Get What You Want by Reading People

Whoever said there's no "i" in team didn't think that statement through too well!

While it's true to say that successful teams will have a common purpose or goal that collectively each team member is seeking to achieve, treating every person in a team in the same manner will almost guarantee that the common pursuit of those goals will be even harder to reach. Why? Because any given team is made up of many individuals... and that's where you need to put the "i" in T.E.A.M.

Now before you scream and say "I don't have time to treat everyone differently" I'd actually say you can't afford not to... and then I'd tell you that people are more predictable than you think! Firstly you need to be aware that there are 3 fundamental elements that set people apart. These are their behavioural style, representational system and motivational preference. Secondly you need to know that people leave "clues" to each area.... if you know what you're looking for. Thirdly, you need to be aware that these 3 elements provide a "starting point" and are in no way a "blueprint" for interacting with people.

So let me briefly outline each of the 3 elements...

Behavioural Style
In his book "People Styles at Work" Robert Bolton broadly describes people as being grouped into 4 distinct behavioural types (Driver, Expressive, Amiable & Analytical) of which every person has a dominant style. Bolton deducted that you can assess a person's behavioural style based on their level of emotional responsiveness and assertiveness. What this means for you is that 75% of people that you will interact with will have a different personality style to yours. Knowing how to deliver your message for each style in order to have maximum impact is a skill that can't be underestimated in a team environment.

Representational System
This is the way in which people process information available to them, e.g. what you say to them and what it means for them. There are 4 primary representational systems being visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and auditory-digital. One very effective way to gauge a person's preferred representational system is by listening to the language they use and noticing their eye patterns when communicating with them.

In short;
- Visual people will "see" what you mean. They process information by how things "look" and will "view" your message for its merits. Their eyes look "upwards".

- Auditory people will "hear" what you say. They will respond positively when they like the "sound" of an idea or if it "rings a bell" for them. Their eyes look "side to side".

- Kinaesthetic people take in information based on "feelings". They use their "intuition" to gauge your message. They get a "gut feel" on whether information "feels right" to them. Their eyes look "down and to the Right".

- Auditory-digital people will look for a "process" or "system" in what you say. They like to see the "steps" invloved in what you're proposing to them. They like "order". Their eyes look "down and to the Left".

Motivational Preference
What motivates each member on your team? When you need to get them up and going what can you do?
Ken Wright describes 9 key motivators for people:
Achievement and Growth - driven by success and a desire to achieve challenging goals
Money - driven by financial incentives
Teamwork - driven by group projects and common goals
Power - driven by controlling and influencing others
Approval - driven by recognition and praise
Security - driven by a comfortable environment and low-risk tasks
Independence - driven by freedom and autonomy
Stability - very little drive/do not handle change well
Equality - driven by fair treatment

Simply understanding there is a need to develop the ability, the flexibility, to modify your approach when dealing with other people on your team already gives you the power to influence their performance levels. Learning how to do it is even better.

Your team will think differently to you. They will be motivated differently to you. They will act differently to you. They will respond differently to you. They are individuals. The power comes in modifying your message to suit the individual. Personalising your method to make it more compelling. Motivating each person in a way they respond to best.

When it comes to teams you need to put the "i" in yours... It's all about the individual... One size doesn't fit all!

Here's to higher success...


Dean Evans is a Leadership Performance Strategist based in Adelaide, Australia. With more than 10 years of leadership roles in the field of Allied Health he has a wealth of experience in understanding what it takes to operate at peak levels in pressure environments and how to develop individuals to reach their potential. As the Director of Altitude Performance Solutions his passion is equipping new leaders with the people skills necessary to drive the performance and productivity of their teams in today's business world. Whether speaking to groups of people or conducting team trainings Dean will bring great insights and useful tools to help you harness the power of your people. He is also a qualified Performance Coach and an Accredited Consultant in Extended DISC Performance Profiling.

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