NAVIGATING PEOPLE STYLES SUCCESSFULLY WITH SELF-AWARENESS
‘‘Who am I and what, if anything, can I do about it?’’
After reviewing the history of philosophy, Aldous Huxley concluded that this is the most important question one can ask. The more accurate a person’s self-perception, the more likely she will make the most of her strengths and avoid being brought low by her limitations. Moreover, a high degree of self-awareness contributes to establishing and maintaining good relationships with others.
A high degree of self-awareness is also a requirement for effective leadership. As the sixteenth-century philosopher Machiavelli noted in his treatise on leadership, ‘‘To lead or attempt to lead without first having a knowledge of self is foolhardy and is sure to bring disaster and defeat.’’ Most people find that understanding their people style—how other people perceive them—adds an important dimension to their self-awareness.
Your people style is based on other people’s perceptions of you—not on how you see yourself.
There are no good or bad styles; there are only differences among people. Success or failure is unrelated to any style.
STYLES BASED ON THE DEGREE OF RESPONSIVENESS AND ASSERTIVENESS
In the people styles model, a person’s level of assertiveness is the degree to which his behavior is typically seen by others as being forceful or directive.
People whose characteristic behavior is more assertive than half of the population are sometimes referred to as ‘‘right-of-the-line’’ because that’s where they’re located on the continuum. People whose behavior places them in the less assertive half of the continuum get their needs met by using a less forceful and less directive manner than half of the population. We sometimes speak of them as ‘‘left-of-the-line.’’
Responsiveness is the other dimension of behavior in the people styles model. A person’s level of responsiveness is the degree to which she is seen by others as showing her own emotions and demonstrating awareness of the feelings of others. Individuals who tend to be emotionally reserved are said to be ‘‘above the line.’’ Those who are more emotionally disclosing and more aware of the feelings of others are referred to as ‘‘below the line.’’