Organisation : Work Styles - It Takes a Mix

Dale Mask is co-founder Alliance Training and Consulting, Inc.  Dale is a highly sought after speaker and has presented over 2,500 training sessions on human resources, management and supervision topics throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad. 

He has been quoted in various publications including the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.   He has severed as content developer and technical expert developing training programs in human resources, employment law, ADA, FMLA, and management topics ranging from coaching to discipline.

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The research of Carl Jung, Marsten, Boyer, and others has shown there are recognizable styles of communication and behavior. No one style is more effective than another.  They just take different approaches to reach an end result.  The research also shows a mix of styles works best in building a successful department or work team.
Too often, managers hire "in their own image."  They hire people who they connect with easily in the interview.  The adage “we like each other when we’re like each other” comes into play.  Managers typically choose associates with work styles similar to their own.  This limits the team's effectiveness, overall creativity, and flexibility in meeting organizational goals.  The team has a one-way thinking focus.


On the surface this may seem fine.  On further evaluation, however, the problems are easily recognized. 
According to the studies, there are four basic work styles.  The styles are commonly referred to as D, I, S and C because of the adjectives that relate to the behaviors common to the style. 
D – Directs, is action oriented, a doer, high concern for getting the task done in the most direct method possible.

I – Influences others, a communicator, high concern for motivating others to get things done quickly and have fun doing it.

S – Sensitive to relationships, high concern for people and their feelings and goes out of their way to get along.

C – Conscientious, pays attention to details, a thinker, high concern for logic and analysis to get the job done right.
We are all a “mix” of these four styles.  However, one (or sometimes two) styles are our predominant style.  It is our typical behavior pattern.  The style shows in our general approach to life and how we handle situations and process information.  In general, although we can use behaviors of all the styles, our dominant style is the style we are  most comfortable using and the one we rely on.
Each style has strengths.  However, these strengths used can be shortcomings when over used.  A department made up of all D’s may be charging off in many directions with each doing their own thing their own way.  A department of all I’s may paint a pretty picture of the end result, but does not focus on the details of what needs to get done today.   All S’s in the department may get along really well but fail to make the tough decisions that need to be made.  And the department of C’s may end up with analysis paralysis and caught up in the details.  
A department or team mix of styles can take advantage of each style's strength.  The “D” presses to take action, the “I” gets people moving, the “S” provides support and promotes good working relationships, and the “C” pays attention to the details. 

Managers who are aware of these basic people styles are better prepared to manage their department or team for top performance for several reasons.            

  • They make better hiring decisions because they hire for the job not just because they like the person.
  • They make better teambuilding decisions because they recognize the benefits of the various styles.
  • They manage conflict within the team more effectively because they help team members better understand work relationships.
  • They are better problem-solvers because they understand the value of getting input form others.
  • They make better delegation decisions because they can better match the work to a person’s style.
  • They are better motivators because they can more effectively relate to individual employee needs.

In order for managers to maximize results and become true leaders, they must recognize the advantage of mixing work styles.  

 © 2003 Alliance Training and Consulting, Inc.

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