January 23, 2017
How Style Differences Are Holding You Back as a Leader
I was coaching a CEO recently who was irritated with his CFO. "He drives me crazy," he sighed. "He's very competent at what he does but he talks talks talks about things! I don't have time for that." 

After a few inquiries, we realized that the problem was just a common difference in style. Most people solve problems in one of two ways: Group 1 likes to talk things out. Group 2 likes to think things over. Both groups drive each other mad.

While some linguists would divide people into stereotypes about women versus men in this style difference - women talk, men think first - my own experience is that talkers vs. thinkers defy gender lines. Some people simply like to find out what they think by talking; others don't like to talk until they know what to think.
"It's important to recognize differences in styles and 
to use different team members' styles to your advantage"

To the CEO I was coaching, this discussion caused light bulbs to go off. "I never thought of it as a style difference," he mused. "I just knew he was wasting my time and driving me nuts!"

What Should You Do?  

As a leader, it's important to recognize differences in styles and to use different team members' styles to your advantage. The talkers among you, for example, may be great at leading brainstorming exercises. The thinkers may excel at getting impulsive people to slow down and think through consequences of any proposed actions. If, like my CEO, a style difference is driving you crazy, the best thing to do is to surface the issue directly with your staff member. 

Say something like this:
"Mr. or Ms. Talker, I know that you love to brainstorm and talk things out. My style, however, is really different. I like to think things over and then give you a brief report on my ideas. It would be helpful if you could do the same. If you really need to talk things out, please let me know that up front so we can schedule time on my calendar and I'm prepared for the purpose of the discussion."

Did You Know?

Our leadership classes cover style differences and how to use them to your advantage.  

For more information, call or write us at: 303-216-1020 or 
[email protected]

Read Lynne's book "Stop Pissing Me Off" and learn what to do when the people you work with drive you crazy.
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