Your Working Styles Profile

When growing up you may have received praise, recognition and rewards for certain types of behaviour. This positive reinforcement created scripts that bias you towards behaving in the same way in the future. The unconscious assumption is: ‘If I behave like this, things will be OK’.

There are 5 primary drivers[1] and while we have a little of each, we tend to have a dominant driver that will be particularly strong during times of stress. Whether the intuitive thought processes and behaviours of each driver are strengths or weaknesses depends on context and the extent to which the driver influences your actions.

The more aware you are of your drivers, the easier it will be to press pause and choose the most effective approach in any situation. Awareness of drivers can also help you in understanding and adapting to other people, leading to better relationships.

Interpreting Your Profile

There is no perfect profile and it seems that almost any combination of drivers’ scores is possible. 

Below are overviews of the 5 Drivers and how they are likely to affect how you – and others – behave. 

To try to make the drivers more memorable, each begins with an extreme, fun characterisation of a person scoring high on the driver. There are 2 scenarios:

saw

Cutting 3 equal lengths from a piece of wood.

Getting coffees for a group of colleagues.

Hurry Up

saw

There are likely to be several wrongly-sized offcuts on the floor as they start cutting without taking care over measurements.

They will return holding several coffees in their arms, spilling them as they attempt to get through the door while holding it with their foot because there’s not time to put the cups down and pick them up again.

Strengths

  • proactive
  • quick
  • deadline-focused
  • energy and enthusiasm

Potential Weaknesses

  • setting off in the wrong direction
  • careless mistakes and lack of quality control
  • poor time management

Seem to enjoy having too much to do; the challenge is to find the short-cut! Less likely to prepare in advance and more likely to leave starting until the last possible moment. Their impatience can mean that they don’t fully understand a situation or what others require because of ‘tuning out’ too soon.

Hurry Ups benefit from starting a little more slowly to ensure that their energy is being used effectively: more haste, less speed. Their focus on current objectives can also blind them to approaches that will bring longer-term benefits; a little engine maintenance may delay the project slightly but will prolong the life of the engine.

Be Strong

saw

They will begin without asking for any guidance and if they accidentally saw into their thumb, will not make a sound but will simply stick on a plaster (Band-Aid) – after they have finished.

They will expect everyone to get their own coffee and don’t need one right now.

Strengths

  • calm under pressure
  • emotionally-detached decision-making
  • steady

Potential Weaknesses

  • gets overloaded
  • fails to seek help when required
  • hides from emotions – can suddenly ‘snap’

Good in a crisis, they thrive on adversity. They will remain calm and act logically, steadfastly working through even the most unpleasant of tasks. However, the inability to admit to weaknesses or ask others for help can lead to issues being ‘hidden’ and building into major problems.

Be Strongs rarely show emotion, which can be disconcerting for colleagues.

Be Strongs need to recognize that there is no virtue in suffering and that shouldering all responsibility is not necessarily appreciated as it reduces the autonomy and participation of others.

Try Hard

saw

Will be concerned about whether they are using the right saw and then disappear to do some research, not returning because they have started another task.

They set-off to get the coffees but become side-tracked and start sawing a piece of wood.

Strengths

  • enthusiasm
  • gets to the bottom of things
  • self-motivated
  • focused
  • accurate

Potential Weaknesses

  • build mountains from mole hills
  • over-complicate
  • ‘no gain without pain’ mentality

Enthusiastically tackling new tasks, they will proactively look for issues to fix, often turning relatively straightforward tasks into major projects. There’s a good chance that tasks will go uncompleted as the Try Hard jumps from one issue to another – the focus is on work, not results. In meetings they will often go off-topic and when asked a question may well answer a different one that is more interesting.

By taking time to relax, Try Hards will find that new ideas and more effective approaches emerge. It is not about how hard you work, it is about the results that you achieve; better to work smart.

Be Perfect

saw

Their motto is: measure twice, cut once. There will be perfectly cut blocks of wood – but you may have to wait sometime 

They will write down what everyone wants, use a tray and wedge the door open before they leave. 

Strengths

  • organized
  • attentive to detail
  • reliable
  • plans ahead
  • accurate

Potential Weaknesses

  • pedantic
  • slow
  • misses deadlines
  • impractical

Well-organized, every aspect of work is planned and then evaluated. But the concern with ‘being right’ can mean that work progresses slowly with a push-back when asked to make decisions – and in an uncertain world where any decision is better than no decision, that can lead to problems.

Be Perfects add extra detail to all they do (often in parentheses) and find it hard to delegate as others may aspire to the Be Perfect’s standards. 

Be Perfects should try to see the bigger picture: sometimes good enough is good enough and time is the more critical element. Every moment spent perfecting a trivial element reduces the time available for perfecting what is truly important. And perhaps perfection holds us back from new opportunities and insights:

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in”[2]

Please People

saw

Will be looking over their shoulder to see who is watching and asking for guidance before, checking once they have started and seeking approval when they have finished.

Will return with a tray overloaded with coffees because they asked everyone in the office if they wanted a coffee. And if they see a Hurry Up with coffees will leap up to open the door.

Strengths

  • make people feel good
  • increase harmony and involvement
  • communicate frequently

Potential Weaknesses

  • too concerned with not upsetting others
  • uncomfortable with criticism – giving and receiving
  • takes things personally
  • reluctant decision-maker

Good team members, who enjoy being with other people, they seek harmony and are intuitive about what others require. But they worry about upsetting others and so will often become anxious in discussions. Rather stating their opinions with force, they will present them in the form of questions. Reluctant to say ‘No’, Please People 

Those with a Please People dominant driver may wish to consider that sometimes it is necessary to be ‘cruel to be kind’ and that the more you ‘look after’ someone the fewer opportunities they have to grow and develop resilience.

Do you feel that your profile is an accurate representation of you?

In what ways do you think other people may have scored you differently? 

Like personality traits, scripts are instinctive ways of thinking and behaving. Being aware of your own predispositions is the first step in interrupting automated, unconscious processes so that you can consciously choose the most appropriate approach in each situation.

What changes will you make based on your (and your associates’) questionnaire scores?

[1] Julie Hay, Transactional Analysis for Trainers

[2] Leonard Cohen, ‘Anthem’