The Power of Observation: Identifying behavior styles

dog with binoculars

Now that you have an idea of the different styles, their tendencies, and the varying combinations, it’s time to learn how to identify someone’s behavior style, something you can do by simply observing them. Why do this? Because you live and work with people of different styles. Understanding that your spouse’s Driver tendencies aren’t a sign that he thinks you are lazy or overly talkative could help a lot. Understanding that your Analytical coworker’s need to study every possible outcome isn’t something he does just to see your face turn purple.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that this is not a science but an art that takes practice and patience.

I often joke that if you want to identify someone’s style, watch how they manage breakfast.  For example, a Driver wouldn’t bring in breakfast, so if someone does bring breakfast, you know that person isn’t a Driver.  An Expressive would bring in donuts and send out an email to everyone letting them know that they were the ones who brought the donuts, and that they’ll be in the break room if you want to stop by and say hello.  Amiables want you to be cared for and fed, but they don’t want attention, so they bring in the donuts, slip them in the break room, and quickly return to work.  This works out perfectly for the Expressives who can now pretend that they were the ones who brought the donuts!  Meanwhile, the Analytical is still at the donut shop determining the proper count, divided by the potential number of donut eaters, factoring in that some may be gluten or dairy intolerant.

Another approach to identifying someone’s style is saying, “Tell me about yourself”.  Drivers begin with their job titles or what they do for a living.  Expressives start from birth and work their way up.  Amiables will say, “I don’t want to bore you with me, tell me about you!”, and Analyticals will return with, “What do you want to know?”

Or ask for directions.  Drivers will send you a link to a Google map.  Expressives will give you landmarks and have great stories about each one.  Amiables will ask where you’re coming from, so that they may give you the most convenient directions from point A to point B, and Analyticals will sound like a GPS divise: Travel .2 miles heading North East, then veer 45 degrees to the South.

Or you could just ask yourself these questions.

1.  What is their pace?  Are they fast-paced and impatient, or are they slow-paced and patient?  Observe the way they talk, eat, manage tasks, and behave in general.  Do they tend to interrupt, waiting for you to take a breath so they can get a word in?  If so, they are fast paced and impatient, which makes them either a dominant Driver or Expressive.  Are they more patient, letting you complete your and ideas then taking a moment to think about it before responding?  If so, they are most likely an Amiable or Analytical.

2.  What is their focus?  Do they focus more on facts, tasks, and results, or are they more focused on people, emotions, and relationships.  If they are more emotional, focusing on people, relationships and feelings they are probably Amiable or Expressive.   If they are more task and result oriented, they will be more focused on projects, deadlines and will most likely be an Analytical or  Driver.

Remember, no one is all of one style or none of another.  If you haven’t read them, check out the last couple of posts.  They explain how each style works, processes, and perceives the world, as well as understanding different combinations.

Next month’s post will be the last in the series and will focus on the most important skill of all, modifying your approach when dealing with others.  It’s where the rubber meets the road.

In the meantime, your homework (should you choose to accept it) is to be aware of those that you work with, live with, and deal with.  What is there style?   Can you see a pattern of people you “click” with versus those that are more like oil and water?

Join me on Facebook or leave a comment here to share your examples, stories, or questions.  I love hearing from you (I’m Expressive, so it makes me feel good!)

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