Many managers are known for being indifferent, callous, volatile, unhelpful and downright ornery. The reason for this is because they are so caught up with their own behavior, that they undermine their relationships with others through inadvertent self-interest.
In their encounters with others, they are ill-prepared to adjust their style of leadership to the situation in which they are involved.
On the other hand, when managers find themselves turned off by a proposal, frustrated by a waste of their time or threatened by more forwardness than they are used to, it's generally because others have not adjusted to the managers' style of leadership.
Seasoned salespeople are masters at accommodation and adaptation. They use many environmental clues and observable behaviors to help determine the type of person with whom they are interacting. Any manager who wants to influence others—subordinates, superiors, colleagues and customers—would do well to learn from skilled salespeople.
Basically, what it takes is a heightened sensitivity to the behavior of others—an increased observation of their body language, facial expressions, tone of voice and surroundings—in order to assess the type of person with whom managers are dealing.
Here are some examples.
- People who are highly task-oriented (behavioral style) ask: "How will this improve the bottom line?" (observable behavior). They will operate in functional and effective work settings (environmental clue).
- People who are highly detail conscious (behavioral style) ask: "What possible prob-lems do you think we may encounter?" (observable behavior). They operate in organized work surroundings (environmental clue).
- People who are highly impatient (behavioral style) ask: "When can we get this project off the ground?" (observable behavior). They operate in a hurried, let's-get-it-done work milieu (environmental clue).
- People who are low on people skills (behavioral style) ask: "Can I get back to you after I try this for myself?" (observable behavior). They operate in a personal, private hideaway (environmental clue).
In reality, human behavior is not always this cut-and-dry. But often, behavior can be assessed this quickly and with a fair degree of accuracy if managers have the determination and inclination to do so. The underlying principle for effective managing is to take the time to recognize the behavioral dispositions of the people being dealt with and then act accordingly.
By identifying observable behaviors and environmental clues, managers can determine another person's behavioral style. This will allow managers to interact with all different types of people with increased precision, understanding and confidence.