Versatility Powers Today’s Workforce

March 28, 2019 | Dan Day | TRACOM Group
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Versatility is an essential part of building a more engaged and effective work culture.

All of your employees have predictable behavioral patterns (their “Social Style”), but 65 percent of them don’t realize the effects their preferred behaviors have on other people around them. By helping people understand these behaviors—why they exist and how we can adapt them to the people we work with—you’ll build a more productive, collaborative environment that appreciates diversity of thought.

Remember the “Golden Rule” (treating others as you would like to be treated)?

Think of Versatility as the “Platinum Rule” (treating others as they would like to be treated).

Versatility is the ability to adapt our preferred behavioral style to another person’s preferred style in order to build a more effective relationship. While it’s critical to our performance at work, it isn’t easy to exhibit on a consistent basis. Why? Mainly because our brains get in the way.

You Can Blame It On Your Brain

All of us are affected by cognitive biases that distort how we Think, Act and React to the world around us. This happens because our brains are lazy—we look for quick interpretations of events and easy solutions to problems.

We develop habits so we don’t have to expend energy thinking about what we’re doing. This is because thinking is hard work; our brains consume approximately 20 percent of the body’s energy every day, so habits help to save precious energy. The unfortunate side effect is that we often make mistakes and decisions unaware we are on autopilot. Our brains use shortcuts that interfere with our ability to communicate in new ways with people we may not have that “natural” connection with—to put them more at ease when we interact with them.

These biases affect our ability to become more versatile, impeding our progress toward becoming better communicators by understanding and connecting with others. To develop Versatility, we need to break through these cognitive biases by changing our behavior and habits.

The Self-Evaluation Bias at Work

When communicating and working with other people, we are affected by the Self-Evaluation Bias, which influences how we see ourselves and how we interpret the behaviors of others. First, it causes us to see ourselves inaccurately, meaning we don’t have good self-awareness of how we come across to others. Second, this bias causes us to misinterpret the actions of others; when someone does something we don’t agree with, we attribute it to their personality or “character” rather than circumstances or simple behavioral style differences.

This combination of poor self- awareness and misunderstanding of others creates problems. We fail to recognize one another’s preferences for how to get things done. We communicate and/or interact in ways that reflect our own needs without recognition for the needs and preferences of others.

Breaking the Self-Evaluation Bias to Become More Versatile

Breaking the Self-Evaluation Bias is as simple as learning about the different Social Styles. With this knowledge, we can become more versatile by adapting how we communicate and work with others. These simple changes lead to greater personal effectiveness, as we can become more aware of our own behaviors and how they are perceived by others. People then learn how to recognize how their behavior impedes their performance and effectiveness, particularly in times that are stressful.

We also learn to recognize the behavioral styles of others and how to communicate with them in ways that lead to understanding and acceptance. This helps your teams and ultimately your organization to more effectively achieve small goals or navigate through large-scale change.

The SOCIAL STYLETM Model has been applied by thousands of global organizations to improve the performance of leaders, salespeople and individual contributors. The training is based on observable behavior learners can apply to quickly identify a person’s preferences and make informed choices to make that person comfortable. This ability to moderate your behavior is the Platinum Rule—Versatility.

Versatility provides practical and actionable guidance to build and continually improve interpersonal relationships.