Whether you’re a manager trying your best to make everyone in your team feel happy and fulfilled, or maybe you’re an employee who just wants to get along with everybody, you know the feeling of frustration from having to try and understand each type person at the office and not just your own.
It goes without saying that each person in unique; in the workplace, things are no different. An office setting is a melting pot of a dozen personalities, characteristics, and preferences–everyone has their own way of working, communicating, and responding.
But I feel this must be said: knowing that people are innately different from one another versus understanding these differences and knowing how to deal with each one are two entirely separate ideas. Obviously, one is more useful than the other.
In the coming weeks, we’ll focus on the latter as we take a deep-dive into each of the main behavioural drives. For now, here’s a brief overview at what these drives are and the important insights you can gain from each one.
Basically, as human beings–and people in the workplace– we have 4 main behavioural drives: dominance, extraversion, patience, and formality. Combined, they make up our individual’s characteristics when it comes to the way we do our jobs, how we interact in social situations, and even our communication style.
Understanding the dynamics and intricacies of each behavioural drive can mean the difference between creating a culture of teamwork at the office or managing a mediocre workforce.
The drive to exert influence over people and events
First–and perhaps the most powerful drive–is dominance. In the office, people generally fall into either end of the spectrum: the highly-dominant or low-dominant side.
Results-oriented, independent, big picture, competitive, and loves the “get-it-done” mindset. These are just some of the things that describe a highly dominant employee. They’re often the most eager to share their ideas or drive any meeting they happen to be a part of. They’re also highly autonomous and may think of their ways as, well…just plain better than anyone else’s.
On the other hand, low-dominant employees are the ones who thrive in collaboration–getting everyone involved and making sure each member of the team gets a piece of the pie, so to speak. Each idea on the table is carefully considered while the need for a spotlight of recognition is non-existent. At the end of the day, a win for him is a win for all.
The drive for social interaction with others
Second is extraversion. And just as in any office environment, social interaction is not only required, but rather inevitable (as low-extraversion people would cripplingly say it).
Highly-extraverted employees enjoy being the life of any (office) party. They tend to shine the most when they are able to engage with others and often carry with them a bright and infectious smile.
Having said that, approval and acceptance are of utmost importance to the highly-extraverted type. They have a huge desire to interact with others and how others approve of them is vital to their day-to-day performance.
For the low-extraversion types however, there is freedom in solitude. Rarely the first to speak, these employees are introspective and highly analytical in their interactions. Often described as quiet, shy, or even downright serious, a low-extraverted type is by no means avert from the social world.
In fact, just like their highly-extraverted counterparts, they are just as likely to present themselves as smiley, warm, and friendly. However, when it comes to performing, they prefer to get their work done in a quiet space and often have the best ideas come to them when they have time to process and think things through.
The drive for consistency and stability
Have you ever wondered how some people manage to work on a project for months or even years at a time and not lose their wits, while others can hardly be asked to do the same task for more than two weeks?
Whether you see this as a manager or find yourself in one of these situations as an employee, it’s important to know that patience is actually the behavioural drive behind it. When it comes to patience, there are two sides to the coin: consistency and variety.
High-patience employees are identifiable by their calm, steady, and almost phlegmatic temperament. They’re the type to thrive in familiarity and have no problem performing tasks that can be seen as routine by their counterpart.
Highly methodical in the way they approach their work, for a high-patience employee, consistency is the name of the game.
On the other hand, low-patience employees aren’t terribly concerned with maintaining familiarity and consistency at all. In fact, for the low-patience types, a variety of activities and a highly-dynamic environment only adds to the excitement of their daily office life.
The drive to conform to rules and structure
Lastly, but by no means least, is the formality drive. You can think of it as the likeliness of an employee to conform to the structures and rules that have been set in place by an organization.
For high-formality employees, it is paramount to approach each project diligently and seriously. Having a strong desire to “get things done right,” a high-formality type is detail-oriented and attentive to the task at hand.
Highly motivated to produce near-perfect results each time, a high-formality employee will avoid criticism or blame at all costs, especially when things go south. As a result, they tend to be extremely cautious and hesitant to take risks. Because of this, they rely heavily on the policies that have been established to and look to rule book as their north star in how things should be done.
Low-formality employees, meanwhile, are the more casual, informal, and spontaneous of the two types. They aren’t bound by the established policies and would much prefer to just “go with the flow” rather than sticking to the script.
Being more concerned of what the end result is and less of how it is achieved, a low-formality employee is not one to worry or fret over the face of uncertainty; the more flexibility their role permits, the more creative they can be.