Understand Peers In Your Workplace

Understanding peers in your workplace can be trying. Have you ever tried to get a point across but realized you weren’t connecting? You thought you were making perfect sense, but the other person just didn’t get what you were saying? Thank goodness we are all made differently, because, without that variety, the world could be very monotonous! But with this variety, the inevitable truth is that everyone thinks differently, processes situations differently, and is energized by different things. In the workplace, these differences are worth understanding, in order for co-workers to create an efficient and cohesive work environment.  Whether someone works better in a collaborative environment, or independently, whether their desk is perfectly neat and minimal, or overflowing with papers, there is a rhyme and a reason to people’s differences and each type has specific strengths that can be capitalized upon.  We are going to explore these different types of people and what energizes them. Once we’ve identified these differences, we can better communicate and work with one another in the workplace and have greater all-around success.

People drawn to context.

These types of people are drawn to facts and not to assumptions. They need time to go through the facts, and ask many clarifying decisions before arriving at a conclusion.  They are not prone to arriving at a final decision after the first conversation.

Lifestyle Habits:

  • Well organized
  • Concise in emails with language and jargon
  • Dress neatly and conservatively
  • Their conversation is full of “Why” questions
  • How to better Communicate with them:
  • Have a printed/ organized agenda and what the proposed outcome will be
  • Expect to speak thoroughly over fewer items, rather than covering a lot of items quickly
  • Offer detailed work with things like analysis and pricing

People drawn to results.

These people like to be in control and thus they focus on outcomes and strategies rather than the step-by-step process.  They do not like to waste time and would prefer the bottom line.  Often they’re question is, “Why are we here?”

Lifestyle Habits:

  • Organized desk with little sign of work being done
  • Careful and groomed dress
  • Often hold a powerful position at work
  • Concise, confident and direct language in emails
  • How to Better Communicate With Them:
  • Have a brief agenda with proposed objectives and outcomes for each
  • Discuss strategy and results, not process
  • Be direct about costs, risks and benefits
  • Communicate succinctly to demonstrate you are using their time productively

People drawn to ideas.

These types of people love exploring different options and possibilities.  They can get easily side-tracked as they explore them.  Details can be very overwhelming but ambiguous ideas are welcomed.  Unfortunately, their overflow of ideas may make it difficult to land on a single one.

Lifestyle Habits:

  • Their work environment can be cluttered and full of materials and their living environment is often the same way.
  • Their dress is usually less conservative.
  • Their email style is rapidly written with less attention to detail and maybe typos and exclamations.
  • Oftentimes they jump from topic to topic.
  • Common questions include “What if?”
  • How to Better Communicate With Them:
  • Talk in a big picture manner and addressing the overview rather than the agenda.
  • Diagrams, sketches, and pictures are helpful.
  • They like to think about ideas for a little while.

People drawn to process.

These people are detail oriented and prone to continue tweaking things to make the overall process better.  Details and timetables are important to them along with precise language.  They are not persuaded by generalities but like measurable criteria.

Lifestyle Habits:

  • Clean work area with color-coded systems and filing.
  • Neatly dressed with functional items such as cell phone holders and key holders. They have a place for everything.
  • Common questions of theirs are “When,” “Where,” and “How.”
  • How To Better Communicate With Them
  • Always reference an agenda or a plan of action
  • Allow time for them to ask questions and go over the plan and proposal
  • Answer questions with very precise information and data support
  • Always have a backup plan/proposal in place to have available to show them.

People drawn to action.

These individuals find security in exercising control.  Their decisiveness causes them to move to action quickly.  Oftentimes it can seem as if others think or act too slowly for them, causing them to be impatient.  Their work life is very busy and often overflows with phone calls and interruptions.

Lifestyle Habits:

  • Their desk is very cluttered with overflowing projects and ongoing to-do lists.
  • Their emails are very succinct with decisive language.
  • Their impatience can lead to cutting others off.
  • Common questions of theirs include “When,” and “What’s next?”
  • How To Better Communicate With Them
  • Try to avoid long explanations of things and speaking with too much detail.
  • Visuals such as to-do lists and checking them off are helpful.
  • Definitely assure them that you will check in regularly.
  • Don’t overstay you’re welcome during meetings.

People drawn to other people.

These individuals focus on the personal aspect, such as small talk, before getting down to business.  They are bored by technical intricacies but are energized by human interaction.  They do not mind the constant interruption of people popping their head in the door for a question or quick discussion.

Lifestyle Habits:

  • They give you a warm greeting with a hug or handshake.
  • They cherish lots of friend and family photos.
  • They are very expressive and have open body language.
  • Their emails are full of expressions and exclamations, with a sense of informality.
  • Common questions to them are “Who.”
  • How to Better Communicate With Them
  • Be careful not to be all business, before offering some kind of small talk.
  • Compliment them on their successes and things they are passionate about.
  • Be willing to be informal with them.

Now that you’ve exposed yourself to this variety of thinking patterns and workplace habits, you can be better prepared to deliver the information your boss may want to see and know just how to go about doing that. Now go and make your work environment a more positive place by bringing an open-mind to each and everyone’s differences.