What is Your Influencing Style?
Influencing styles can be categorized into three different types: directive, consultative, and participative. Alexander Djerassi, an expert on business communication, explains these different styles in his book “The Pill, Pygmy Chimps, and Degas’ Horse”.
A directive influencing style is one in which the individual gives orders and expects them to be followed. This type of influencer often has a strong personality and can be quite demanding. They are typically task-oriented and results-driven. Directive influencers are the people who would say that management is “getting things done through others.” Djerassi uses Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, and Adolf Hitler as examples of directive influencers.
A participative influencing style is characterized by supportiveness, collaboration, and nurturing relationships. Participative influencers typically have a positive attitude and are good at building consensus. They see themselves as team players and are motivated by the success of the group. Djerassi uses Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. as examples of participative influencers.
A consultative influencing style is one in which the individual provides information without prescribing what should be done. This type of influencer often wants others to make their own decisions and wants to share information, but expects them to do the same. Consultative influencers are more interested in solving problems than they are with getting things done. Djerassi uses Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Alexander Hamilton as examples of consultative influencers.
Business influencing styles can also be viewed on a continuum. Directive influencing scores high on power and low on consideration, while consultative scores the opposite. Participation is in between. Alexander Djerassi explains that his model is drawn from clinical psychology, business, and organizational behavior. It is not drawn from management theory. Individuals usually have a dominant influencing style but can also use styles from the other ends of the continuum when influenced by culture or mood.
A major aspect of Djerassi’s model is that he believes individuals understand their own influencing behavior better than anyone else. Managers should use their understanding of their own style to improve their effectiveness when working with subordinates. Furthermore, individuals should be aware of their differences with others so they can minimize the effects of their differences. For example, an individual who prefers a participative style may not work well with someone who is directive because the latter will often take over decision-making.
When managers are hiring new employees, it can also be helpful to consider styles as they interview potential candidates. A directive style may clash with a participative style, while a consultative style may be more compatible. In addition, if a manager needs to give bad news, it might be better for him or her to use a directive style.
Although it is important to know what one’s own influencing style is, individuals should try and become flexible so they can use different styles when the situation calls for it. Djerassi believes that more effective leaders understand their own style, but are also able to use other styles when necessary.
Therefore, Djerassi’s model of influencing styles can be used to help individuals understand their own behavior, improve relationships with others, and make better hiring decisions. It is a valuable tool for understanding the complexities of human interaction.