November 10, 2008

Leverage Your Social Styles

Many boards could benefit from attention to the four “people styles” described in The Social Styles Handbook, published by Wilson Learning. Your Social Style – Driver, Analytical, Amiable, or Expressive – is the behavior you feel most comfortable with. When you know your own style and adapt it to others' Social Styles, communication gets easier, conflict lessens, and your influence increases.

Here’s an overview of the four styles: “Drivers” believe that any decision is better than no decision. “Analyticals” maintain that no decision is better than the wrong decision. These two styles have the same priority: tasks verses people. “Amiables” will ask how a board decisions will affect their personal relationships. “Expressives” will want to know if the decision will add fun and enthusiasm to their future.

As it relates to the board, “Driver’s” and “Expressives” operate at the same pace (fast) and always “tell” versus “ask.” “Analyticals” and “Amiables” will ask verses tell – and both styles tend to be slower-paced. “Analyticals” will not only read the board materials in advance, they’ll circle the typos. “Drivers” want the director’s recommendation (the bottom line) before hearing the sales pitch.

You get the point. Board chairs must learn versatility (a key social styles concept) so all four styles are honored. A board chock full of “Expressives” might be fun, but the imbalance will be unhealthy. Great board members study the four social styles and understand the nuances they create within their board team.

[posted by Shannon D. Barnes, based on a recent artical from Let us help you make your board more efficient and mission-effective. Contact us,]

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