We work in a fast-paced environment with a whole range of differing personalities and sometimes this can cause conflict. Some Educators will naturally gravitate to each other and others will have less than ideal relationships. Some Educators like to fill the room with energy and chatter whilst other people like quiet reflection and contemplation. Some of us enjoy basking in the glow of the limelight while others are very uncomfortable with public displays of praise.
Not everyone in the world communicates and reacts to their environment in the same way. Educators work and communicate in very different ways. Learning how to identify and understand different working styles is a fundamental component of creating high performing and harmonious teams. Personality clashes are not inevitable and are often the result of a lack of understanding and awareness.
Increased understanding leads to increased respect
Understanding different personality styles leads to increased respect and understanding. The focus on changing other people’s personalities has been a persistent myth which has hampered the development of many teams. The focus should be on changing the way we operate in order to create an environment where others can thrive.
When Educators understand different working styles it allows them to modify their approach to bring out the best in each other, improve communication and reduce conflict. The focus should not be on treating people like we like to be treated but treating people in a way they like to be treated. This perceptual shift places the onus on each of us to communicate in a way that brings out the best from each other.
The name of the styles depends on the personality theory but generally, there’s consider to be 4 main working styles.
Four working styles;
Each of these working styles exhibits general characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses. They need to be managed and communicated in different ways. Understanding the unique characteristics will help your team bring out the best in each other.
Below are the 4 main styles. (Can you identify your team?)
The analytical personality type is very profound and thoughtful. They are serious and purposeful individuals. Analyticals are orderly, organized, they love lists and process.
They want things done right! And they want them done right the first time. They are neat and tidy individuals. Analyticals are detail-focused and they are self-disciplined.
Analyticals’ weaknesses are that they can be moody, critical and negative. Analyticals can be indecisive and they over-analyse everything.
Drivers have a dynamic and direct working style. They exude confidence and move very quickly to action. For Drivers, close enough is good enough. Drivers’ strengths are that they are very determined individuals. They are independent and they are productive. Drivers get a lot of things done.
On the weak side, the driver can be insensitive, unsympathetic, harsh, proud and sarcastic. They can also rush to a decision without thoroughly thinking it through.
The amiable working type is very patient and well-balanced. They are quiet team players, very sympathetic, kind, and inoffensive. Amiables do not like to offend people.
An amiable is easy going and everybody likes Amiables. They don’t like conflict, so they’re very agreeable. They’re diplomatic and calm. But on the weak side, their aversion to offence and conflict can also manifest as a weakness.
Expressives are the social specialist because they love to have fun. They are individuals who turn disaster into humour. They prevent dull moments and they are very generous people. They want to be included in projects, in teams and conversations.
On the strong side, the expressive is very outgoing and easily engaged. They are ambitious, charismatic, and persuasive. On the weak side, they can be disorganized, undisciplined, loud, and lose interest quickly.
Changing your approach to suit your colleagues working styles ensures we can bring out the best in each other.
When you take this approach as a team, you’ll find you have increased collaboration and less aggressiveness. You’ll have increased engagement, positivity and a genuine respect and acceptance of different personalities.
Building An Effective Team
To make a great team we need to remember that great teams are about personalities, not just skills. As leaders and managers we should place as much emphasis on developing team cohesiveness as we do on developing technical skills.
Managers and leaders who focus on how the team interacts with each other and the psychological factors that create the team’s success, consistently have higher-performing teams.
We all need team members who are:
- Results-oriented. (Drivers) Team members who organically organize work and take charge tend to be socially self-confident, and energetic.
- Relationship-focused. (Amiable) Team members who organically focus on relationships, are attuned to others’ feelings, and are good at building cohesion tend to be warm, diplomatic, and approachable.
- Process and rule followers. (Analytical) Team members who pay attention to details, processes, and rules tend to be reliable, organized, and conscientious.
- Innovative and disruptive thinkers. (Expressive) Team members who naturally focus on innovation, anticipate problems, and recognize when the team needs to change tend to be imaginative, curious, and open to new experiences.
Rather than seeing opposing styles as threats, great teams work in a way that allows each other to thrive and focuses on the strengths in each other. Real results can be seen when leaders move the focus from what the team does to how they do it. A focus on how the team communicates, celebrates and resolves conflict has immeasurable benefits for the members of the team and the educational outcomes for the children in their care.
About the Author
Tracey Hamilton is a qualified Early Childhood Teacher with a Bachelor of Behavioural Sciences (Psychology). She is currently facilitating “Understanding Yourself and Others” workshops for Early Childhood and OSHC teams.