Recognizing the contributions of others and sharing the glory

- Paying more attention to the feelings of their co-workers

 


Here's to more personal insight,


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