Issue No. 262 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting highlights a new tool for relating to the four distinct social styles on your team: Thinkers, Tellers, Touchers and Talkers. And don’t miss the link in this issue to the six short humorous videos detailing how all four styles celebrate Christmas. Plus, this reminder: check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
The Ready-Aim-Aim-Aim-Aim Syndrome
If you’re a long-time reader, you know I embrace “The 3 Powerful S’s” because to ignore the synergistic impact of Strengths, Spiritual Gifts and Social Styles is to ignore the amazing creativity and uniqueness of the people we live with, work with, worship with, and yes, cringe with.
So when a new quick-reading tool on social styles appears, I’m all over it. Written in the popular novelette/story format, this week’s tool (just 143 pages) can be read in about 90 minutes.
Forget the 16 grids and confusing letter combinations of Myers-Briggs (ENTJ, INTJ, etc.). Skip the four animals system (“I can’t remember—am I a collie, a muskrat or a hippo?”) Don’t waste time on the personality color systems, unless everyone in your circle is a color zealot (and they’re not).
If you want to effectively relate to people, literally in an instant, then order 7 Seconds to Success. It’s a fast read and co-authors Bob Phillips and Gary Coffey have a new, easy-to-remember slant:
• Analyticals are Thinkers
• Amiables are Touchers
• Drivers are Tellers
• Expressives are Talkers
The Four T’s are descriptive and memorable and the story builds the case for understanding these styles—and why it’s so important that you do. (Heads up all spouses, leaders, pastors, account reps, fundraisers, teachers, trainers, volunteer coordinators, CEOs, managers—and those who must “manage” their managers.)
The authors remind us that there are three key factors in effective communication:
• Content (7%)
• Tone of Voice (38%)
• Nonverbal Behavior (55%)
“It’s easy to get into sloppy habits when it comes to dealing with customers, clients and prospects. We need to become more alert in reading the people we meet. Lord Chesterfield said, ‘Look in the face of the person to whom you are speaking if you wish to know his real sentiments, for he can command his words more easily than his countenance.”
And this zinger: “When it comes to our own behavior, we judge ourselves by our motivations. When it comes to other people’s behavior, we judge them by their actions and words.”
You can recognize styles—in an instant—by observing pace and priority. Two pairs have the same priority:
• Thinkers and Tellers focus on tasks.
• Touchers and Talkers focus on relationships.
Two pairs have the same pace:
• Thinkers and Touchers tend to be slower-paced.
• Tellers and Talkers tend to be faster-paced.
Where’s the conflict? Yikes! Two pairs have nothing in common:
• Thinkers and Talkers: huge potential for conflict!
• Touchers and Tellers: neither pace nor priority in common.
Can you really read a person’s style—and make them comfortable—in just seven seconds? Yes. I’ve been a student of social styles for more than 30 years—and the authors are correct. You can relate to people in an instant, and by doing so, you’ll advance the relationship by leveraging (not manipulating) a person’s style.
If you’re in the already-convinced circle of social style evangelists, you’ll still benefit with one more tool. I’ve counted at least a dozen more insights (and PowerPoint slides) I’ve gleaned from just one quick read:
Advice for Thinkers: “Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality of a good leader.” Don’t fall victim to what T. Boone Pickens calls, the “ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome. You must be willing to fire.”
Who are the Talkers? Bob Hope, Jay Leno, Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, Donald Duck, and the apostle Peter. “If a Talker’s house was on fire, he would say, ‘Since the house is on fire, let’s warm ourselves.’ They’re very charismatic, friendly and enthusiastic.”
What annoys Tellers? Boredom, details, excuses, indecisiveness, small talk, and taking orders. (The book has the master list of annoyances for all four styles.)
What do Touchers value? Approval, coaching, comfort, compassion, friendliness, kindness, loyalty and peacefulness. (Each style has a very distinct list of what they value.)
I’ve reviewed other social styles books previously, including two by prolific writer Bob Phillips (11 million books in print). If you’re new to social styles, start with this latest one. To order, click the Amazon graphic below for for 7 Seconds to Success: How to Effectively Relate to People in an Instant, by Gary Coffey and Bob Phillips.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) The authors say you can relate to the four social styles by remembering the 4 P’s. “With Thinkers, be precise. With Tellers, be practical, With Touchers, be personal. With Talkers, be positive.” List three people you work with (including your boss or board chair) and identify their style—and how, by being versatile with your style, you will bless them and make them more effective.
2) Tracom Group, “the creator of Social Style®,” features the “Social Style Tip of the Day” on their website. For your staff Christmas gathering this month, select one of the six short videos showing how each Style might behave during the holiday season. Then ask, “Which style makes the best party planner—and why?”
Meetings for the 4 Social Styles - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas in Chapter 20 (The Meeting Bucket) in my book, Mastering the Management Buckets, is to plan meetings with all four social styles in mind:
Drivers (Tellers) prefer shorter, get-to-the-point meetings. Give each Driver a crystal clear “To-Do” at the end of each meeting.
Amiables (Touchers) are disappointed when meetings ignore relational issues—and there is no time to get better acquainted with the people next to them.
Expressives (Talkers) are motivated in meetings when there is a focus on the future—and there’s fun, humor and EXCITING topics!
Analyticals (Thinkers) appreciate advance agendas, information, time to reflect, and a well-organized meeting process.
When you plan a meeting solely around your own style, you’ll disappoint and alienate 75 percent of your participants. Instead, become a student of the people in your room and engage all four styles. Good luck at your next meeting!
Read Chapter 7 (The People Bucket) and Chapter 20 (The Meetings Bucket) for more details and check out the resources on the Meetings Bucket webpage, including Resource #20.4, “My Annual Professional Development Plan (PDP)” template.
P.S. If you serve on a board, or chair a board, think about the social styles during board meetings. For more governance ideas and resources, visit my weekly blog postings for ECFA.