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?
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