A book by Dave Mitchell, The Power of Understanding People: The Key to Strengthening Relationships, Increasing Sales, and Enhancing Organizational Performance, explores the diverse communication styles of individuals and how this impacts their behaviors, preferences and intrinsic needs. Once understood, we can better communicate in a more meaningful and effective way with each of the four styles. As a negotiation coach, I’ve found the advice in this book invaluable in helping clients navigate any situation to reach a successful conclusion.
Honing the ability to communicate with each style can lead to better employee engagement and performance, more client satisfaction, higher sales, increased profits, and greater teamwork and morale. It also can improve one’s personal relationships. I can personally vouch for the strategies Dave outlines in this book. I met him at a negotiation event where I was speaking. Since then, he’s provided me with one-on-one coaching that has yielded substantial results. I’ve learned how to quickly adapt to my counterpart’s interactive style, breaking down barriers and fostering greater discovery. Additionally, our work also has enhanced my presentation skills as well as my ability to communicate more effectively with my kids.
Being able to identify our own interactive style can do wonders for our interpersonal relationships, careers and organizations. Mitchell goes into detail about various communication styles using iconic Hollywood actors and actresses to illustrate their respective behaviors. For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to focus on four types:
We’ll explore each of their behavioral cues, strengths, weaknesses, leadership styles and selling abilities.
What is Your Interactive Style?
Mitchell’s book has a questionnaire, The Power of Understanding People Assessment, you can take to determine your personality type. Once you’ve identified your interactive style as well as those of others with whom you interact, you can gain greater insight into how you work and respond to various scenarios. It also will enable you to understand how your style meshes or clashes with another’s and how you can address those differences in a productive way.
Identifying and Understanding Personality Types
None of us are simple, straightforward beings. We are complex, nuanced and multi-faceted. However, if we understand the fundamental aspects of being human – for better or worse – we can sketch out a blueprint to better negotiations.
Let’s break down the basic characteristics and motivators for each interactive style:
Trusts their intuition (gut feelings) regarding people and situations
Is an emotionally sensitive person
Encourages a harmonious, collaborative environment
Expresses appreciation and is responsive to praise
Is competitive and likes to make improvements
Places importance on reason, efficiency and results
Is purposeful and analytical
Has a need to be goal-oriented and is usually very driven
Is realistic and practical
Relies on facts and thinks in very concrete terms
Likes detailed, step by step instructions
Respects the rules
Places value on consistency and reliability
Embraces new and challenging experiences
Is imaginative and an innovator
Relies on inspiration and extrapolation
Likes to take risks and often thrives on chaos
Exudes charm and energy
Now that you understand their basic characteristics, discover each personality’s interactive strengths and weaknesses:
Strengths: The Romantic is likable and adept at building strong relationships with coworkers and peers. They truly care about people.
Weaknesses: Romantics can get so heavily invested in existing relationships that they might not make time to develop new ones. They sometimes are complicit in workplace issues – tending to avoid conflict.
Leadership Style: Romantics tend to have a servant style of leadership. They like to connect and nurture people.
Selling Ability: Romantics are good at building relationships. Once they gain trust in the relationship, they’re able to sell their ideas.
Strengths: The Warrior gets things done and likes people who do the same. They can be unabashed in created lofty goals but nevertheless achieve them – even if it means breaking the rules.
Weaknesses: They have little tolerance for incompetence and will let others do their thing as long as they prove they’re confident and competent.
Leadership Style: Since Warriors like to get things done, their leadership style is very results-driven.
Selling Ability: Therefore, it makes sense that their selling ability rests on closing the deal.
Strengths: Many Experts are technically proficient. They have a keen understanding of workplace policies and procedures and enjoy learning about the organization’s products and services.
Weaknesses: Because experts are sticklers for accuracy, they can be intolerant of those who are not. Their precision also can lead to rigidity.
Leadership Style: Typically, those who seek knowledge and experience tend to be very proficient. The Expert manages others by leveraging his or her thought leadership skills.
Selling Ability: Being a subject matter expert is how the Expert prefers to sell or negotiate.
Strengths: Novelty is the Mastermind’s middle name. They are not afraid to take risks. They are very innovative and embrace anything new and different.
Weaknesses: Their exciting, creative nature can lead to chaos and mistakes though. Often one solution is not good enough for them. They like lots of options and will push for them.
Leadership Style: Those who are innovative tend to be visionaries as is the case with the Mastermind.
Selling Ability: Coming up with innovative solutions is how Masterminds sell their ideas.
Once you understand how each of these personalities thinks, leads and sells, you’ll be able to better prepare to negotiate with each of them. Understanding their styles and triggers also will enable you to get things back on track should they go awry. In turn, your ability to identify issues and recalibrate the discussion will put your counterpart at ease.
Maximizing Interactive Styles Leads to Better Negotiations
These interactive styles influence our communications. Understanding each will enable you to establish rapport, resolve conflicts, handle objections, improve collaboration and build strong agreements that last.
If you think about it, every interaction is a negotiation of sorts. Understanding the various styles, their strengths and weaknesses, and where they can be of great service to your organization and goals will yield an optimal result.
Take the style assessment. Let me know what your communication type is and what challenges it creates for you when negotiating. Check out Dave’s new book, The Power of Understanding Yourself, coming in January 2019.