You only have to look at politics to appreciate how the same words are interpreted in wildly different ways depending on who’s listening. No-one can please everyone all the time, but there are ways to get the best from whoever you’re with.
We all have a basic motivational style that influences our behavior. Certain people’s self-worth comes from nurturing others (‘Carers’); for some, it comes from getting results (‘Drivers’); while others achieve inner peace through logic and order (‘Professionals’). A fourth motivational style (‘Adapters’) is a combination of the former three, depending on the situation. Which style do you recognize most in yourself? Knowing this is the first step to managing your impact on others.
Each style has its benefits, but can become a hindrance when realized to its extreme. Reflect back on an encounter that went awry, despite your best intentions. In what way did your motivational style play a role? How will you recognize the signs next time you’re at risk of overdoing it?
Take an educated guess as to the other person’s motivational style – are they a ‘people person’, a ‘just-do-it’ type, a stickler for details or an easygoing adapter? Reflect on your own behavior using their lens. Your Driver’s push for results could seem reckless to a Professional, for example. Keep this in mind as you interact.
Bearing in mind your style and theirs, consider how you can flex your behavior to more closely match their motivations. That could mean asking a Carer for their advice, assigning additional responsibility to a Driver or giving a Professional ample time to mull it over.
Doesn’t changing your behavior to suit someone else make you false? When done badly, yes – and people will see straight through it. But there are ways to manage your impact while remaining authentic. The key is to adapt your style, not abandon it altogether.