Different strokes for different folks – understanding behaviour types enhances communication ability

Highlights of this information update:
00.00     Introduction
00.08     Different strokes for different folks
00.50     Categorizing personality types
01.38     ‘Pigeon-holing’ people – not a resourceful practice
02.09     Behavior change is so important
02.43     The ‘direct’ person’s behavior style
03.04     The ‘relationship oriented’ person’s style
03.29     The ‘analytical’ person’s style
03.58     The ‘enthusiast’ person’s style
04.30     Improving communication with various behaviour styles

Hello I’m Alan Patching and this is Transforming Minds.

Have you ever heard the expression ‘different strokes for different folks’? I’m sure you have, I don’t know how many different areas of psychology have laid claim to having created it so it must be a pretty good and meaningful quote.

What does it mean? It simply means that some people respond much better to a certain way of communication and being treated then others do and those others in turn respond in a way that suits them.

So how do we know when dealing with other people what strokes to give those folks in order to get the response we want?

Well there are ways we can go exactly about getting the right result.  Over time human personality and human behaviour types have been divided by all sorts of approaches, but generally in quaternities or groups of four different types.

There were the earth type, fire type, water type and wind type of long ago, and then there were the choleric, melancholy, phlegmatic and sanguine types of hippocrates.  Over the years there’s basically been this tendency to divide personality in four types.

I think one of the greatest personality profiling tools for personal development is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that actually developed following Jungian psychology of which I’m a great fan, and in fact Jung was the founder of most concepts espoused by MBTI, but we’ll look at that from a business and personal development perspective in a future post.

The thing about these concepts is you have to be careful when you use personality and behaviour types not to pigeon-hole people. When we pigeon-hole people we tend to say ‘that’s what he or she did last time we interacted with them so that’s what they’re likely to do next time’, and when we do that we become a victim of the other’s behaviour.

It’s far better to think ‘how did I deal with them last time when they reacted that way? And if I deal with them differently will I get a different response from them?’

So it’s all about behaviour and change rather then set personality.

When we deal with the concept of set personality we risk becoming the victim of something that’s happened in the past perhaps.  When we deal from the perspective of behaviour, we can change our behaviour in an effort to encourage others to change their behaviour so we get a mutual satisfactory result.  It’s a far better approach.

So where do we go from there?

What is our behaviour, what do we change it to?
Well once again, I tend to look and categorise behaviour in four basic patterns, particularly in the business world, but it applies equally in personal life.

First of all there’s the direct person.  They want to get to the bottom line, they want to get to the point, they like to be the best, they accept challenges and they really, really, really are bottom line oriented.

For them, it’s all about the winning and the challenge and they tend to become great business leaders and quite authoritative leaders.

Quite opposite is the ‘relationship oriented’ person.

If we fit this category of human behaviour preference, we don’t want to look at business, we don’t want to look at progressing anywhere until the relationship’s right.  WE think, ‘I don’t want to be a burden to anybody, but I want to help them develop, I want to help them be the best person they can be’.

So sometimes when you get the direct person trying to get something done by negotiating or interacting with a relationship-based person there’s a natural clash between those styles.

Now let’s go to the ‘analytical’ person.  This is the person who’s quiet, indirect, is all about numbers, doesn’t like surprises.  Everything has a right method and procedure; the facts speak for themselves – very logical, very methodical.

These people sometimes think bottom-line oriented persons who just walk in and say ‘we’re going to do it this way, let’s get on with it’ are too much focused on the opportunity and not enough focus on the risks, so they tend to not get along so well with that approach.

And then the fourth category is what I call….well…..let’s think of it … there are four or five words for it, but the word that comes to mind is ‘the enthusiast’.

This is a person who gets on well with people.  They like to know a lot of people, they like to be known by a lot of people.  Good team players, they get input before they act.

Now, we’re going to look at this in far more detail as we progress through various elements and various editions of this podcast and this video series, but for now, here’s the point….if you are a bottom line oriented person and you’ve got relationship problems you might want to ask yourself, ‘how is the other person I’m dealing with processing the circumstances, the information and the situation?  If they’re a really detailed person and I’m cutting them short looking for them to get to the bottom line quickly, maybe that’s upsetting them, maybe that’s giving rise to conflict, now I can’t expect them to change; I can’t change anybody, but what I can do is change my behaviour to elicit a better reaction from them and the best way to do that is to adjust my behaviour to be more like theirs, so difficult though it may be, I’ll go into the detail, I’ll be more precise, I’ll be more methodical while I’m dealing with them and they’re in that frame of mind.’

Similarly, if I’m dealing with someone who’s a relationship person I’m going to focus on the people and their well-being and how they’re going before I get into the business and bottom-line orientation.

I think you’re getting the drift already.  It’s about us changing the way we act with other people so that we give them the strokes they want, so that in return they respond and we get better communication, better relationships, better life outcomes, and whether it be in business or personal life, that’s what we all want – more harmony, more peace, less stress.

This is Alan Patching, thank you for watching or reading.

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