Integrators: How to spot one and what to do about it

Integrators

I previously shared thoughts on how to recognize and work with Drivers and Pioneers. In this third installment I’ll address how to know when you’re working with an Integrator, and what to do about it. Because of course, doing something about it is really the point of Business Chemistry.

Spotting an Integrator

Integrator motto: Consensus Rules!

The Integrator’s strongest traits are their tendency to avoid confrontation and seek consensus, their empathy, and their tolerance of ambiguity.

Integrators are connectors. They connect with people, emphasizing relationships and striving to be helpful. And they connect ideas. Their way of thinking is nonlinear, big-picture, and contextual. They’re also traditional, trusting, and dutiful.

Integrators tend to think through decisions carefully and to seek a lot of input from others, trying to get a sense of whether people are in agreement. They’re not particularly keen on risk-taking, but if they see the group heading in that direction they may be inclined to get on board. The people-implications of a decision are likely to be important to an Integrator and they’ll consider these carefully. They’re also prone to changing their mind, which I’ve written about before.

Tips for Working with an Integrator

Integrators tend to have strong people-skills and you can best relate to them by showing off your own relationship-building chops. Be friendly and personal in a way that’s authentic for you. Listen actively, make eye contact, and lean into the conversation, making your interest known. Express some emotion and use stories about people to illustrate any facts or analysis you hope to share with an Integrator. And please… don’t skip the small talk, confront them in an aggressive manner, brag, interrupt, or remain aloof. That’s just not going to work.

If you want a few more specific tips, that depends on your own type:

If you’re a Pioneer, you’re likely to have a lot in common with an Integrator, including a tendency toward big picture-thinking, an appreciation for context, and an expressive, collaborative style. Your story-telling skills will be asset, and if you can make your stories about people, even better. The Integrator is likely to move a bit more slowly than you and to spend more energy on gauging the opinions of other people, so hold your horses and indulge their desire to bring others along for the ride.

If you’re a Guardian, the Integrator shares your distaste for confrontation, so make sure any issues that need to be discussed are surfaced and not ignored-there can be just enough room for an elephant or two to hide between a Guardian and an Integrator. Be patient with discussions that may seem tangential, an Integrator’s way of thinking through an issue may be more round-about than yours. Start with some personal connections before launching into planning, and then provide the facts and structure that an Integrator may not naturally seek, as well as the context they need.

If you’re a Driver, you may need to stop revving your engine for a minute. Your tendency to be highly goal-focused and your accompanying blunt approach might offend an Integrator. It’s not that Integrators don’t care about achievement, but they usually also care deeply about how the pursuit of goals affects people. Do your best to consider the people-implications and to connect personally with an Integrator before jumping into business.

If you’re an Integrator yourself, you’re likely to have an easy and enjoyable time working with another Integrator, but you’ll want to watch out for getting stuck in an endless loop of considering and reconsidering every option. And, you may want to suggest having the difficult conversation, diplomatically of course, when there is something that needs to be addressed, as together you might tend toward sweeping things under the rug.

Integrators out there, any other advice?

Read the other posts in this series, about Drivers, Pioneers, and Guardians. Subscribe to be sure you don’t miss future posts!

Dr. Suz

Suzanne Vickberg, PhD (aka Dr. Suz)
Dr. Suz is the LCC’s very own social-personality psychologist, which means she studies how people’s thoughts, behaviors and preferences are influenced by both who they are and the situations they’re in. She uses Business Chemistry to help teams explore how the mix of perspectives brought by their individual members influences their work together.
Follow her on Twitter @DrSuzBizChem

This publication contains general information only, and none of the member firms of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, its member firms, or their related entities (collective, the “Deloitte Network”) is, by means of this publication, rendering professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser. No entity in the Deloitte Network shall be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person who relies on this publication.
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28 thoughts on “Integrators: How to spot one and what to do about it

  1. You’re absolutely correct about there being no point in being aggresive, braggy, or interrupting. When those characters come into play it makes me think of the person as less genuine. As an integrator, working together with genuine people is one of the things that makes it worth it. Being able to help somebody out that really needs it, connecting on a level outside of work, and sharing a good story always makes it worth it in the end.

    I’ve got a theory that my current manager is a driver. It’s led to some very interesting conversations when it comes to checking regulatory and compliance requirements for a client. She is very logical and focused and I always try to think of it from the client’s point of view, trying to figure out how to explain a certain observation. It’s led to a lot of interesting discussions and I’ve learned over time that the best way to make my point is to have logic behind my approach and opinions. It’s made the conversations much easier to get to a conclusion and in the end both the client and our team is happier, (she said as a true integrator).

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    1. All of the things you’ve listed here are reasons that people report Integrators are the type they most enjoy working with! And you’re clearly taking the message of Business Chemistry to heart–negotiating your own preferred style, that of your boss, and that of your client. You sound like a true Integrator indeed. 🙂

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