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spike bullet June 1998 - Management Working Styles

Linking personality with management styles
Learning modalities
The Johari Window

Linking Personality with Management Style

Several of our newsletter topics have discussed the relationships between a person's personality and their management style. The topics from October and November 1996 continue to draw the most readers. For this month's topic, we'd like to expand upon some of the earlier information.

In our Nov. 1996 newsletter, we talked about 3 types of people: people-oriented, things-oriented and idea-oriented. We expand on that in this newsletter.

People­oriented people tend to have more team-oriented management styles.
People-oriented people are most comfortable when they are teaching, coaching, helping, communicating, advising, persuading, motivating, entertaining, guiding, leading, selling, inspiring.

Things-oriented people tend to have more process-oriented management styles.
Things-oriented people are most comfortable with physical dexterity, building, constructing, modeling, remodeling, growing plants, manufacturing, refinishing, restoring, working with tools or instruments.

Idea-oriented people tend to have more innovation-oriented management styles.
Idea-oriented people are most comfortable working with ideas, information and data in activities such as: compiling, researching, computing, accounting, working with statistics, computer programming, drawing, painting, problem solving, analyzing, classifying, keeping records, evaluating, appraising, planning, imagining, inventing, creating, gathering information through observation.

Managers tend to be most comfortable when they are surrounded by people they understand. This usually means they appreciate people more like themselves. So if a people-oriented person works for an idea-oriented person, they may both have to stretch themselves in order to have a compatible and highly productive working relationship. The people-oriented person may have to produce more reports, charts or graphics, supply more information or spend more time explaining the "how" and "why" of what they are doing.

A practical exercise: Pay attention to how you work best (with people, things or ideas). Compare that to your boss and to the people who work for you. You might find value in making a chart of where different people work best or spend time discussing the topic with those you feel most comfortable with. Learning to appreciate our own talents and the talents of others goes a long way toward creating better teams and avoiding the frustration of working someone who sees the world differently.

Learning Modalities

Learning modalities describe the way people take in information. Usually someone has a primary preference for receiving information: verbal, visual or kinesthetic (feeling).

For the Verbal preference, look for some of these clues:

  • listen attentively when you talk; may seem to stare at your mouth
  • listen to tapes, enjoy music, concerts
  • like talking on the phone
  • eyes move down and to your right when they are listening to you (may seem to be listening to something inside themselves rather than you)
  • sensitive to sounds and general noise
  • likes harmony and balance in all things and relationships
  • often has a messy desk but knows where everything is
  • talks to themselves in their head
  • uses words related to sounds - That sounds like him, Tell me what you think, I don't like a lot of static

For the Visual preference, look for some of these clues:

  • like charts and graphs to understand information
  • like written reports more than verbal ones
  • eyes move up a lot when they're talking
  • like photography, reading, collections, art museums
  • sensitive to the way things look or appear
  • has a very clean desk
  • use words related to sights - I see what you mean, I can visualize that, I can picture that

For the Kinesthetic preference, look for some of these clues:

  • like to dress comfortably
  • like textures; touches things to get a sense of them
  • may touch people a lot, unconsciously
  • may be athletic, likes swimming, cooking, running, eating, sailing, dancing, working out, massages
  • like to talk about feelings - I prefer warm, comfortable situations, I can't seem to get a handle on this, I hate to hurt anyone, How do you feel about that

A practical exercise: As in the previous section, try to understand other people's learning styles. People who learn best from charts and visual information will respond better to your suggestions when you provide pictures and words. Those who respond best to verbal information, will listen to you more intently if you talk to them rather than show them pictures. Some of the most successful sales training courses and counseling courses use these learning modalities to teach people how to develop better rapport with others.

The Johari Window

The Johari Window is a technique for helping managers understand how well they work with others (employees, colleagues and their managers). A series of questions are asked in the questionnaire, then the answers are plotted on a grid to show four regions (or quadrants).

The size of each quadrant illustrates the Exposure process (the open and candid expression of one's feelings, knowledge, etc.) with the Feedback process (active solicitation of information from others). The final chart may look something like the graphic below.

Sample - balanced grids

Region I (Arena) is the portion of total inter-personal space devoted to mutual understanding and shared information. This is "known by self" and "known by others."

Region II (Blind Spot) is the portion of total inter-personal space which holds information "known by others" but "unknown by self."

Region III (Facade) is the portion of total inter-personal space inhibiting inter-personal effectiveness "known by self" but "unknown by others."

Region IV (Unknown) is the portion of total inter-personal space devoted to material not know by either party "unknown by self" and "unknown by others."

The value of using personality information

Through the use of various types of personality information and the desire to learn about oneself, good managers can further develop their own skills and abilities. Since each person has a unique personality, there are a vast array of tools, questionnaires, testing techniques and learning methods available. If one method does not "feel right" or seem to fit your style, keep searching until you find those that work for you. Many people try a variety of methods and take a little bit from each to fit their needs at the time.

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