Home » 92 – Identify Your Work Style

92 – Identify Your Work Style

by Jill

Learn more about your work style and the work styles of others. The model can help you learn how to do better with your team.

Peoples Styles at Work by Robert Bolton and Dorothy Grover Bolton

Don’t Pigeonhole Others – It is OK to look at other people’s personalities but not pigeonhole them or decide that they are exactly like them. 

Model Behavior to be Predictive – Using a model of behavior is helpful to work with others in a better way. 

The Style Grid – The grid is less or more Assertive and less or more Responsive. More Responsive and More Assertive is type Expressive. They are open and enthusiastic, and energetic. If they feel stressed, they can attack others. More Responsive and Less Assertive is the Amiable type. They are friendly and the people who hold a team together. When they get stressed, they give in. The third type is Analytical, who is less Responsive and Less Assertive, and they love data and getting things right. When they get stressed, they avoid things. The last type is less Responsive and more Assertive and is called Drivers. They love to get things done correctly. When stressed, they start to rule over things and people without getting their input. 

Who Are You? – It is a great idea to determine which type you are and ensure you can use your type to the best ability. You should also think about what others think you are. They may not be the same. Determine what others on the team are and plot them on a grid. 


Look at these categories and try to list a few of the pros and cons that this particular style has for you.



[Music] Have you ever wondered how differences with people at work can make things better or make things worse? That’s what we’ll talk about today. [Music] Who am I and what, if anything, can I do about it? Aldous Huxley. Today we’re going to talk about a book, People’s Styles at Work and Beyond, Making Bad Relationships Good and Good Relationships Better, by Robert Bolton and Dorothy Grover Bolton. Work is hard enough, but then when you mix up all the relationships involved in work, that’s where it gets really difficult or interesting or better. And how can you make those relationships with people better? I have worked in the past with people who are amazingly sensitive about the things that they do and not open to change really. I had a person, and this was funny, on her first day of work came in and basically tore apart all the different pieces of work I’d been working on for almost a decade, reorganized them, redid them. Okay, that’s fine. It could have used some improvement. But I don’t think she realized that that was a good bulk of the things that I had been working on and really took pride in at my job. She had a different vision. It was now her area. That’s fine. But the funny thing about it was, as steamed as I was, because I think our personalities clashed from time to time, another person later came into that same office and did the same thing to her. A1 tried to just change everything. The new person was just trying to come up with good ideas, just trying to help things out a little bit, but didn’t realize the amount of time and effort and heart and soul she had put into that project. And so sometimes we all have the same vision. You know, my company, it’s helping customers. We are a very customer-focused company. But how we do it and the personality traits we bring to the job are really important. We talked in episode 7 about the book Strength Finders 2.0 by Tom Rath and that book was about driving out what your particular strengths are. It wasn’t a personality test as much as it was trying to figure out what you’re really good at and trying to build on that. In this particular book, this is more about your work style or how you like to display your work, how you like to act in your work job. And I thought it was interesting because sometimes those relationships at work are the hardest thing to get right. We can have a job we like, we can do a great job at our job, but then suddenly we’re finding that we’re butting heads with someone who shares the same goal we do, helping customers, but just has a little bit of a different way of expressing how they do their job. The bottom line of the book is is that people are different. They have different ways of manifesting their personality, different ways that they interact with people, and different responses to tasks that they have to do. Are they really just into analysis or are they about the people and communicating? And that difference can really make a difference to how we do on the job. And they said that if we don’t get along at the job, We’ll have a difficult time working with other people. We won’t be able to get the things done that we hope to get done or convince people when we have something we believe is urgent, that it is urgent, and just fail at communication in general. We will get on each other’s nerves, kind of like what I was talking about with the relationship I had with that person who first came into my office. We got along in the end, but it took work, and it took some understanding for us to come to a place where we were friends and really enjoyed each other’s company by just understanding how we are different from each other. And these differences in our styles really help us to understand each other if we can categorize them a little bit better. The book warns against trying to pigeonhole people into a corner, oh, that person’s just difficult, or this person is just this or that. And the reason we want to categorize people according to the book is so that we can better relate to them and maybe also better predict what they’re going to do in response to our work. And they call this a model. In the end, we’re trying to build a model for people. And models aren’t perfect. Models are meant to be a simplified reduction of the real thing. So when we put people into models, we’re really sort of reducing them to the core of how they work. The purpose, they believe, is that it will help us interpret and observe people better, understand exactly where they’re coming from, and work with them in a better way. So in this book, they say, quote, “A people style is a cluster of habitual, assertive, “and responsive behaviors that have a pervasive “and enduring influence on one’s action.” Meaning this is long-term. This is kind of how we act. It’s not acting in a bad way to a bad situation, or it’s not really having a one-off occurrence. You know, maybe if we have this really bad situation and we flip out, and that’s not what pervasive is. This means just day in and day out, we’re acting in a certain way. So we have styles, that’s how we act. Behavior is how we actually do things, what we do to get things done. And in the end, these behaviors will help us understand each other. They give a quote from a federal judge that says, “A man’s life, like a piece of tapestry, is made up of many strands, which, interwoven, makes a pattern. To single one out and look at it alone not only destroys the whole, but gives the strand itself a false value.” So that means that when we’re looking at these models these people. We can’t just reduce people. “Oh, that person is just angry.” No, they’re much more complicated than that. A person isn’t just a thing. They’re the tapestry. And so this model at least tries to give us a hint at how this person does at work. They also go on in the book later to mention how the person will do in marriage and with children and other situations. But the part we’re going to talk about is the part where they’re talking about work specifically. It’s up to you then to think about how other areas of your life are affected by this and maybe even read the book and take some advice about how you can help those other areas when dealing with other people. They think that in the end it is hard for us to change behaviors or styles and it’ll be again pervasive meaning it’ll go over many years and And what they say, quote, is you’d be wise to accept and celebrate it. And that’s important. I’m a firm believer in taking the things that we’re good at, taking the things that we enjoy and that we have strengths in and building on that, fixing a little of the things that we’re weak at, but really going in and looking at how we can celebrate the gifts we’ve been given, the strengths we have in order to make us better. So the first thing that they look at, and this is going to be a cross section, is assertiveness, which is either less assertive or more assertive. And this just means how forceful or directive you may be as a person. And they give some test questions to kind of help you sort out exactly where you are. But basically, this person will use more forceful ways to get their goals. And And people who are less forceful will not necessarily be less directed than the other person, they just may use different techniques than force to get their goals. So it’s certainly not an assertive versus submissive. They say that some ways that you can tell what a more assertive person looks like is they gesture a lot. They have good eye contact. They move more and with more energy. They’re more direct, they speak louder, they speak faster, and they also make decisions more rapidly and they’re more confrontational. What’s funny is if you have listened to this podcast more than a few times, you know, I talk way too fast. I do talk too fast, I’m trying to work on it. The next category, which is our up and down, is responsiveness. And that’s going to be how aware they are of their own emotions, they say, and how are they with emotions from other people? It’s not necessarily that the person feels or doesn’t feel. I have met some very stoic individuals, silent, and you wouldn’t have guessed they had a single emotion in their body, but there’s a phrase, “Still waters run deep,” which means there’s a lot more to the inside of a person than what most people realize. A lot of people who you might think are not very emotional or not very tied to their emotion, are like big gooey chocolate chip cookies. They’re crunchy on the outside, but all soft and gooey on the inside. They just don’t put it out there for everyone to see. So they said a more responsive person expresses emotions freely. They’re talkative in a more emotional way. They like small talk. They like reaching out and talking to people. And they’re also very worried about how their own actions or actions of the company are going to impact other people. I like some of the characteristics. It says, prefers working with others compared to being alone, dresses more casually. Boy, that’s me right there. I just love dressing casually and I love being with other people. It’s my two favorite things. Also, they mentioned that they’re less structured in their use of time and they’re a lot more open to being with other people when they have the ability to be alone. So now that we have the less assertive, more assertive, less responsive, more responsive, they break those characteristics into four quadrants. The person who’s less assertive, less responsive is analytical. The person who is less responsive, but more assertive is the driver. The person who is less assertive, but more responsive, is amiable. And the person who is more assertive, more responsive, is expressive. And the thing they say to remember is that there is no bad character here. They all have their pros and cons. And placed in the right job or the right task, they will thrive. What do you think you are? You probably have a pretty good idea of what you are. You can look at this book and read a little bit more about it and decide better about what you are But here’s the other question. Who do other people think you are and that’s what I think is really interesting. I believe That I’m expressive I tend to be a little bit more assertive and a little bit more responsive if something goes wrong in a conference I’m the person on the stage immediately trying to tell jokes Keep people interested and make sure that everyone’s doing well and is really happy I am all over the place at conferences and in meetings trying to make people more Comfortable or take whatever action it is. They need to do over the course of years I find that being expressive all the time Can really wear people out if you’re always all over the place if you’re always very directive You’re always, you know looking people in the eye and being very Emotional or being very open with things people can get worn out about that And so I have really learned to tamp that down and maybe use these in a little bit better way And so I bet you that if you ask some people around me or work people, they’d probably put me in the amiable category But for the most part I range somewhere in that expressive and amiable range most of the time So it may be you’re not coming off Quite in the same way you probably are inside your own skin and that might be because you learn lessons over the years that taught you to take some of the negative aspects of your personality or your style and Bend them a little bit more to being open for other people Just talking about the different characteristics. They say that drivers are quick They’re quick to act and do things and walk and they are delegating and they are getting things done and making it happen at work sometimes the problem with them is that they may not listen to other people or If they’re driving action and there’s something wrong that is preventing action Sometimes they don’t stop to make sure that those actions are getting cured before they go on They like to set goals that are realistic, but also very high They want to get things done and that’s the most important thing Then the expressive people those are the responsive but also assertive people they tend to like bright colors and be loud and flourishing and Be visionaries and take those bold moves and look at the castles in the air boy that wraps up me in the 20s I was always having these huge visions and these huge plans and all these things I was going to do without really an idea of how I was going to get them done. And again, that’s me now Moderating my style a bit so that I can actually get things done. I can actually Not be so many castles in the air, but look at maybe a solid cabin on the ground something I could actually accomplish that is worth doing that is realistic and Be a little bit less in that expressive style just because I’ve learned over the years I could do better says that they can get bored quickly boy. That’s me right there and They can be impulsive at times quote from their book says from someone who is in this category First I dive into a pool and then I look to see if there’s water in it Boy, you want to talk about what I was in my 20s. That’s it right there. The AMEO people are very People-oriented they’re very easygoing. They like working with people and they have good relationships with people They’re really the person who brings teams together a lot of times They’re getting a lot of the tasks done because they’re trying to help out They’re trying to be a team player and so the book says that they’re the unsung heroes of a lot of team tasks that have to get done and The problem is it says that if the amiable people if they don’t stop and take time and actually stand up for something say something is important, they will lose credibility with the people around them. And as someone who’s tried to sort of migrate towards the more amiable person, I can tell you that’s true. And the last category are the analyticals. They are the perfectionists. They want to analyze everything, they want to get everything right, they don’t want to work on hunches, they don’t want to work on the best guess, they want the data correct. And they will make people do things over again if they feel that their standards aren’t being met. And that can be great for a project. It can make a project fantastic, but it also can strangle a project so no one can get anything done. And sometimes it may mean that they may not come out with a decision. They may be waiting for more data, for a better situation, to make it more perfect, to keep going. And that means that the thing that they’re trying to do may never get done because they’re always looking for more data, more analysis, or a better way of doing something. And at some point you got to get something done and you have to get your projects done at work, even if they’re not going to be perfect. So this is going to be the first part of our podcast. We talked about how we have these different personality styles and a little bit of the characteristics of them. On the next episode, we’re going to talk a little bit about what can we do now that we know what our style is, how can we use them, and how can we actually help build those relationships with other people at our work so that we make them stronger and we get along with people who are quite different than us. So my challenge to you is to look at these categories. Try to list a few of your pros and cons that this particular style has for you. And then next week we’ll talk about what we can do about them. And our fun entertainment advice of the week comes from Office Space. Would you walk us through a typical day for you? Yeah. Great. Well, I generally come in at least 15 minutes late. I use the side door. That way Lumber can’t see me. And after that, I just sort of space out for about an hour. Space out? Yeah. stare at my desk, but it looks like I’m working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too. I’d say in a given week, I probably only do about 15 minutes of real, actual work. Peter, would you be a good sport and indulge us and just tell us a little more? Oh yeah. Let me tell you something about TPS reports. “The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy. It’s that I just don’t care.” “Don’t… don’t care?” “It’s a problem of motivation, alright?” I mean, really, how can you talk about work and not talk about the movie office space? See, he’s talking about… not a style. He’s talking about the fact that he’s actually pretty lazy. He doesn’t want to do his job, and he doesn’t care about the fact that he needs to do his job. that people are relying on him to do his job and even paying him to do his job. So this is not a style. This is a problem. All right, everyone. Thanks so much. I hope you have a great week. And if you remember to tell a friend that they can have better relationships with the people around them by taking small steps. [MUSIC PLAYING] you [fart]

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