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The Behavioral Styles Model

Which Are You

WHICH ARE YOU? Dreamer, Supporter, Thinker or Commander

By Paul A. Douglas, Ph.D, founder & CEO, P.A. Douglas & Associates Inc.

The Behavioral Styles Model is both a very simple tool, describing four basic styles, as well as a fairly complex tool, allowing for the fact that no two people are exactly the same. And herein lies one of its main differentiators from many of the other more common personality profiling tools. Not only will you fall generally within one particular behavioral style, but the model also accepts that you may display different behavioral responses in your various relationships.

Our unique behavioral style is determined by our unique combination of assertiveness and expressiveness or emotional responsiveness.

The Dreamer

There are some people who are highly assertive, but who also demonstrate hight levels of emotional responsiveness or expressiveness. These individuals like to work with and around other people. I have chosen the name Dreamer to describe this combination of high assertiveness and high expressiveness.

Dreamers are outgoing, fun loving, individuals. The life of the party. They have the “gift of the gab,” the ability to speak with anyone about anything. Their ability to put people at ease draws others in, encouraging them to communicate. Another facility Dreamers have is their ability to lead others to higher levels of motivation. They can be perceived as coming on too strong, monopolizing the conversation, or being too brash. The greatest single feature of their personality is their enthusiasm, which is contagious.

The Characteristics of the Dreamer:

  • Spontaneous and impulsive
  • Outgoing and fun-loving
  • Enthusiastic
  • Generalizes, not detail-oriented
  • Exaggerates
  • Seeks involvement
  • Dislikes being alone
  • Works quickly
  • Anecdotal
  • Seeks self-esteem and a sense of belonging

The Supporter

The Supporter is more cooperative than the Dreamer. Dreamers need recognition; they want others to recognize their status and uniqueness. Supporters, on the other hand, do not have this kind of ego involvement and therefore tend to demonstrate higher levels of cooperation.

Characteristics of the Supporter:

  • Cooperative
  • Slow in action and decisions
  • Dislikes and avoids Conflict
  • Seeks close personal relationships
  • Patient, diplomatic, loyal, and dependable
  • Good listeners
  • Highly supportive of others
  • Weak at goal-setting and self-direction
  • Seeks security and a sense of belonging

The Thinker

Thinkers are cautious in both actions and decisions. They have to know the rules of the game before they are willing to play. Not only do they seek organization and structure, they demand it!

Thinkers are fact-oriented and ask a lot of questions. They require a great deal of data before they feel comfortable moving forward. They are logical and systematic people. When they do a job, they do it right, utilizing the scientific method. They determine and establish all the alternatives, evaluate each of those, and then choose the most critical path to attaining the optimal solution.

Characteristics of the Thinker:

  • Cautious in Actions and Decisions
  • Seeks Organization and Structure
  • Logical and Systematic
  • Dislikes Involvement with People
  • Prefers Objective, Task-Oriented Work
  • Fact-Oriented Questioning

The Commander

The final behavioral style is that of the Commander. Commanders are highly assertive and non-expressive. They are strong and independent individuals, firm in actions and decisions. When they set a goal, it is hard to dissuade them from its accomplishment. They not only seek control, but demand it.

Characteristics of the Commander:

  • Strong and Independent
  • Firm in Actions and Decisions
  • Seeks Control
  • Pragmatic and Efficient
  • Low Tolerance for the Feelings of Others
  • Works Quickly, Decisively, and Impressively – ALONE
  • Seeks Self-Esteem and Self-Realization

© Copyright, 2018 College of Administrative Professionals. All rights reserved

The Brilliant Administrative Professional

Brillant

 

Max Weber, the great German Sociologist, indicated that in large rational organization the most critical element determining an individual’s ultimate success and promotability is their direct superior’s opinion of them. In today’s organizations, there is no relationship where this is truer than that of the manager and administrative professional.

That being said, what then are the skills or abilities that an administrative professional must bring to the table for their boss to proclaim that they are brilliant? From my more than forty years of dialogue and discussion with high profile CEO’s, managers and administrative professionals I would counsel the following:

1. Be Pro-Active, Anticipate

Foresight and anticipation is important. The best administrative professionals don’t need to be told what to do, they anticipate the solution before the problem even becomes a problem. They discern what their boss needs before he or she does.

In our busy offices, it is hard enough to react and respond to events in a timely manner, let alone anticipate what the next challenges might be, but this is what will make you stand out. Your boss, who also operates in the same hectic environment understands and appreciates this quality. Avoiding a catastrophe is very important to your boss. Find the time to look for upcoming problems and consider how they can be solved prior to the crisis.

To thrive in the role of administrative professional, you need to recognize that you are playing chess, not checkers. In checkers, you wait for the other player to make a move. A good chess player is able to see ten moves ahead. Be sure to react upon your decisions and ask your manager for feedback on how you may improve your decision making. Your eagerness to improve will be recognized and appreciated and your stock will rise in the eyes of your boss. Being proactive in your endeavors will not only be noticed by management, you will also gain greater respect from the people under you.

2. Be a Collaborator

Collaborating with your manager can be one of the most challenging and satisfying aspects of your job. Exceptional administrative professionals view themselves as their boss’ partner. Creating a collaborative, successful partnership is only achieved purposefully, thoughtfully and with a great deal of good two-way communication. Your partnership should start with objectives. Not objectives you or your boss hope to accomplish, but the objectives of what you and your boss want to become.

It’s your job to find out what brings your boss into work in the morning. What drives him or her? Is it freedom, respect, power, control? Is it service? Making a difference? Is it to get on the next rung in the corporate ladder? Is it money? The bottom line? What else do they care about in life? What are your objectives? What do you want out of your specific position? Are you trying to acquire particular skills? Are you seeking a raise or promotion? Do you want your boss’s job? We are talking about objectives here, not values. Objectives are different from values. Values are strategic, objectives are tactical. Your objectives should support your values, and if you truly understand your boss’s objectives, you are much more likely to help your boss achieve them.

You may not feel that your boss’s goals are commendable, but they are nonetheless the key to partnering with your boss. For example, if your boss’s major objective is to move up the corporate ladder you will look and listen for opportunities that will let your boss shine or afford your boss greater exposure. But partnering is more than just making your boss look good. It’s about entering into a mutually beneficial relationship and it also requires that you see yourself as his or her equal. Here are a few suggestions that might help if you desire to create a high-performance collaboration or partnership with your boss:

  • Communicate, with one another. Not about the weekend or about meetings and upcoming appointments but engage in focused conversations about the ‘bigger picture,’ related to your boss’s responsibilities. Consider ways that you can be more involved in helping your manager achieve his or her goals.
  • Speak about your relationship as a team. Not you and me, but WE. Deliberate on your ‘game plan. Discuss ways to ‘up your game,’ to simplify work processes and improve quality.
  • Evaluate and examine your practices and procedures from time to time. Are they cutting edge or do they even meet the standard expected within your industry?
  • Offer your involvement and assistance with current challenges. Most managers will be appreciative and it will expand your skill-set.
  • Look for opportunities to shine a spotlight on your skills and talents. Your manager has big fish to fry and seldom has time to ponder.
  • Get involved in the right meetings. Strategically choose meetings that will increase your visibility or those where you can exhibit your knowledge and expertise that rises above and beyond what your organizational role and title might suggest.

3. Nurture Positive Relationships with Higher and Lower Levels of the Organization

It is important to understand that every single employee is an essential part of the organization; having positive relationships with them is critical to your success, both now and in the future. That second-tier manager in your firm’s manufacturing plant may be the next Vice-President of production. Go out of your way to develop as positive of a relationship as possible with those working under you, with you and above you. This will go a long way in helping others see your potential for leadership.

4. Go the Extra Mile

If there is one thing above all that shows a deep level of your commitment to them and the organization, it is going the extra mile. And I am not just speaking of working overtime, but demonstrating a sense of duty when it comes to resolving problems, avoiding crises, and following through on commitments that could easily be avoided. An indispensable administrative assistant is willing to learn to stay abreast of new technologies, procedures, and protocols. Things change in organizational life. That means when your boss is faced with a problem or issue where he or she lacks the knowledge or technical know-how to handle the problem, acquire that knowledge or know-how independently to help solve problems as a team.

In short, the brilliant administrative assistant is capable, confident, intelligent, flexible, reliable, and well organized. But having worked with over 100,000 administrative assistants out there over four decades, there are many out there! Follow the above steps and you will be well on your way to being a stand out, brilliant, administrative professional.

© Copyright 2018, College of Administrative Professionals All rights reserved

WHAT IS EMOTIONAL INTELLEGENCE?

Emotional Intelligence

And ... Why does your Success Depends on It

Clearly, organizations have changed and your role as an administrative professional within them has changed as well and news flash: it will continue to change!

The rulebook has indeed been rewritten. Success today 
is not solely determined by how smart you are, how 
much education you have, or even how well you can 
do the job from a purely technical perspective. Rather, research conducted throughout the eighties and the nineties and now into the first two decades of the new 
millennium has consistently shown that when people fail at work, they do so largely for one reason: they 
are unable to work effectively with other people.
 Whether you are a middle manager, an engineer, a
 lawyer or an administrative assistant, your success depends on your ability to work well with others. Regardless of your technical skills, if you don’t have THAT skill you will not realize your full potential!

This new measure of success is being used increasingly in recruitment, promotion and yes, even termination. Numerous studies confirm that it is not the most intellectually gifted people who obtain the greatest success, nor the most dedicated, honest, hardest-working individual that gets the brass ring. We see it in politics and in the world of sports and entertainment, and we see it in our own organizations. We witness skilled, bright, hard- working individuals struggling, while those with fewer skills thrive and advance, almost coasting to success, and we ask ourselves why?

The answer almost always comes down to this thing we now call “emotional intelligence,” and while it is more difficult to identify on a résumé than education or job experience, its importance can’t be denied. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is one of the most interesting and worthwhile concepts to be embraced by the business world in recent years.

It is based on the notion that the ability of individuals to understand their own emotions, as well as those of others, is essential to interpersonal and organizational success.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Attempts to define it are difficult, because it is somewhat intangible. It is not just interpersonal skills, rather it is more clearly drawn and bounded. Two of the founders of the EQ concept, John D. Mayer of the University of New Hampshire and Peter Salovey of Harvard define it as:

“The ability to recognize the meanings of emotion and their relationships, and to reason and problem-solve on the basis of them. Emotional intelligence is involved in the capacity to perceive emotions, assimilate emotion-related feelings, understand the information of those emotions, and manage them.”

 

The Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence

Your emotional intelligence is derived from four elements that are strongly interrelated. These four components are further divided into two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence.

Self-Awareness: Self-awareness is the ability to accurately perceive the emotions you are feeling as you are feeling them, why you are having them and what effect they might have on you.

In other words, it is recognizing the link that exists between your feelings and what you think, do, and say. Self-awareness involves more than a small degree of self-honesty, as it denotes an awareness of your strengths and weaknesses.

Daniel Golman, in many ways the father of the emotional intelligence movement, says that of all the competences, self-awareness is the key to increased personal and organizational performance.

What distinguishes great leaders from those who are just average is their level of emotional intelligence, according to Golman. His research has found that emotional intelligence proves twice as important as IQ and technical know-how. Self-awareness is the core emotional intelligence skill upon which all other emotional intelligence skills depend.

Self-Management: Self-management speaks to your ability to keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check. People with high self-management skills can stay composed and positive under pressure and stress. They tend to deal with issues objectively while keeping defensiveness at bay. Those with positive self-management skills exhibit high standards of honesty, reliability and integrity; they act ethically and build trust through their authenticity. They take responsibility for their individual actions and performance, and are willing to truthfully admit to their own mistakes and shortcomings.

Social Awareness: Social awareness is the ability to comprehend, understand and react to others’ emotions. Individuals with high social awareness are observant to emotional cues and tend to listen well. They demonstrate above average sensitivity as they seek to empathize with other people’s viewpoints and perspectives.

People with this competency focus on the needs of others and are usually good delegators. They acknowledge and reward other people’s strengths and accomplishments. They typically welcome others useful and practical feedback, pinpointing areas in which improvement may be needed in a nonthreatening manner.

People in tune with social awareness seek to understand the needs of team members and can lever diversity and possess a natural respect for people from disparate and varying backgrounds and are sensitive to group dynamics.

 

Social Skills: The second component of social competence is relationship management or Social Skills and represents an adeptness in managing relationships. It is contingent upon the skill level present in the other three components of emotional intelligence. Social Skills are a measure of your proficiency in managing relationships, building social networks and most important, in influencing the behavior of others to positive outcomes. It is the ability to find common ground and build trust and rapport.

The following are key indicators of this vital emotional intelligence skill:

  • Behavioral empathy and understanding
  • The ability to appeal to different behavioral styles
  • Effectiveness in managing change
  • Skills in influencing and persuading
  • The capacity to team-build
  • The ability to communicate clearly and effectively

Social skills speak to the ability to use your understanding of emotions (both yours and other people’s) to manage interpersonal relationships successfully.

Social skills are the essential component of leadership, the ability to inspire others and to arouse enthusiasm for a shared vision. Those who possess high relationship-management skills are able to manage conflict and agreement well. They are able to resolve disagreements through negotiation and compromise. They can handle different and difficult people with tact and diplomacy and can focus on the task at hand while at the same time being attentive to relationships. As advocates and catalysts for change, they recognize the necessity for change and work to remove barriers to its realization.

As an administrative professional, this is a topic that demands your attention. Unlike IQ, EQ is a dynamic skill and can be learned. Few skills that you will acquire in your life will bring you as much, both in your professional life and your personal life.

This is an an exert from: The New Rules for Administrative Professionals, Paul A. Douglas, Belfast Books, Seattle, 2015.

© Copyright, 2018 College of Administrative Professionals., All rights reserved |

Developing Your Emotional Intelligence

Developing Emotional Intelligence
By Paul A. Douglas, Ph.D. Founder & CEO, P.A. Douglas & Associates Inc.

Clearly the rules at work have changed and continue to change. Today you are judged by a different yardstick.

Success today is not solely determined by how smart you are or how much education you have, or even how well you can do the job from a purely technical perspective, but more and more you are being judged by how well you can work with other people.

This new measure of success is being used increasingly in recruitment, advancement, and even termination. We are of course talking about interpersonal skills. Not only must the outstanding administrative professional have excellent technical and business skills but he or she must also have excellent interpersonal skills.

It has certainly been my experience in working with over 100,000 administrative professionals over the past four decades, that that the most successful and respected APs score high on these ‘soft skills.’

These soft skills are those character traits and interpersonal skills. Character traits tend to be ingrained unlike occupational or hard skills, which are learned and honed over time. They are less what we know and more the core of who we are. While experience in similar positions may get you the interview, your ability to showcase these so skills should get you the job. I believe the following ‘so skills’ are essential for today’s working environment.

 

Superior Communication Skills

The ability to communicate effectively with superiors, colleagues, subordinates and clients is essential, no matter what industry you work in. The administrative professional interacts with a wide range of people, frequently exchanging information but also training and supervising others. The quality of the communication can make or break your professional image. It directly influences how others view your work and performance

Excellent verbal and written communications are all called for when delegating tasks, giving instruction and providing feedback. This essential interpersonal skill fosters teamwork and creates positive connections with bosses, co-workers and clients.

Improved communication skills have another important upside. Administrative Professionals who communicate effectively are perceived as being more mature and responsible and are more often rewarded with raises and promotions.

Diplomacy

Be diplomatic: Diplomacy and tact is close to the top of my list of soft or interpersonal skills. It is an absolute must have.

The art of dealing with people in a sensitive and tactful way, becomes even more important, the higher you rise in the organization. You have to be able to handle office politics carefully and professionally. Unfortunately, diplomacy and tact don’t always come naturally. Even when they do, such communication can easily be derailed by your emotions. It takes awareness, mindfulness, and possibly training, but it is a skill you must develop.

Be a Good Listener

Most people are “hard of listening” rather than “hard of hearing.” By listening effectively, you let the other person know that they have been heard, and encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings more fully. Active listening is just that, ‘active.’

Active listening communicates a genuine interest in what the person is saying and includes eye contact, posture, facial expressions, and gestures. It will involve paraphrasing what you have heard in order to show the person that you truly understand what has been said.

Consciously avoid the bad listening habits of interrupting the person you are speaking with, or talking before they have had a chance to finish what they are saying. Talking too much is another issue.

Concision

Concision is minimizing words, while still fully conveying an idea. It aims to enhance communication by eliminating redundancy without omitting important information.

Good communication means saying just enough – not too little but also not too much. Other people’s time is valuable, particularly your boss’s. Try to convey your message in as few words as possible. Say what needs to be said clearly and directly, whether you’re speaking to someone in person, on the phone, or via email, be concise. If you ramble on and on people just tune you out. Think about what you want to say before you say it; this will help you to avoid talking excessively.

Honor confidentiality

Many AP’s handle sensitive information that must be kept confidential. The administrative professional is in a position of trust which imposes certain ethical obligations.

But it is not just financial or personal issues. The same is true for information that your boss or colleague might mention in conversation without taking out the ‘top secret’ stamp. The rumor mill has enough grinders. Like it or not, your job as an administrative professional puts you right in the middle of things. That often means dealing with office politics and confidentiality issues.

Assistants often have to deal with professional problems and complaints, but sometimes personal ones as well. Try to stay neutral and be as diplomatic as you can, recognizing that your job isn’t necessarily to resolve these issues, but to act as a messenger or liaison, so always try to be fair and helpful.

To succeed and advance as a top level administrative professional you require intelligence, discretion and exceptional people skills.

Good luck and best wishes.