In August 2020, I wrote a blog post about how Essential Motivators saved the day and a whole lot more. Over this weekend, one of our colleagues emailed me with some questions and also added in the following story.
I received this story in an email from one of our colleagues:
For a while, I thought that my husband might have preferences for ISFJ. Then a type knowledgeable friend came to visit. This was years ago. She saw how we were talking to each other. He would say – “turn out the lights”, stop doing such and such, and I would say, “go to the store and get us some X, and she finally said, “I am hanging out listening to you and cringing but I know that you both are fine with what you are saying. I think your husband has ISTJ preferences, do you hear his direct style? And that was that!!!!
I suspect that many with the Stabilizer pattern can look like they have a preference for Feeling because of the preference for taking affiliative roles.
When I asked permission to use this example in a blog post, she added:
YES! He did look like that. And he is always concerned about the family and takes care of everyone. AND on the MBTI he had a slight preference for “F.” But he is more logical than anyone I know, he does not have ISFJ preferences!!!
And yes you may use that in a blog. It did save the day with me. I am so attuned to Type (and this was years ago) and I hadn’t been able to figure out why I didn’t hear the Extraverted Feeling language… and then I had the ability to manage myself better around him.
People frequently tell me that the Interaction Styles lens is the most powerful and useful tool in their tool kit, so I thought I would share with you some of the ways it ‘saves the day.’
In working with groups, I usually start with Interaction Styles because it is a ‘quick hit.’ It is easy to understand and see the differences in people and it helps them realize that some of their communication problems are just misunderstandings of people’s intentions. For example, a participant in a workshop told me her business partner had misread her partner’s intentions as not accepting her input when he continued to seek out more information in order to make a decision. A classic conflict between her In-Charge preference for making quick decisions and his Behind-the-Scenes style wanting to gather lots of information from a variety of sources and then integrate that information. So going forward she said she would think about their differences.
In working with intact teams we have found that just explaining the difference between Informing communications and Directing communications can trigger conversations and deeper understanding that goes beyond just an explanation. Our colleagues have learned to build in time for these discussions. Verbal and non verbal Informing communications are focused on giving information to get buy in and verbal and non verbal Directing communications are focused on timely task accomplishment. Helping teams resolve these old and ongoing conflicts saves more than the day. It can save resources of time and productivity and even prevent the loss of valuable team members. Interaction Styles gives them a language to explain and understand their differences and a way to leverage those differences rather than have them be obstacles.
In Cindy’s example above, this lens helped her husband clarify his best fit as well as improved their ongoing communications. A great deal of miscommunication is rooted in these simple differences and it helps to be able to name the difference, then move on to what to do about them.
Understanding your own Interaction Style drives can help you identify sources of stress as well. In my own case (Behind-the-Scenes), I recently realized that I frequently need to get input from several people before I get the information I need to move forward on a project. I had forgotten about that as I proceeded to mull over a complex big decision by myself and was increasingly bogged down until I remembered to contact some of my colleagues for input. In these instances, I’ve learned to be clear that I am gathering information to integrate later. Too often, if I don’t explain that, my preference for Consultative Decisions has led to hurt feelings when I don’t get back to them about how I used their information. More help from the Interaction Style lens in keeping my relationships whole and healthy.
So, yes, Interaction Styles can save the day for individuals, teams and relationships!