Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips"
by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your
Four Styles -- Just Acting Themselves
With the natural differences among the four
behavioral types in mind, pretend that you want
to give four people 15-20 minutes to make three
1. Where the next meeting will take place
2. When it will happen
3. The theme of the meeting
Quite by accident, your group consists of one
Relater, one Thinker, one Director, and one
Socializer who all believe in practicing The
Golden Rule. Do you think they'll get the job
done? Perhaps, or perhaps not, depending on how
each responds to one another in handling the
simple task. Let's see why this may not work
out. As they walk into the room, the Director
typically speaks first. "Here's my plan...
The Socializer says, "Hey! Who died and left you
The Thinker says, "You know there seems to be
more here than meets the eye. We might want to
consider some other relevant issues and break
into sub-committees to explore them."
The Relater smiles and says, "We may not get
this done if we don't work as a team as we have
in the past."
If you think that I'm stacking the deck,
consider putting all four of one behavioral type
into the room to make those decisions. They'd
get the job done, wouldn't they? Not if they
follow the Golden Rule verbatim!
What do you call it when you send four Directors
into the same room? War!
Or four Thinkers? Paralysis by analysis!
And four Relaters? Nothing! They sit around
smiling at each other: "You go first." "No, why
don't you go first. By the way, how's the
When four Socializers walk out, try asking them
if they've gotten the job done. "Get what done?"
They've had a party and instead come out with 10
new jokes and stories.
I may be exaggerating to make a point, but in
some cases, not by much. Directors tend to have
the assertiveness and leadership initiative to
get tasks started. They may then delegate to
others for follow-through, enabling the Dominant
Directors to start still other new projects that
interest them more.
Thinkers typically are motivated by their
planning and organizational tendencies. If we
want a task done precisely, find a Thinker. Of
the four types, they're the most motivated to be
correct -- the quality control experts.
Relaters have persistence, people-to-people
strengths -- patience, follow-through, and
responsiveness. When we have a problem, we may
choose to go to a sympathetic-appearing Steady
Relater because he or she listens, empathizes,
and reacts to our feelings.
Socializers are natural entertainers who thrive
on involvement with people. They also love to
start things, but often do not finish them. In
fact, they may pick up three balls; throw them
in the air, and yell, "Catch!" Emotional,
enthusiastic, optimistic, and friendly,
Socializers usually pep up an otherwise dull