Now that you’ve learned how to recognize and better work with Drivers, Pioneers, and Integrators, this final post in the series will address spotting and working with Guardians. After reading all four you’ll be that much closer to Business Chemistry ninja status.
Spotting a Guardian
Guardian motto: Changing the World, One Spreadsheet at a Time
Methodical. That’s the number one characteristic of the Guardian. They’re also structured, meticulous, focused on the details, and practical. If you’re paying attention to these things a Guardian is easy to spot, but because they’re also reserved, they don’t always make themselves known. You may need to be on the lookout for them.
Guardians are also likely to be conventional, hierarchical, disciplined, and frugal. They’re likely to speak slowly, or, as the most introverted of the four types, not at all, especially if others are dominating the conversation or fighting for the floor.
When it comes to making decisions, a Guardian usually isn’t in a hurry. They’re most comfortable with what’s familiar and they tend to be risk averse, so when making a decision that involves a new direction they’re going to want to check every detail. They may seek out benchmarks and best practices to ground the decision and make them more comfortable with a change. They’ll likely use a deliberate and methodical process for reaching a decision and once they’ve made up their mind they’re unlikely to change it. I’ve written before about the Guardian’s tendency to go with the status quo.
Tips for Working with a Guardian
Guardians respond well to concrete facts, proven principles, and established practices, so offer those up if they’re available. When you make a plan with a Guardian they’re going to expect you to stick with it. If you don’t, they may see you as unreliable. They also highly value loyalty, so demonstrating that can take you far. A Guardian craves details, so be ready with those and be prepared to answer lots of questions, address possible risks, and clarify uncertainties. Stay calm and if you can, take the emotion out of your arguments.
Depending on your own type, you may need to flex more or less to meet a Guardian where they are:
If you’re an Integrator, a Guardian will likely appreciate your tendency to be introspective and considered-its something you have in common. Your non-confrontational style can also be an asset, because a Guardian is likely to be as conflict-avoidant as you are. Just make sure that important issues do get addressed when they need to, even if they’re difficult to broach. You may need to adjust your level of structure and focus a bit to fit with a Guardian-your non-linear thinking style can feel scattered to them and your big-picture focus won’t give them the specifics they’re likely to need.
If you’re a Driver, you may need to access your reserve tank of patience. Like you, Guardians thrive on facts and data, but they’re likely to need more of both than you are and they’ll probably take longer in considering them. Be prepared to continue reviewing the details even if you’ve already reached a conclusion yourself, and don’t attempt to take short-cuts.
If you’re a Pioneer, maybe bring it down a notch. Not only are Guardians composed themselves, but they value composure in others and your high energy approach may be off-putting. Guardians also tend to have a high level of respect for rules and hierarchy, so now is not the time to flaunt your propensity toward rule-breaking. Try to be on time, follow through with your commitments, stick to the process, and ground your big ideas in facts. And please, don’t neglect the details.
If you’re a Guardian yourself, you’ll likely appreciate being with someone who gets you. But two Guardians together may soon find themselves drowning in details. Watch out for analysis paralysis and encourage each other to move forward. You may run into difficulty if your “way of doing things” is different from your Guardian colleague’s way, as you’re both likely to want to stick to what you know best. So flex where you can and maybe they’ll do the same.
Guardians out there, any other advice?
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