The essence of succeeding with others lies in making a deliberate choice not to behave the way we feel, but to instead behave in the way that will secure desired results.
By Francie Dalton, CMC, founder and president of Dalton Alliances, Inc.
Behavior is the single most divisive force in the American workplace. The power of versatility resides within each of us, and it can help us get the results we need from others even when they are at their worst.
Behavioral versatility is a powerful tool. When another's behavior is most repugnant, we often fail to stay focused on the benefits of responding with emotional maturity. At those times, we need explicit, simple tips that will work even when our patience is being sorely tried--which for many of us is frequently. Versatility equips you to be successful at those very moments.
Employers must look beyond the current recession, and recognize that versatility will be an effective retention tool in the near future. Whether you believe it or not, high salaries and interesting work won't be enough to retain employees. You can ignore the need for interpersonal versatility until the marketplace makes indisputably clear that it distinguishes employers of choice, or you can act now to develop it, ensuring that your organization has set the retention standard in your industry.
As for employees, they have more control over the outcomes of their interactions than they may be willing to acknolwedge. If your career isn't where you want it to be, at least one of the causal factors is the way you are packaging your messages.
The essence of succeeding with others lies in making a deliberate choice not to behave the way we feel, but to instead behave in the way that will secure desired results. Here are 10 guiding principles that may help.
Realize you can't change others. Instead, learn to adapt your own style so the other person actually wants to play nice in the sandbox.
Understanding isn't synonymous with agreement; it's a tactic in the negotiation of agreements.Packaging your messages to resonate with various individuals is a skill you can learn. Doing so eases and accelerates interpersonal success--which eases and accelerates everything.
Behavior is a method--not an outcome. Discerning the desired outcome of others' behavior is crucial to successfully navigating difficult interactions.
Imputing ill intent exacerbates tension. Believing the worst of another's intentions can be incendiary and serves no constructive purpose. Persisting in this practice calls into question your own intentions.
Consider the flip side: People naturally tend to see as justifiable the behaviors they esteem, and to see as not justifiable the behaviors they don't esteem. Instead, look for the strength that underlies what you perceive to be another's weakness.
It's not about how you feel. Model behavior that demonstrates the ability to subordinate what feels good to the acquisition of desired results.
One size does NOT fit all. Your style of behavior is just as unlikely to suit everyone as it is that your shoe size will fit everyone. Having sufficient versatility to quickly tailor your style of interaction to each individual is the secret to interpersonal success.
Focus on the four Ps: Pay attention to others' behavior so you can identify Patterns. This enables you to Predict their behavior, so you can better Package your messages to resonate with them.
Alignment Confinement. Commit to deploying yourself within contexts that showcase your competencies and de-emphasize your weaknesses. For example, what are you doing when your strengths are shining? In what industries, functions, or jobs are your strengths needed? What life or business pursuits are your strengths ideally suited to expand or enhance? How can you help others do this? And, by the way, what are you waiting for?
Having personal versatility helps you gain exceptional visibility-–because so few people have it. Not only will you increase the ease with which you succeed, you'll also increase the frequency with which you emerge as flameproof--or just a little singed--even from inflammatory interactions.
Francie Dalton, CMC, is founder and president of Dalton Alliances, Inc., a Washington, D.C., based consultancy specializing in the communication, management, and behavioral sciences. Her new book, "Versatility: How to Optimize Interactions when 7 Workplace Behaviors are at Their Worst," and more information about her offerings can be found at www.daltonalliances.com. Discover your template of styles by taking the test at http://www.daltonalliances.com/takethetest.asp