Linda V. Berens, Ph.D. developed a model of four different Interaction Styles. These explain how we use our behaviors and energies to influence and relate to others. Awareness of your Interaction Style will allow you to
- Improve private and professional relationships
- Enjoy more effective communication
- Develop more flexible leadership and team working skills
The four Interaction Styles describe patterns of different communication, role, and attention preferences. They form the basic framework for each style.
During a recent Interaction Styles Workshop, a participant commented on how some of his IT team members don't say anything during meetings. I suggest how a knowledge of Interaction Styles may provide actionable strategies to create more effective cooperation. (Note: due to the position of the camera, the participant's audio is a little low and I move out of frame.) Slide graphic taken from the Berens CORE™ Approach (with permission). Excerpt from "Understanding Yourself and Others® - An Introduction to Interaction Styles 2.0" by Linda V. Berens, Ph.D. (with permission).
Chart-the-Course™ The theme is having a course of action to follow. People of this style focus on knowing what to do and keeping themselves, the group, or the project on track. They prefer to enter a situation having an idea of what is to happen. They identify a process to accomplish a goal and have a somewhat contained tension as they work to create and monitor a plan. The aim is not the plan itself, but to use it as a guide to move things along toward the goal. Their informed and deliberate decisions are based on analyzing, outlining, conceptualizing or foreseeing what needs to be done.
The theme is getting the best result possible. People of this style focus on understanding and working with the process to create a positive outcome. They see value in many contributions and consult outside inputs to make an informed decision. They aim to integrate various information sources and accommodate differing points of view. They approach others with a quiet, calm style that may not show their strong convictions. Producing, sustaining, defining and clarifying are all ways they support a group's process. They typically have more patience than most with the time it takes to gain support through consensus for a project or to refine the result.
The theme is getting things accomplished through people. People of this style are focused on results, often taking action quickly. They often have a driving energy with an intention to lead a group to the goal. They make decisions quickly to keep themselves and others on task, on target, and on time. They hate wasting time and having to back-track. Mentoring, executing actions, supervising, and mobilizing resources are all ways they get things accomplished. They notice right away what is not working in a situation and become painfully aware of what needs to be fixed, healed, or corrected.
The theme is persuading and involving others. They thrive in facilitator or catalyst roles and aim to inspire others to move to action, facilitating the process. Their focus is on interaction, often with an expressive style. They Get-Things-Going™ with upbeat energy, enthusiasm, or excitement, which can be contagious. Exploring options and possibilities, making preparations, discovering new ideas, and sharing insights are all ways they get people moving along. They want decisions to be participative and enthusiastic, with everyone involved and engaged.