Luke Ross outlines why the development of Behavioural Versatility is so vital to workplace relationships and organisational success
Research shows that behavioural styles will generally fall into four categories, and this means that 75% of behavioural styles will be different to yours. Effective navigation of these differences in the workplace through Behavioural Versatility is the key to success, yet Behavioural Versatility receives very little attention in most interpersonal effectiveness programs. Instead, most programs focus on helping the individual understand themselves.
Behavioural Versatility is the ability to accept, accommodate and support the behavioural preferences of other people. It is a measure of interpersonal effectiveness and indicates a person’s ability to interact effectively and gain the support of co-workers, regardless of differences in behavioural style.
Individuals who have high Behavioural Versatility focus on getting the best out of others by supporting the other person’s behavioural preferences. They make other people comfortable by managing interpersonal tension effectively.
People with low Behavioural Versatility expect others to behave just like them. They often make others uncomfortable and create unproductive tension in the workplace.
What are the benefits?
Research shows that Behavioural Versatility has a significant impact on leadership performance, and leaders with higher Behavioural Versatility:
- perform better on 46 out of 47 leadership competencies
- are 17% more effective at supporting diversity and inclusiveness
- are 27% more effective at leading teams
- are 25% more effective at coaching others Research also shows that Behavioural
Versatility has a significant impact on nonleader performance. Non-leaders with higher Behavioural Versatility:
- perform better on 14 core workplace competencies
- are 27% more effective at managing conflict
- are 26% more likely to positively influence others
- are 22% more likely to express opinions in an effective way
The good news is, Behavioural Versatility is a learned skill. It is not a stable personality trait and is a function of the behavioural decisions you make as you interact with co-workers across these four domains:
How do you develop behavioural versatility in the workplace?
- Image – Do you dress to please yourself or meet others’ expectations?
- Presentation – Do you communicate in a way that is easiest for you or focus on making it easier for the listener?
- Competence – Do you focus on your objectives or on helping others achieve theirs?
- Feedback – Is your view the right one or do you try to understand theirs?
Developing Versatility starts with a multi-rater assessment. Research consistently shows that we are a very poor judge of our Behavioural Versatility, and specifically Tracom research shows that people with low Versatility (as seen by others) have an artificially high view of their own Versatility.
Next, a training program will show people how to be Versatile. The most effective way to do this is to ensure the program shows individuals how to profile others so that they can predict and accept behaviour different to their own. Additionally, it needs to teach individuals how to accurately adjust their image, presentation, competence and feedback to suit others.
The following two questions are a useful way to evaluate your organisation’s approach to developing interpersonal effectiveness:
- Do your programs contain a multi-rater assessment of Behavioural Versatility?
- Do your programs focus 75% of their time on showing people how to profile others and teaching them how to be Versatile (as opposed to focusing on understanding their own styles)?
If you would like more information on a Behavioural Versatility Program that has been used by 3,282,503 individuals in 18 languages and with 32 country norms – Social Style & Versatility – please visit the team at www.socialintelligence.com.au.
The Social Intelligence Group is the Master Trainer and Distributor for Tracom in Australia and New Zealand. They certify trainers to deliver the Tracom Social Intelligence Programs and provide the program materials. Luke Ross is a Registered Psychologist and the Director of the Social Intelligence Group.