Written by: Jo Mousley
How good are you at influencing people to your way of thinking?
You already flex your style of communication without even thinking about it, the way you talk to your partner, the boss, the kids, your mates down the pub, is all different. You might be doing this subconsciously or on purpose to try and get the best results from your conversation.
Sometimes you will meet someone and just click, whereas other times you meet someone and they set your hairs on the back of your neck on end – why is that?
To get the best out of any relationships we firstly need to think about the way we prefer to do things and how that might be perceived by others. Understanding how other people prefer to work and how we can change our behaviours to get the best result is called ‘flexing your style’.
Step 1. Self-Awareness
How do you prefer to work? Do you like to work with people who talk a lot and are energetic or more forceful to get things done quickly? Or do you prefer to work with someone who is quieter and not as forceful? Do you naturally gravitate to people who are interested in getting the task done or who recognise the importance of people and relationships? Do you like creative people who have lots of big picture ideas or do you prefer to work with people who take their time over things, like to have a clearly defined plan in place?
Asking yourself these kinds of questions will help you understand your working and behavioural preference and therefore the way you want people to work with you. So what if they don’t work that way, that must mean they are doing it all wrong, or are they?
Step 2. Awareness of Others
It can be frustrating when working with other people with a different way of doing things to you, but you have probably heard about opposites attracting. That can definitely make for a great relationship at work too, as long as you can embrace those differences.
Observe the other person and how they approach their work or better still ask them what works for them.
- Do they prefer emails with two or three bullet points or emails with many attachments that will give them all the details they desire?
- Do they like time to prepare for meetings or are they the kind of person to come and sit on the side of your desk to chat a new idea through?
- Are they very focused on results or do they care more about how change may impact on people?
Step 3. Flex to Get the Best
So what is this all about? Does it matter that we are different and have different ways of working, surely variety is the spice of life? Well it is, but the more awareness you have of yourself and the people you surround yourself with, the better chance you have of working together in a way that is the most productive and effective for all of you. This will help to influence people to your way of thinking or just simply playing to their strengths. Flexing your style, not changing your personality, can help you to have better working relationships and as well as more healthy relationships outside of work.