In any industry, especially the dental business today, it’s important to learn how to effectively work with individuals’ various personality styles. Doing this will help make your team more productive, your work environment more enjoyable, and may even allow you to anticipate and minimize potential conflicts.
Oftentimes, simple misunderstandings can be misconstrued and blown out of proportion. By appreciating the differences in people, you are preparing yourself and your personnel to provide more effective treatment presentations, gain greater acceptance from clients, and make your practice the one everyone is talking about. You are not going to change people, nor should you want to. You will simply learn how to adapt to personality differences so that you can develop successful relationships.
Your patients and team members can easily be identified and categorized by their actions and their spoken words. By having this information, your practice will be able to better problem-solve any and all situations. Two thousand years ago, Hippocrates determined the four basic personality temperaments:
1.Dominant/Driver/Choleric — the driving personality that wants results and control
2.Influence/Expressive/Sanguine— the enthusiastic personality that wants attention and positive “strokes”
3.Steadiness/Amiable/Melancholy— the steady personality that wants structure and organization
4.Competence/Analytical/Phlegmatic— the congenial personality that wants compatibility and harmony
Behavior is a strong indicator of the needs or wants of a patient or team member. Below are the personalities and their characteristics that will help you recognize and communicate well with these multifaceted individuals. Take note that not all people fall into just one category, so remember to be sensitive to the variations in the dispositions of your clients and/or team members.
1.Dominance/Driver/Choleric personalities generally ...
- Are — time conscious, dislike inaction, assertive, competitive
- Want — difficult assignments, logical approaches, opportunities for advancements
- Fear — being taken advantage of by others
To work effectively, consider — providing direct, brief, and to-the-point-answers; emphasizing efficiency and savings; reminding them of your experience and expertise; asking “what” questions
2.Influence/Expressive/Sanguine personalities generally …
- Are — talkative, need praise, speak loudly and quickly, gesture with hands
- Want — freedom of speech, favorable working conditions, interaction with people, social recognition
- Fears — loss of social approval and disharmony
To work effectively, consider — offering a friendly environment, asking open-ended questions, painting word pictures, providing follow-up
3.Steadiness/Amiable/Melancholy personalities generally …
- Are — possessive, soft spoken, good listeners, accept guidance, slow to change
- Want — time to adjust, appreciation, assurance and support, a steady work pattern
- Fears — loss of security
To work effectively, consider — expressing sincere interest in them, presenting ideas or departures from the status quo in a nonthreatening manner, using a low-pressure approach, avoid raising one’s voice
4.Competence/Analytical/Phlegmaticpersonalities generally …
- Are — reserved, like to stick to the subject, no small talk, a keen observer, like logic and facts
- Want — personal attention, praise, deadlines, controlled work environments, no sudden changes, little total responsibility
- Fears — criticism of work
To work effectively, consider — taking time to prepare your case in advance, sticking to business, focusing on the investment, offering options with concerns, providing straight pros and cons of options
According to a study by Wilson Learning Corporation, individuals who adapt their communication style to the needs and styles of others are 30% more successful in establishing productive relationships than those who do not customize communication. Each of your patients and teammates are unique, so being able to individualize communication requires you to be able to identify each personality type and then adjust your presentation based on those facts.
When person feel understood, they feel valued. When people feel valued, they will be more likely to make a commitment to you. Commitment means long-term relationships, working together to find solution, trusting each other, and feeling confident with decisions made in harmony.
Cathy Jameson is founder and CEO of Jameson Management, Inc., a company dedicated to improving the lives of dental professionals through in-office, comprehensive coaching. For more information, visit www.JamesonManagement.com.