Our friends at GLD Associates in the UK had this great article in their most recent newsletter. They have graciously allowed me to share with all of you.
by Graham Willson and Hazelann Lorkins
GLD Training Associates
Sarah was enjoying her new customer services role in the organisation where she’d worked for a number of years. There was only one fly in the ointment and that was the fact that she couldn’t stand her new manager, Tony. She considered him unbelievably rude and she was not alone – when she consulted her colleagues she discovered that they too found him ‘difficult’.
Things became so bad that HR had to become involved. However, although Tony accepted the evidence against him, he was baffled by it and therefore unable to change his ways. HR were equally in a dilemma since Tony was a highly successful manager in that he delivered results consistently.
What was going on?
Apparently, for instance, during meetings Tony was in the habit of working at his laptop appearing to take no notice of the proceedings. He would blank people in the corridor and, in the middle of discussions, he would cut people off in mid-flow and move the meeting on. He would inform his staff of decisions that he’d made without consultation and seemed unsympathetic towards feedback.
There was no denying he got results but this seemed to be at the expense of staff morale.
What could be done?
We live in a blame culture but pointing fingers only makes matters worse. Tony understood that his subordinates were unhappy but was baffled as to why given that the department was so successful. His staff recognized and enjoyed the fact that their department was doing well but were resentful that Tony didn’t seem to appreciate their contribution towards that success.
In circumstances such as these the danger is that things can become personal. However, when we apply Michael Grinder’s Cats and Dogs analogy to the situation we can see that this is simply a clash of behavioural styles.
Tony’s behaviour at work is ‘high Cat’ – his focus is on productivity, he enjoys making decisions and becomes frustrated when discussions go off-topic. He does what needs to be done to achieve the targets and assumes that everyone else shares his motivation.
His staff on the other hand, being in Customer Services, are mostly ‘high Dog’. They are concerned about morale and rapport as well as achieving results. They enjoy gathering information and need to feel included.
The fact that Cats don’t do small talk and often fail to give sufficient acknowledgement to their Dogs is why Dogs consider the Cats are rude. When Dogs recognize the positive intentions of the Cats and understand that it’s just about behavioural style, it is easier for them to avoid taking things personally.
When the Cats understand that even a small amount of acknowledgement will go a very long way they will gain far greater support from their Dogs.
If you’d like to discover more about how an understanding of ‘Cat and Dog’ behavioural styles can help you in your professional and personal worlds, then a great place to start is Michael Grinder’s book, “Charisma – The Art of Relationships.” It also makes a great Christmas gift! Click here for more information.
Until next time,
Graham Willson and Hazelann Lorkins