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Everything Would Be Great If ...

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When working with others we often think ''if only'' thoughts. Everything would be great if only... people were like me. If we got our wish, though, we would not be happy.

If all people were like us, we would not have the diverse skills we need to accomplish great things. We would be bored and stuck in a rut of sameness. Variety can increase quality and effectiveness if we are able to remove the blocks that prevent effective communication.

One fundamental communication block is the personal expectations we carry into our work interactions. For example, if you approach me focusing on competition, and I am focusing on team cooperation, we are going to clash. The more you push for a win-lose competition, and the more I try to work cooperatively, the worse it gets. We butt heads because we have different expectations!

Individual expectations are driven by our preferred styles of behaving and interacting in the work environment. These personal styles drive what we want, how we approach others, and what we expect as we work together. There are four basic styles: Doers, Engagers, Facilitators, and Analyzers. A Doer wants to get quick results. An Engager loves the energy of being with people. A Facilitator seeks a cooperative team. An Analyzer focuses on doing it right. All people reflect some mixture of the four styles. People can be Doer-Engagers, Analyzer-Facilitators, or any combination of the four.

As you might imagine Doers, Engagers, Facilitators, and Analyzers approach the same situation very differently. These approaches can conflict and make sparks fly. If we don't adapt to the different styles, we will be stuck in aggravation and conflict.

Great communicators forget the "if only" and move straight to overcoming communication blocks. The first step is to become more personally adaptable. Adaptability starts with insight and knowledge. First, discover what is driving you. Second, uncover what is driving others. Once you understand your own expectations and seek to understand the expectations of others, you can adapt to become more effective. To paraphrase a great proverb, you can't begin to remove the splinter in your colleague's eye until you understand the plank that is in your own. For more information on the impact of personal styles and finding the styles that drive you, contact Barbara A. Kay at

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 removes  communication  environments  expectations  cooperation  combination  findings

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