Bringing personality into work - a good idea? - by Linda Buchan

Have you ever been in a social environment where a stranger has entered it and you have immediately been turned off or taken an instant dislike to them?

Have you ever been in a presentation or a meeting where you have immediately switched off and decided not to listen because you didn‟t like what you saw?

Or, to be more positive – what about a social or business situation where you have immediately felt interested in someone, and felt compelled to listen?
How did you form this view? Where did that reaction come from? Well, your conclusions are based on the only information you have available - what you can observe about them…their observable behaviour and emotion.

It‟s fair to say that we get on easily and well with, and are drawn to others who behave the same way as us. And as 75% of people will behave differently to us in the same situation and see the world from a different perspective, we simply struggle to understand them!

There are 4 basic behavioural styles each with their own needs, priorities and response mechanisms and each of equal importance. We are all a blend of the 4 styles and within that blend, each of us has a core style that is dominant yet significantly affected by where we are on the scale with the other 3.

The ‘Dominance Factor’ looks at how we react to Problems and Challenges. People who are high on the Dominance Factor tend to be competitive, determined, strong willed and driven.

The Influence Factor’ is how we respond to the People and Contacts around us. People who are high on the Influence Factor tend to be optimistic, enthusiastic, trusting and persuasive.

The Steadiness Factor’ is about our reaction to Pace and Change in our environment. People who are high on the Steadiness Factor tend to be patient, loyal, predictable and team players.

Finally, the ‘Conscientiousness’ Factor is how we react to Policies and Constraints placed on us by others – the rule book! People who are high on the Conscientiousness Factor tend to be systematic, careful, perfectionist and conventional.

So when you put these different styles together in a room we will behave and react differently …no wonder we drive each other mad!

So why is knowing this important? We know that both professional and personal relationships work faster and more effectively when there is trust built and in place. By understanding our own behaviour and recognising the behaviour of those we meet and work with, we can increase the chances of finding common ground and wanting to invest time getting to know them. This is when trust develops.

The ability to build trust and rapport is particularly important for those of us who run our own businesses as, at different times, we need to be the marketer, the sales person, the customer service rep, a leader, manager, coach and consultant. To be truly effective in each of these roles, we need to be able to recognise the behaviours we observe in others and adapt our own behaviour. By doing this we significantly improve the effectiveness of our communication.

Understanding behavioural styles is also a powerful tool in identifying the types of roles that would be most suited to your personal style of behaviour. If you are high on the dominance or influence scale, you may be happy in a sales role with the high “D” driven by the results and the rewards whilst the high “I” may be motivated by the opportunity to influence others and the recognition which goes along with good sales performance.

Someone who is high on the “steadiness” dimension is more likely to be motivated by working in a harmonious team environment and be an excellent “right hand person” whereas someone with a “conscientiousness” style is more likely to enjoy a high quality, detail conscious role…maybe a scientist, IT programmer or Accountant.
Having said that, leaders come from all styles….Margaret Thatcher was the stereotypical depiction of “high dominance” whereas Tony Blair used a charismatic “influence” style. Barack Obama would appear to be a high “S” and Gordon Brown has himself admitted that he focused on “getting the job done and done well” (attributes of high “C”) and maybe should have thought more about his public persona.

So, open your “behavioural eyes” and you‟ll be amazed at what you discover about yourself and the people around you. And, equally important, you will be amazed at the difference it makes to your success in your career, business and life!

Linda Buchan

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This article was written by Linda Buchan. Linda is an experienced HR professional who, having travelled her own road of personal development, now focuses on her passion for helping others to develop themselves and gain clarity on what they want from their life, their business and their career. Linda is also a Certified Behavioural Styles Consultant and Licensed Ology Business Coach.

To learn more about behavioural styles, download a free report at or email Linda at


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