|Maximizing Your Adaptability|
|An insight into the negotiating style of relaters, thinkers, the socializer, and the director, and their compatibility as people and as negotiators.|
Different Negotiation Styles
You remember The Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? Well, that's a terrific axiom, as far as it goes. But not everybody wants to be treated the same way you do!
I believe the real goal of the Golden Rule is to treat others the way they would like to be treated. Hence, I've come up with what I think is a newer, more sensitive version of The Golden Rule-or what I call The Platinum Rule:
"DO UNTO OTHERS AS THEY WOULD LIKE DONE UNTO THEM."
The Platinum Rule, distilled to its essence, equates to respect for others. It's an attempt to break down the them-versus-us mentality and concentrate on the "us." It's a powerful tool for helping build rapport by meeting the other person's needs and your own. In fact, along with behavioural scientist Dr. Michael J. O'Connor, I wrote a book that considered the personality styles in much greater depth.
The Platinum Rule (Warner Books, 1996) describes four primary behavioural, or personality, types:
Directors are forceful, take-charge people. Their impatience-and sometimes their insensitivity-may make you wince. Driven by an inner need to achieve results, they are more concerned with outcomes than egos.
The friendly, enthusiastic Socializers are fast-paced people who thrive on admiration, acknowledgment, and applause. They enjoy talking, and while strong on fresh concepts, they're usually weak on implementation.
Relaters are the teddy bears of the human zoo. Rather affable, people-oriented, and slow-paced, Relaters tend to drag their feet when it comes to change, preferring routine ways of doing things.
Thinkers are results-oriented problem solvers. They seek results in a quiet, low-key way. Thinkers are analytical, persistent, independent, and well organized, but are frequently viewed as aloof, picky, and critical.
Here are some extra tips to help you practice adaptability
1. Reach out and touch someone. Think of a "difficult" person with whom you'd like to communicate better. What motivates that person? For a Director, it's control; for a Socializer, recognition; for a Relater, camaraderie; and for a Thinker, analysis. What can you do that will reinforce what this person requires most?
2. Don't be too quick to judge. Being able to acknowledge the styles is important, but be careful about judging someone's style too quickly and making irrevocable decisions based on your perceived compatibility. Your knowledge of the styles should expand your relationships, not decrease them. So don't use The Platinum Rule to stereotype or pigeonhole others.
3. Use self-knowledge as an insight, not an excuse. By understanding your style, you'll see your strengths and weaknesses as others do. But don't use this as a crutch to justify unacceptable behaviour, thinking thoughts like, "I'm a Director. So I'm naturally impatient and domineering." Or "It's okay if I don't follow up because I'm an Socializer."
4. Learn to motivate by style. Whenever you face a task at the office or in the home, it's probable that a big portion of your effort involves attempting to motivate others. You can use your knowledge of The Platinum Rule to inspire each style:
Directors: Be straightforward: Here's what's wrong, here is how it came about, and here is how it's likely to impact us.
Socializers: Explain that while meeting this challenge may be difficult, it'll also differentiate those who do.
Relaters: Support their reluctance toward change, and see if it's had a negative impact on them so you can work with them to remedy that.
Thinkers: They need to know the reasons behind the change. So be organized, thorough, precise, and provide documentation of any new plan.
5. Tailor your criticism by style. Informing someone they need to improve is difficult but often necessary at work and at home. Here are a few possible approaches:
Directors: Emphasize the desired result and let them come up with ways to achieve it.
Socializers: Don't be vague. Have the Socializer repeat the agreed-upon changes back to you so there's no possibility of miscommunication.
Relaters: Focus on performance, not their personality. Go out of your way to explain to them that there's nothing wrong with them personally.
Thinkers: Be specific. Say exactly what's being done wrong, and outline the steps for correcting it by setting a deadline for completion.
Dr. Tony Alessandra, has authored 13 books, recorded over 50 audio and video programs.
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