As different as we all are, each of us generally can be categorized into one of four behavioral styles. Over the years, I have seen these styles referred to in a variety of ways—sometimes broken into subcategories. However, I have found the following designations to be the most descriptive, meaningful, and perhaps most importantly, easy to remember: analytical, amiable, driver and expressive. The four behavioral styles can be briefly summarized as follows:
• Analytical (Data-driven): These people are effective at gathering, reviewing and interpreting various types of information. We generally find analytical people in technical positions such as engineering, machining, finance and information technology.
• Amiable (Relationship-driven): These people are effective at involving others in different activities and achieving a consensus between different groups of people. These people generally are in supportive roles in organizations, such as human resources, training and customer service.
• Drivers (Results-driven): These people effectively do things in a timely manner. Drivers typically thrive in positions with a high degree of control, such as management and sales.
• Expressive (Vision-driven): These people see the “big picture” and create networks of people with different skills who can be called upon when needed. Expressive people fill roles in which creativity is required to bring about new ideas or develop a new way of doing business, such as marketing, advertising, procurement and executive management.
Understanding behavioral drivers is key to successful business interactions. Yet, sometimes it is difficult to recognize a person’s behavioral style. I recently was thinking of a fairly common phrase used to describe steps people take to get things done: “Ready…aim…fire!” I believe that simple variations of this phrase can help us understand each behavioral style’s approach to getting things done.
Analytical people are effective in solving problems, yet they are often accused of getting bogged down in the details when creating new products and developing new processes. This can lead to delays and even missed deadlines, which can frustrate others in the organization. Their approach to getting things done may most aptly be described as: “R - e - a - d - y … a - i - m … f - i - r - e!” On the positive side, once an analytical person does make a decision, it is likely a good one that is supported by facts.
Amiable people are mainly concerned about the feelings of others, so they go out of their way to ensure that everyone has a chance to voice their ideas or opinions. These people are often accused of trying to make everyone happy before getting started. Therefore, their approach to getting things done can be described as: “Ready, ready, ready…aim…fire!”
The positive in this situation is that by spending time generating support up-front, the amiable person has an excellent chance of achieving lasting success through consensus.
Drivers are committed to doing things well, but quickly, so they are often accused of overlooking (or ignoring) important details and input from others. Their approach to getting things done can be described as: “Aim…fire!” Of
course, successful drivers have a track record of achievement. Companies rely upon them to get things done.
Expressive people are creative. They are often forced to “think outside the box.” They are often under pressure to generate new ways of doing things, so they sometimes employ their “gut feelings” rather than generally accepted facts to set direction. Frequently, they change this direction (perhaps even overnight) to accomplish their goals. Expressive people are often accused of being inconsistent and unpredictable, which can make others uncomfortable. Their approach to getting things done can be described as: “Ready…fire!” This approach shows the expressive person’s ability to think and act differently from others. It is this trait that can make the expressive person so valuable when major change is needed in an organization.
I hope changing the simple “Ready...aim...fire!” phrase to illustrate the different behavioral styles proves helpful in your ability to recognize these different styles in action. Ultimately, this recognition should enable you to get the most from your interactions from others.