1. Young, Doris

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Get a grip on behavioral styles

Behaviors combine to create predictable behavioral patterns, so if you know these patterns you can identify staff members' strengths, limitations, reactions to stressful situations, and causes for discomfort, along with ways to help them achieve maximum success.


The first behavioral type wants to shape his or her environment by overcoming opposition and accomplishing immediate results. To relate most effectively with this person, make your communication brief and to the point. Respect the need for autonomy. Be clear about rules and expectations. This person will want to get down to business and make sure that all is efficient and result oriented.


A second behavioral type tends to shape his or her environment by influencing or persuading others. This person wants social interaction, so approach them informally and be relaxed and sociable. Freedom of expression is important to this staff member, so allow him or her to verbalize thoughts and feelings. Provide written details for clarification and give this person public recognition for individual accomplishments whenever possible. Be aware that these individuals are vulnerable to perceived rejection.


Next, you may encounter a behavioral style that emphasizes cooperating with others in the workplace. The goal for this person is to maintain the status quo unless given a good reason for change. When working with this individual, it's important to demonstrate loyalty and provide a consistent secure environment. Give as much advance notice as possible to changes since this individual adapts slowly. He or she may have difficulty identifying priorities and meeting deadlines, so make sure you're making your expectations very clear.


The last behavioral type is conscientious and wants to ensure quality and accuracy. This staff member desires an environment with clearly defined performance expectations, namely, a reserved, business-like atmosphere with opportunities to demonstrate expertise. For best results with this staff member, make sure you're logical and systematic in your approach. As a manager, demonstrate value for high standards. Be prepared for discomfort with ambiguity as well as resistance to vague or general information.


As a nursing leader, you can be greatly served by learning to recognize and respond appropriately to these styles.