How We Think and the Workplace
By Katie Day
Everyone has a natural, default communication style that regulates their view of the world and everyone in it. This affects how we deal with learning new tasks, our team player ability, our individual leadership styles, what we find stressful or stress free, how we receive and give messages, how we filter the information we hear and decide what to pass on to other people.
It is not about operating from just one quarter of your brain—we are, obviously, our whole brain. It is simply that one quarter is likely to be your most preferred style of operating, with the other three quarters making up the backing group. This is truly individual for each of us and really fascinating once you start to dig deeper in what makes you and everyone else “tick.”
The brain is divided into left and right, top and bottom. So the four potential quarters of the brain are as follows:
- Top left
- Top right
- Bottom left
- Bottom right
Each quarter will have a dominating personality, style which then is complemented by the other three.
To be a good manager of people or business owner, it is imperative that you not only know where you are on this scale, but also where your team or clients are. Let’s look at the characteristics of each quarter in more detail.
People with this as their dominant quarter are likely to be great visionaries and global thinkers. They are likely to be an expert in their chosen field, and like to work with other experts. They probably will “test” other people and their knowledge. They love to know how things work, they are great at taking things apart and putting them back together again, having figured out the mechanics and fine detail. Their favorite question is “Why?” In fact, they question a lot, always searching for information and increased knowledge.
Their greatest challenges are to be “people focused,” to listen to the stories of others (and be interested!), to be spontaneous, to take risks, and to be outwardly social.
Tips for working with them:
- Get to the point!
- Talk in bullet points, not paragraphs, and particularly not novels.
- Do your research before presenting an idea. They will test your knowledge, and you will lose their respect if it’s clear you don’t know what you’re talking about.
- Give them their space and don’t invade it unless invited to do so.
- Don’t expect quick answers to your questions—they need time to process.
People with this as their most preferred style will be organized in every area of their life. They know exactly where everything is, how much is in their bank account at any given moment; they are the “belt and braces” people of the world. Nothing is left to chance and preparation is key.
Similar to the top left style, these people will not naturally seek the limelight, preferring to stay in the background and get things done. They may well be seen as the foundations of a company or team, creating the solid base on which others can operate.
Their greatest challenges are to be spontaneous, to go with the flow, take a few risks, relinquish control—of themselves and other people—and permit mistakes, again, of themselves and other people.
Tips for working with them:
- Avoid too much frivolity at work and pointless conversations when in their company.
- Always make sure you are fully prepared if you have a meeting with them.
- Work to very clear deadlines—when giving them tasks and when completing tasks for them.
- Never run a meeting without an agenda—and make sure you stick to it
People with this as their dominant quarter are similar to top left people; great visionaries and global thinkers, they just come at it from a different standpoint. These people are the risk-takers, they push the boundaries—for themselves and for the companies they run or work for. They are wonderful trouble shooters, loving a challenge they can get sink their into, finding a new and unique way to overcome the issue. They are definitely “glass half full” people. Rarely letting doubt enter their vocabulary or thought processes, they believe there is always a way.
Their greatest challenge is to slow down! To listen to other people and not assume they know everything. To honor stability and respect rules. To practice patience and to understand the need for detail, and not try to fast-forward everything in their life to the end result.
Tips for working with them:
- Allow them to express their creativity.
- Give them short deadlines; they work much better under pressure.
- If there’s a problem, give it to them, they love to trouble shoot. and they come into their own when doing so.
- Allow them a voice—these are the best people to give presentations, talk in public, do the networking and build the contacts.
People with this as their dominant quarter and the real “people people.” They love being around people, are intuitive, and can walk into a room and immediately know who isn’t feeling happy. They are natural communicators and nurturers, caring hugely how everyone else is feeling. They are more likely than anyone else to put other people first and themselves second. They love harmony and are not naturally good with conflict. They may get hurt easily and have a tendency to sulk.
These are the leaders who will create a strong bond and firmly established loyalty within others. If you have this person leading a company, when times get tough, everyone is far more likely to pull together and work to get through the rough patch because they won’t want to let their leader down. A company led by these people will operate like a “family” far more than a hierarchical, dominant, and distant establishment.
Their greatest challenges are not to talk about their private lives too much. To understand boundaries and not abuse them. To keep their language succinct and to the point, avoiding rambling conversations. To resist the urge to “rescue” people.
Tips for working with them:
- Validation is important for this group; they really do need to know that they are doing a good job, so take the time to tell them.
- Be sympathetic that they wear their hearts on their sleeve and don’t slap them down verbally, and never in the presence of others.
- If you are led by someone like this, don’t underestimate them and try and be “clever.” They are powerful leaders; respect their personality and learn from it. These people represent the leaders of the future—caring, empowering, holistic, nurturing, communicative, and inspiring.
Diversity of character is crucial to the strength and survival of any group of people of whatever size. No one is right or wrong; they simply “are.” We are all a mixture of all four quarters, just in a different percentage. If we disrespect someone else’s character, we are actually disrespecting ourselves on some level. If we honor and celebrate someone else’s character, we are honoring and celebrating ourselves.
How the Above Is Applied Within the Business Environment
This knowledge of the brain is translated in business terms as Personality Profiling. There are many different tools out there. Even though they have different names and use a variety of words to describe the four quarters, they are essentially coming up with the same result.
Companies use these tools for a number of reasons:
- Recruitment and a person’s suitability to a role and a particular environment
- Communication skills
- Customer service—understanding your customers and how they want to be treated is vital for any company of whatever size
- Front-line/service staff (for the above reasons)
- Dealing with conflict in a team or business relationship, how to deal with your boss and how to deal with your team
- Personal career development—being aware of your natural strengths and where your potential challenges may lie
- Particularly useful for people running their own companies when you have to be everything to everyone at the beginning
The Impact for You in the Workplace
A good manager of people or entrepreneur will have a clear knowledge of their natural strengths and areas of potential challenge. This demonstrates proactive business skill, someone who takes ownership and responsibility for their own growth and learning.
If you are not aware of whom you are, you run the risk of the following:
- Not being aware of your limitations
- Not knowing what, and to whom, to delegate
- Not knowing who you need to grow underneath you
- Not knowing what may stop you in your tracks and allow you to lose confidence in your abilities
If you do not take the time to know your team and your colleagues, or your clients, how are you going to grow them and empower them to be the best they can be? How are you going to delegate the right task to the right person and light them up, rather than close them down? Do you carry out all appraisals, development plans, and one-to-one meetings in exactly the same way with everyone? Do they all go as successfully as each other? If not, have you ever wondered why? People are not the same and cannot be treated or managed as such. The power is in diversity and individuality—recognize that, and celebrate that, and you will become charismatic and a magnet for excellence.
If you can balance yourself and honor every aspect of who you are and how you operate in the world, it makes it so much easier to celebrate others; you are easier to be around, people will naturally want to work harder for you, and, ultimately, you create success on a much broader scale.
Excerpt from Chapter 9 of “The High-Heeled Leader: Embrace Your Feminine Power in Life and Work”by Katie Day.
Katie Day is a speaker and consultant who leads self-development programs on confidence, assertiveness, self-belief, and other topics important to women around the world. She is a trainer and business coach, as well as a personal style consultant. She lives in St. Leonards-on-Sea in England. She is a member of The Association of Style and Image Professionals, as well as Cambridge Who’s Who. Day recently released her first book, “The High-Heeled Leader: Embrace Your Feminine Power in Life and Work.” For more information, visit www.katieday.com