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

How the Four Styles Make Decisions in Groups

The four styles differ in their approach to group work because they tend to make decisions differently.


Indirect and Open

Relaters prefer decisions by consensus. They'd like to see the vast majority of the group be on the bus. So actions tend to be worked and reworked until almost all are in agreement.

Direct and Open

Socializers, being more people-oriented, try to work out compromises that reduce resentment and maybe even fudge over differences. They want to downplay group divisions. So they're not big on voting.

Indirect and Guarded

Thinkers crave "rational" decisions. Optimally, the decision won't be made as much as it will be dictated by the facts and logic of the situation, including the key players required to make it work. They like to list pros and cons of issues -- sometimes even weighing the options numerically -- to reach the "correct" decision. The process, they believe, will make obvious the best course of action.

Direct and Guarded

In a meeting run by Directors, decisions are more likely to be made unilaterally by the Director, or he or she will call for a vote. They like voting because it's clean, quick, and decisive. It keeps debating to a minimum. Also, it's harder to argue that a vote is unfair. And closure is clearly attained. Next topic!

A problem with voting -- though the Directors rarely see it as a problem -- is that there are winners and losers, which the more people-oriented styles try to avoid.


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