What are your personal preferences?
We all have preferences for how we interact with others, which impacts how others interact with us. These might include how we…
- Express ourselves to others: Are you indirect in your communications – communicating carefully only after you plan out what you will say and how you will say it so as not to create conflict or upset others. Or, are you more direct in your communications – assertive in your statements so that people will move in your direction and you’ll get your way.
- Engage with others: Are you more reserved when you engage with others – you prefer to interact in a one-on-one setting rather than in a group; you hold your emotions close to the chest. Or are you an outgoing individual – very talkative and openly expressing your emotions; interacting easily with a large group of people; being the “social butterfly.”
- Make and implement decisions/resolving problems: Are you urgent in your approach to resolving problems and taking action, making decisions? Do you need minimal data and only a few options to choose from? Do you prefer to make decisions on your own with very limited or no input from others? Or, are you more deliberate in your actions? Do you prefer to have a variety of options to choose from, all with input from others? Do you actively seek the input of others and make decisions only after you have considered every possible angle?
One approach is not necessarily better than another. But the approach we take does impact how we work with others and how they work with us. Ideally, you will be somewhat flexible in your approach – adapting to others so that you can have more effective and valuable relationships and accomplish your initiatives more collaboratively. This is more difficult if you tend to be one extreme or the other; and easier for individuals who are more middle of the road. For example, I have moved between being “urgent” in my decision making to being more “deliberate.” I’ve also used one way when I should have used another and certainly have learned from my mistakes! (I tend to be more deliberate now than I used to be.) It is more difficult for me to adapt how I engage with others as I tend to be very “outgoing” all the time.
How about you? How do you interact with others? Can you be flexible in your approach?