Mini Workshop - What's Your Behavioral Style?
Dianna Booher, CSP
Which of the four behavioral styles best represents you? We'll do this by
focusing on two areas -- how direct or indirect you are, and how open or guarded
Indirect people tend to avoid taking bold risks or spontaneous actions.
Taken to an extreme, it can be interpreted as indecisive. Indirect people also
tend to be less confronting and demanding. They tend to move at a slower
pace. For them, "sooner or later" is good enough.
Indirect people tend to consider the pros and cons, and attend to the
details. They generally operate according to established formats and rules. You
can count on them to show up on time. They tend to communicate by asking
instead of telling and they're understated and reserved.
Direct people tend to be faster paced, more assertive, and more
competitive. If carried to an extreme they can seem hasty, combative or
insensitive to others' needs. They're much freer with their opinions -- and they're
extroverted. You could safely say they're "action oriented." They're the ones
who'll take the initiative to introduce themselves to others.
They prefer rapid decisions and can become impatient when things don't
move fast enough or go their way. Checking for errors is something they'll
delegate to others if they can. In fact, they often rush into so many new areas
that their time seems to evaporate into thin air.
Direct people enjoy taking risks. They won't back down when they believe
what they're saying. In fact, "intensity" could be their middle name.
If they feel they need to bend an established rule or policy to accomplish
something -- they probably will. Direct people tend to feel that if they throw
enough against the wall, something has to stick.
Open people don't mind straying off the subject to discuss personal
experiences. As long as it's in the ballpark, it will be acceptable to them. It's
also all right with them to exaggerate details a bit. Their time perspective will
more likely be organized around the needs of people first, and tasks second. By
contrast, someone with more Guarded behavior usually places a higher priority
on getting things done. To them, the task itself will be more important than who
does it. And if you've got a dream -- or a vision -- or a new direction you want to
take-- they're the ones who'll support you and catch that vision. They'll be able
to see it even if you don't have any data to back it up.
If people who express more Open behavior seems like open books, then
Guarded people tend to exhibit 'poker faces'. They like to keep their distance---
both physically and mentally. They place a high value on reality and facts.
Guarded people like structure, since they expect results within that
structured environment. They can be counted on to base their decisions on
evidence; stay focused on the issue at hand; and stick to the agenda. As more
naturally independent workers, they need to control the conditions around their
tasks. They're more disciplined about how other people use their time. You
might say that Guarded people focus on thoughts or ideas.
When you combine the two scales, you arrive at four different behavioral
If you chose yourself as both Direct and Open, I call your style the
"Socializer." Individuals who chose Direct and Guarded behaviors are called
Directors. If your type is Indirect and Guarded, you are a Thinker. Finally, if your
description fits Indirect and Open behaviors, your style is called the Relater.
Directors are the ones who want to take control and do things their way.
They're accomplishment oriented and often seem to have unlimited energy
toward reaching their goals. They've got high ego strength. Inaction and
hesitation often quickly erode their patience.
Socializers' persuasive powers often get others even more excited about
their ideas than they are themselves. They're the only style who can talk people
into various situations...even if they don't have all the facts. Or any! Their key
need is recognition. They need pats on the back and applause.
Relaters are the best team players. They like to keep things constant
and 'as is'. They're relationship oriented, active listeners who often use their
counseling skills to enhance their relationships. They hate conflict and feel
extremely uncomfortable if anyone becomes angry with them.
Thinkers specialize in problem solving and precision. If you want
something done right, give it to them. They'll typically finish a project virtually
error-free--no checking required by others--because they need to be correct.
© Dianna Booher, Booher Consultants, Inc.
Author of 42 books (Simon & Schuster/Pocket, Warner, and McGraw-Hill), Dianna Booher, CSP, CPAE, delivers programs on communication and life-balance issues. Her latest books: Speak with Confidence, Your Signature Life, Your Signature Work, E-Writing, and Communicate with Confidence. For more information, visit www.booher.com or call 800-342-6621.