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Every style has strengths and weaknesses. Operating from style strengths and avoiding their weaknesses is a major goal of self-management in conflict. And wouldn't it be great if people we live and work with (after all, that's who we quarrel most with) did the same thing?
In fact, you can do a lot to support people around you to function from the strengths of their styles. This is an act of care for another person, for it requires you to take steps on their behalf. But it is also a form of self-care - when others function from their best, things improve for us too.
Below are suggested support strategies for each style. None is certain to work for everyone in that style, but many are surprisingly effective on an "average" basis. We suggest you begin first with yourself. That is, read the strategies suggested for your highest scoring style. Think about which of these strategies you would welcome others to use to support you. This is important self-knowledge, that may help you to communicate clearly to others what you need from them in times of difficulty.
Then broaden your knowledge by looking at styles you may not personally favor. In this way, you position yourself to support people you live or work with to function at a higher level, which ultimately improves the atmosphere around you.
Click on the tabs for support strategies for each style.
Support Strategies for People Who Favor Directing
Here are things that make it easier for someone who favors Directing to function from the strengths of the style and avoid the dangers of over-use:
Support Strategies for People Who Favor Harmonizing
Here are things that make it easier for someone who favors Harmonizing to function from the strengths of the style and avoid the dangers of over-use:
Harmonizers want to please and be pleased. Pay attention to small social niceties. More than any other style, Harmonizers will be positively affected by gestures of thoughtfulness – a kind note, an appreciative comment, flowers, a chocolate bar, a card, etc.
You will get more cooperativeness in doing serious work with Harmonizers if you use a two-step approach. First, connect with them at a human level. Ask how they are doing, inquire about a family member, tease a little, thank them for something, etc. Then, and only then, settle down to business. The human connection comes before work for Harmonizers (an insight that is especially easy for task-oriented Directors to forget).
Stay light. Seriousness or heaviness in others quickly stirs anxiety in Harmonizers and makes it hard for them to focus or stay on task. Use humor. Be affirmative. Appreciate the relationship or their good qualities out loud if you can honestly do so.
Assure Harmonizers repeatedly that you really want to know their preferences and views. Thank them sincerely if they do level with you. If they bring criticism, thank them generously, for it requires great effort for Harmonizers to be direct with criticism. Reward their candor with warmth; if you do not, candor from their side will disappear from the relationship.
In meetings or extended conversations with Harmonizers, take breaks and lighten up on a regular basis. Long, heavy discussion unsettles Harmonizers and pushes them to unhelpful places more quickly than other styles.
Support Strategies for People Who Favor Avoiding
Here is information useful for people around someone who favors Avoiding. The goal is to make it easier for the Avoider to function from the strengths of the style and avoid the dangers of over-use:
Support Strategies for People Who Favor Cooperating
Here is information useful for people around someone who favors Cooperating. The goal is to make it easier for the Cooperator to function from the strengths of the style and avoid the dangers of over-use:
Support Strategies for People Who Favor Compromising
Here is information useful for people around someone who favors Compromising. The goal is to make it easier for the Compromiser to function from the strengths of the style and avoid the dangers of over-use:
Compromisers have a strong sense of reciprocity. More than other styles, they are likely to respond in kind if you back off somewhat from your initial position. Leave room to negotiate for yourself when you make your opening request.
As you get familiar with the styles, you will find you can recognize style preferences even in strangers, and you will have useful clues for how to respond in situations that previously confounded you.
Go to a template enabling easy editing of the information above so you can create a MySupport Page of strategies that work best for you.