Adults Can Learn New Things – It Just Might Take Longer

Performance improvement is achieved by gaining both knowledge and understanding of your own behaviour, and by increasing your willingness to change the way you interact with and respond to others. If you understood how someone likes to communicate, listen, manage and be managed, and you communicated and managed them in a style that they liked – would they be more receptive? Would they be more apt to listen to what you had to say?

Suppose for a moment that we are born a certain style – a certain way of behaving. And suppose for a moment that that style dictates the way we communicate, listen, and interact with others. And suppose there were four distinct styles of behaving and that, generally speaking, we “fit” into one of those four styles. If that were true, would there be any value in understanding your style and the styles of the people we work with?

Can you change  your behaviour to get a different result? (Can you create new habits? Stop doing one thing and start doing another. And the more you do it the more it becomes you.) Simply put can you act in a way that is going to get you what you want? I’m a behaviorist by training, which is a fancy way of saying that I study and watch people for a living. I use an assessment tool called DISC which identifies your style. Once I have identified your style, I work with you to teach you how to communicate and interact more effectively with someone who has a different style then you. Each of the four styles the DISC tool identifies has its own strengths and limitations.

Dominant personalities are task-focused and prefer to lead the group, but may come across as unapproachable. They can be seen as insensitive to others and show impatience at times. They are often referred to as A-type personalities.

Interactive/Interpersonal personalities are great communicators and they love being around people, but they may appear superficial in their approach to others. They can appear to be disorganized and to lack follow-through.

Steadiness personalities are great listeners and are very loyal, but can appear to be indecisive when making a decision, for fear of upsetting others. They have a tendency to outwardly agree with you, even when they don’t, and resist change, preferring to maintain the status quo.

Conscientious personalities are our very best planners. However, they can be overly concerned with perfection. They appear to act aloof and prefer to work alone. They tend to stifle other’s creativity by sticking to the rules: their rules and their plans.

I believe there isn’t one style that’s better suited to managing people then any other style. A strength overused, or used in the wrong situation, can become a weakness. The secret to great managing is to change your management style, depending on the person you are working with. Your job as a manager is to teach your people what they need to know. One management style does not fit all. Remember: There are no dumb students, only dumb teachers who refuse to use every tool available to them to ensure that their students have learned.