Managing Your Boss and Living to Tell About It 2

images (36)The key to managing your boss is to manage them in a style they like. One thing you need to know for certain is you are not going to change them. They’ve been successful managing a certain way so why would they want to do it any differently? If you want to learn how to manage your boss and live to tell about it then you must change your style to be more in tune with theirs. Everyone has a natural style of behaving. A natural way of communicating and interacting with others. Everyone likes to manage and be managed a certain way. Learn to mirror their behavior.

Different strokes for different folks. I believe we are born one of four styles of behaving. (Dominate, Interactive, Steadiness and Conscientious. The theory of DISC was developed by Dr. William Marston.) Take time to discover your bosses style and then communicate and interact with them that way.

D Style: (Dominant) They walk fast, talk fast and do everything fast. Make communication brief and to the point. Don’t muddy the water by using graphs, charts and volumes of data. Respect their need for autonomy. Be prepared for blunt, demanding approaches. They lack empathy and are uncomfortable with social interaction so they see no need for idle chit-chat.

I Style: (Interactive / Interpersonal) Don’t be in a hurry. They prefer a relaxed and social environment. Let them verbalize their thoughts and feelings. They are great communicators so be prepared for someone who will attempt to persuade and influence others. Provide them with the information they’ll need to make the right decisions. They like being the center of attention.

S Style: (Steadiness) Be logical and systematic in your approach. They have a natural resistance to change. They prefer to know how things will be done ahead of time – preferably in writing. They have a difficult time identifying priorities and meeting deadlines. Teach them how to say no nicely because they usually say yes to everything. They are the ultimate team player never wanting to let anyone down.

C Style: (Conscientious) They value high standards – they strive to be perfect. Be prepared – know what you know. They have very little patience for vague generalizations. Chances are they will double-check your work so let them know what you don’t know but assure them that you’ll go and find out. Don’t make stuff up. They are all about detail. They love pie charts and graphs.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Looking for a keynote speaker or workshop facilitator? Give Brian a call. He’ll work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. Visit

Team Work Sucks! – In Defence of Introverts Everywhere 8

Gen Y 2I`ll try not to be too cynical here – but give me a break. Do teams really work? I know dolphins do it, whales do it, and even orcas, lions, and wolves do it too but, do we really accomplish more working in teams? I know teams and team work makes for a great sound bite. But in the real world – your world – does it really make that much of a difference? Research conducted by Susan Cain and published in her New York Times – best-selling book “Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” paints a different picture. According to her research not everyone performs up to their full potential in a group setting. I know in a perfect world together everyone achieves more but after reading her book you may change your mind.

Worth Remembering … ” A strength over – used or used in the wrong situation, can become a weakness” – Unknown 

Generally speaking extroverts tend to be assertive, dominate, direct and decisive. They make quick decisions when others on the team cannot. They will confront tough issues or situations, accept change as a personal challenge and keep the team focused on the task at hand. Extroverts work well in a team environment as long as they are in a position to influence the direction the team is headed. They like to be in charge and lead the charge. They may come across to others as being unapproachable and insensitive to the needs of team members. (It’s their way or no way)  However, in a team environment their very vocal – in your face  – out-going and gregarious personality could stifle creativity. Listening to a difference of opinion is not their strong suit. They are comfortable with conflict.

On the other hand introverts – according to Carl Jung – are drawn to the inner world of thought and feeling. They tend to listen more than they talk, think before they speak and work more slowly and deliberately – tackling one problem at a time. Other team members may see limitations because they act aloof , appear to be shy and prefer to work alone. They dislike conflict and would rather sit quietly in a corner – not offering an opinion for fear of making waves and getting noticed. They prefer to maintain status-quo and fly under the radar. They need a quiet space  to contemplate and reflect. They aren’t comfortable making quick decisions. They make decisions based on fact not emotion. The course of action taken must be logical and correct as they see it.

Worth Remembering …  “The task of an executive is not to change human beings. The task is to multiply performance capacity of the whole by putting to use whatever strength, whatever health, whatever aspiration there is in individuals” – Peter F. Drucker. 

The tide may be turning. Team work and working in teams may not be all it’s been cracked up to be. Recent studies suggest that the open office concept made popular in the late 90’s and early 20’s is reverting back to the cubicle. Studies conducted by the likes of Marvin Dunnette, Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister have shown that performance gets worse as group sizes increase. (Too many cooks spoil the broth) The “evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups. If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is of the highest priority” says the organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham.

Can extroverts and introverts work together on the same team and accomplish more? That will depend on the team leader – a team leader who understands the strengths of everyone on the team and gives everyone the opportunity to do what they do well. You can’t put a group of people together, call them a team and expect them to perform without teaching them what it means to be part of a team and how to be a good team player.

Copyright (C) 2013. Brian Smith – May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission.

Put People in Positions Where They Will Be Successful 2

If you were a tree what kind of tree would you be? If you were a colour, do you think you would be red, blue, yellow, or green? What would you think if your Interviewer asked you to draw a pig? Believe it or not, these are the kinds of questions you might get asked during your job interview. Don’t panic; Interviewers aren’t looking to have you committed. They are, however, looking to gain some valuable insight to your attitude, behaviour, and potential in the workplace. Weird science? Perhaps. But today’s behavioural assessment tools are becoming more and more prevalent as companies look for ways to hedge their bets against the high costs associated with hiring the wrong person.

Worth Remembering …

“Whatever the circumstances of your life, the understanding of type can make your perceptions clearer, your judgements sounder, and your life closer to your hearts desire.” –  Isabel Briggs Myers

Behavioural assessments are not new. Personality research dates back to Hippocrates in 400 BC. Hippocrates believed that we each have our own natural, perfect, unchangeable personality style. He believed that while we each have the same factors comprising our personalities, four distinct styles of behaviour emerge. It’s interesting to note that no matter what assessment tool you use – Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Colours or DISC – they all agree that there are four distinct styles of behaviour and that each style reacts to  the same situation differently. And generally speaking we “Fit” into one of the four styles.

Each of the four styles has their own strenghts and limitations; and there really isn’t one style that’s better than any other. It is clear, however, that some styles are better suited for some roles, tasks, or careers. Yes, it’s true that we all have the ability to modify our behaviour to get a different result, but we all have one style that feels most comfortable to us and we use that one style most of the time, regardless of the circumstance. Keep in mind that a strength overused or used in the wrong situation can be a weakness.

Worth Remembering …

“Effective executives fill positions and promote on the basis of what a person can do. They do not make decisions to minimize weaknesses but to maximize strengths.” – Peter F. Drucker 

I use an assessment tool in all of my coaching engagements and workshops based on the DISC theory first introduced by Dr. William Marston in his epic book, Emotions of Normal People published in 1928. In the mid 1950’s, William Clark further developed the Marston theory. He utilized the simple matrix entitled DISC and identified the factors that comprise each of the four styles. I use the tool to help identify the style of the person I am working with – their strengths and their limitations. And it provides my client with a universal language that is easy for them to understand. (They already know what they do well and what they don’t do well – but now at least they have a name for it and a reason behind why they do what they do)

We are who we are – but it doesn’t have to dictate where we end up. We are adults and we can learn new habits. Just stop doing one thing and start doing another. And the more that we do it – the more it becomes us. I believe the key to performance improvement is by understanding ourselves well – and by studying the behaviours of others. Managers spend way too much time trying to change people. What they should be doing is spending the time to find out what their people do well – and then put them in positions where they will be able to play to their strengths.

These are the four  distinct styles of behaviour associated with DISC Theory. Recognize anyone you know? Which one sounds most like you?

D – Dominant Style, Direct and Decisive: These types of people make quick decisions when others cannot; they will confront tough issues or situations, accept change as a personal challenge, and will keep the team focused on task. (In the olden days we called this style the typical “A” Type personality. (I’ll let you figure out what the “A” meant.) Others may see limitations because they may come across as unapproachable. They can be insensitive to others needs. Patience is not your strong suit. D Style persons naturally want to take control. They have a lot of qualities that we like to see in our managers.

I – Interactive/Interpersonal Style, Optimistic and Outgoing: These people like to make themselves available to others; they spread their enthusiasm and positive attitude to others and will give positive feedback to their colleagues and teammates. They are great communicators and have an innate ability to build collaborative teams. Others may see limitations because they can appear to be disorganized. They love being around people so they find it difficult to work alone. They’d rather be liked then to be respected. I Style persons make great sales people – social convenours or teachers.

S – Steadiness Style, Sympathetic and  Cooperative: These types are team players; they are sensitive to other’s needs, approach meeting agendas methodically, and are great listeners. They are very loyal, show up to work on time, and maintain the status quo. They prefer to be non-confrontational. Others may see limitations because they can be indecisive – they find it difficult to make quick decissions for fear of making waves. They have a tendancy to resist change for fear of failing. S Style persons work best in a structured environment where processes have been defined and people are expected to follow procedure.

C – Conscientious Style, Concerned and Correct: These types of people like things done the right way as they see it. They are very thorough and will maintain standards; (as long as they where the ones who developed the standard). They emphasize accuracy and will try to use some diplomacy to get their way. C’s are our very best planners. Others may see limitations because they can be overly concerned with perfection. They prefer to work alone. C Style persons make great accountants, lawyers or project managers.

Worth Remembering …

“Everyone has peak performance potential. You just need to know where they are coming from and meet them there.” – Ken Blanchard.