People Styles at Work -- And Beyond: Making Bad Relationships Good and Good Relationships Better

By Robert Bolton; Dorothy Grover Bolton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11

The Style Flex Solution
to People Differences

YOU HAVE YOUR own ways of relating to people and accomplishing things. You’ve spent a lifetime developing these habits and are comfortable using them. They’re now second nature to you, and for the most part they work well for you. But the people you live with and work with have their own very different ways of relating and accomplishing things. They’ve spent a lifetime developing those habits and are comfortable using them. Their ways of doing things have become second nature to them, and for the most part, they work well for them.

When two people of different styles live or work together, one or both must adjust. If neither adapts to the other, communication will deteriorate, cooperation will decline, the relationship will be stressed, and in work situations productivity will inevitably slump.

Sometimes the clash of styles is so destructive that one of the individuals is fired. That’s what happened to Robert P. Tyler Jr., who was president and COO of Simmons Company. BusinessWeek reported that Tyler’s boss, Grant G. Simmons Jr., was “swift to make a decision, almost to a fault,” while Tyler was “deliberate almost to a fault.” Tyler was fired because of what was termed the “incompatible management styles” of the executives.

Although it can be a challenge to bridge the gap between different people styles, no style is incompatible with any other style. When people of different styles don’t get along, the problem isn’t incompatibility; the problem usually is inflexibility. People of very different styles can collaborate fruitfully when one or both of them make an effort to adapt to the other.

-91-

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