If you are looking for greater success, get a promotion, land a new job, enjoy greater influence, make quality connections and become known as a leader, it’s imperative to develop the ability to communicate effectively with others. When you develop exemplary communication skills, you are more likely to succeed.
Have you ever wondered why you are having trouble communicating with others? It has everything to do with a difference in social styles.
Most people exhibit the following four basic social styles, do you recognize them?
The Powerful Controller: they like things done “My Way!”
The Popular Socializer: they like things done the “Fun Way!”
The Peaceful Amiable: they like things done the “Easy Way!”
The Perfect Analyst: they like things done the “Right Way!”
Over 2500 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, developed a system that helps to identify people’s personality traits. Hippocrates’ system classifies personality styles into four main categories: introversion (indirect), extroversion (direct), relaxed (people-oriented), and anxious (task-oriented).
When you come across someone that has a different social style from you, you will probably have trouble communicating with them because people like people who are most like themselves. Gaining an understanding of social styles will help you with your interpersonal and communication skills which automatically leads to greater opportunities in life.
The Four Quadrants
Your social style reflects the effect you have on others, although attitude and style are quite different, it is how you are perceived by others that actually matters. The two main observable factors that reflect your attitude is your level or supportiveness and directness. Supportiveness reflects how willing you are to outwardly show your emotions and feelings which are critical to building rapport and forming interpersonal relationships with others leading to more effective communication. Directness reflects the amount of control you have over other people’s thoughts and emotions.
Another way to look at directness vs supportiveness is to consider if the other person is extroverted (direct) or introverted (supportive). Responsive people tend to be “people-oriented” and assertive people tend to be “task-oriented.” Most people will predominantly fit into one or a combination of two of these dimensions.
Your own personality and social style will have an influence on how successful your interpersonal relationships will be and how well you communicate with others.
Characteristics of a Powerful Controller
A person who displays the characteristics of a powerful controller is primarily in a leadership position. They are generally self-assured and determined and get things done. Uncomfortable with small talk they tend to not have a lot of friends because their major weakness is they lack tact and diplomacy. They don’t consider other people’s feelings as they are more concerned with themselves. They like to be in control and make decisions for others and don’t like any displays of emotions. Results-oriented, they fear losing control or being taken advantage of. Under stress, the way a powerful controller will communicate is by dictating to others.
Characteristics of a Popular Socializer
The Socializer personality enjoys the company of other people. They tend to make friends easily and with an easily relatable communication style. You will often find them in roles of influence as they tend to make good salespeople. However, the socializers aren’t always good in leadership positions as they are generally poor at follow up. They can be very impulsive and lose focus quickly as they aren’t usually analytical and don’t see the relevance in detailed reporting. They seek recognition and like to be admired as they fear a loss of face and prestige. Under stress, the Socializer will tend to confront others, become argumentative, and defend their point of view.
Characteristics of a Peaceful Amiable
The peaceful amiable personality is easy-going and very dependable and you often find them in positions where they are supportive and caring of others. They make great counselors, nurses, teachers, and are amazing in support roles. They are diplomatic peacemakers and easy to get along with however they do have a tendency to procrastinate. They won’t take on more than they feel they can cope with and sometimes find it hard to make decisions. Most people enjoy working with them however they need to learn to be more assertive as they don’t like to say no. They seek acceptance and fear sudden change. Under stress, their communication style changes as they tend to submit to the demands of others.
Characteristics of a Perfect Analyst
The perfect analyst likes to think things through carefully and is not quick to make decisions. Once a decision is made, they stand by it because they have analyzed all the possibilities. They are detailed oriented and seek accuracy and don’t like criticism of their work. You will often find them in roles such as engineering, accounting, or data analytic roles. They have a tendency to be negative and pessimistic in their communications and dwell on past hurts. Because they are not people-oriented, they don’t make friends easily but when they do, they are intensely loyal. They fear criticism of their work. Under stress, the perfect analyst tends to withdraw and not communicate at all.
Developing Interpersonal Skills
Because you don’t automatically click with everyone you meet, when you understand another person’s social style, this will help you in all your interpersonal communications.
People who display director traits are usually very direct and extroverted in their communications and come across as being very powerful and confident. Goal-oriented, they don’t like you to waste their time or appear disorganized. They like to be the ones to make the decision so don’t push them. They are much harder to build rapport with as they can come across as being blunt and arrogant. When communicating with them – be snappy sharp and don’t ramble. They don’t like detail so be brief and get to the point quickly. They will make up their own mind without a lot of prodding from you. The good thing is, they do make decisions quickly.
The Popular Socializer
The socializer is also direct, very expressive, and often in your face. Extroverted, they love to do things the fun way. They are also people-oriented. They were the popular ones at school and are the life of the party. Warm and welcoming, it’s usually easier to build rapport and communicate with a socializer provided you are also warm and enthusiastic. They have a need to be liked and to look good so focus all communications on what will make them be the hero. Ask them for their opinion and chunk up to the bigger picture as they are not very good with detail and are easily distracted.
You can build greater interpersonal relationships with them even by adapting your communication style with enthusiasm even if this is not natural for you. If you need a decision from them, come from the point of view it will be good for them personally as it will make them look good!
The Peaceful Amiable
The peaceful amiable is usually indirect in their interactions and communications with you and like to do things the easy way. They love to relate to others so relationship building is very important to them. The peaceful amiable is caring and sincere and will look to maintain rapport with you. You need to start by being personable, informal, and non-threatening in your communications. Don’t be formal or abrupt or dominate the discussion remember to ask them their opinion throughout your conversations with them.
As a general rule of thumb, they are not goal-oriented and usually won’t make decisions on the spot. They need a little more work so you do need to keep in touch with them and follow up regularly. They might just need some gentle prodding if you need a decision from them.
The Perfect Analyst
The perfect analyst likes to do things the “right” way and have a tendency to be more introverted. Think of them as a perfectionist. In your interpersonal communications with a perfect analyst – remember they are more task-focused. They are very methodical and analytical therefore they like facts, figures, and details unlike the socializer or amiable. Analysts are harder to build rapport with as they are naturally distrusting. Take your time and do your homework, be logical in your approach, and deal with any queries they have in your interactions with them as they are likely to ask lots of questions.
You can’t rush their decision-making process chances are they like to mull things over. Allow them this time to think – if you rush them, you risk losing them. Once they make a decision, they will remain loyal and fully support you.
On a Final Note
Developing exemplary communication skills is the key to success. If you want to land a new job or get a promotion, consider the social style of the person making the decision, this could be your boss, a CEO, or the person interviewing you. If you can adapt your communication style to theirs, you are far more likely to succeed.
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