Integrators value connection and they draw teams together

*This is the final post in a four-part series about the Business Chemistry types. Check out the first, second, and third posts in the series, about Pioneers, Guardians, and Drivers respectively. Subscribe here so you don’t miss future posts! 

CONNECTION—that’s what it’s all about for Integrators, and connector is the role they often play on a team. Sometimes an Integrator is focused on creating connections between people, and other times on connections between ideas. Either way, Integrators like working on teams more than toiling away in solitude. They’re trusting and they forge deep relationships—beyond networking or teamwork—getting up close and personal to form real friendships with colleagues. 

And there are lots of reasons you’d want to be friends with an Integrator. For one thing, they go out of their way to be helpful. You know that one colleague who’s always happy to pitch in and does so with a smile? They’re probably an Integrator.

Integrators are great listeners and observers too. They pay close attention to what’s being said and can often sense even unspoken emotions and reactions. And then they take others’ feelings into account. An Integrator knows that sticks and stones aren’t the only things that can hurt relationships—words can too, and they bear this in mind when they consider how to deliver a message. Integrators place a high value on traditions, and this too reflects their sensitivity to the feelings of others. After all, where do traditions come from? People. And from the Integrator’s perspective, things that are important to people deserve respect.

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Drivers value challenge and they generate momentum

*This is the third post in a four-part series about the Business Chemistry types. Check out the first and second posts in the series, about Pioneers and Guardians, respectively, and watch for the upcoming post about Integrators. Subscribe here so you don’t miss it! 

Ask people the best thing about Drivers, and a clear theme emerges: They get sh*t done. Even when it’s difficult. Especially when it’s difficult. Because if you had to capture the spirit of Drivers in a word, it would be CHALLENGE. Drivers love a challenge, and they love to challenge. They are focused and competitive. To get the results they want, Drivers will calculate the shortest possible path and stay on course despite whatever, or whoever, gets in their way. This directness infuses everything they do, from the way they make decisions to the way they interact with others. They like to get to the point.

Drivers are not the warmest and fuzziest of the types. They don’t mince words and they don’t sugarcoat. Expecting small talk? Drivers see it as a waste of time. No clear agenda? Come back when you have one. Vague ambitions? Intuitive conclusions? Emotional interpretations? Good luck with that. Drivers are logical, technical, and quantitative. They want data and structure. Try to engage them without these things, and they have no qualms voicing their displeasure. Even if you do arrive armed with facts, don’t expect Drivers to accept them at face value. They will likely question your data, dispute your premise, and argue with your conclusion. But often that’s not a bad sign. Drivers are competitive and love to debate. They respect someone that can go toe to toe with them—and they don’t give out points to people who are self-eff acing. Tell a Driver you’re not that good at something and, chances are, they will believe you.

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Guardians value stability and they bring order and rigor

This is the second post in a four-part series about the Business Chemistry types. Read the post first in the series, about Pioneers, and watch out for the upcoming posts about Drivers and Integrators. Subscribe here so you don’t miss them!

If we had to pick one word to represent what the Guardian values, it would be STABILITY. A Guardian knows it’s essential to forge a solid foundation before building anything skyward. And when it comes to how the Guardian does things, many aspects of their working style serve to establish and maintain such stability. They’re methodical, careful, disciplined, meticulous, and exacting. (How else to ensure a foundation is sound?) Guardians believe it’s important to follow a structured process when completing a task, and they like a bit of structure in their work environments and meetings too.

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Pioneers value possibilities and spark energy and imagination

*This first post in a four-part series about the Business Chemistry types. Post two, about Guardians, has since been posted as well. Watch out for posts three (about Drivers), and four (about Integrators). Subscribe here so you don’t miss them!

If we could capture the essence of the Pioneer in one word, it would be POSSIBILITIES. Pioneers love imagining what could be and don’t hesitate to reach beyond the status quo. Expressions like “What if…?”, “Picture this…”, “Yes, and…”, and “Why not?” are music to a Pioneer’s ears, and often are lead-ins to lively brainstorms. Pioneers are big fans of collaborative idea generation. They’re very comfortable with ambiguity, and highly adaptable to change—whether they’re the ones initiating it, as is often the case, or not.

Strong Pioneers tend to be easy to spot because they’re typically high energy and outgoing. They’re the ones you can hear all the way down the hallway before you even get to the conference room. Or more likely, you’ll hear them coming down the hallway as you wait in the conference room, because they’ll be running late. They have little regard for rigid structure, and an almost allergic aversion to details. That agenda the team put together so painstakingly? Don’t expect the Pioneers to follow it. Their thinking can be non-linear and resists constraint. That detailed review of the pivot table analysis you had planned? Their eyes will blur and their minds will wander as you strain what paltry patience they possess. But give them a juicy, open-ended challenge and a whiteboard, and they’ll be formidable idea generators.

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Can an introvert be a good leader?

Stereotypes about leadership could be preventing you from seeing the unique strengths and potential of some of your most talented employees.

Do you think of leaders as outgoing, sometimes larger-than-life individuals who command attention? If so, you may have a hard time seeing an introvert as a good leader. And those misconceptions may be stopping you from promoting some of your best and most talented employees.

While some people may view being quiet and reserved as a leadership weaknesses, an introvert’s ability to be a thoughtful listener can help them be successful in strategic roles. 

Learn more about recognizing the unique advantages of introvert leaders and the strengths they offer their organizations in this new article published by Multibriefs “Can an introvert be a good leader?

Yes! You can save a challenging business relationship

Business Chemistry can help you build stronger business relationships.

Executive leaders can build successful teams and maintain productive relationships with business stakeholders by understanding and leveraging cognitive diversity.

The CIO of a global manufacturing company was elbows-deep in a multiyear enterprise resource planning (ERP) transformation when her organization hired its first marketing chief. She enthusiastically made room on her busy calendar to meet with the new CMO, but her interest began to fade when the CMO arrived late to the meeting. As he presented a series of visionary ideas about mobile marketing analytics and AI, the CIO found herself impatiently tapping her foot. “I don’t have time to waste on blue-sky ideas,” she thought, making a mental note to avoid him until after the ERP implementation was complete.

Can this relationship be saved?  Deloitte LLP’s Kim Christfort and Suzanne Vickberg share perspectives on building stronger relationships in a new article published in the Wall Street Journal.

The Chemistry of Trust: 8 Ways to Build More of It

What if you could be the kind of leader whose team had increased energy, was more productive, collaborated better with their colleagues, and stayed with your organization longer? What if your people suffered less chronic stress and were happier with their lives?

In the Neuroscience of Trust, published in a recent issue of Harvard Business Review, Paul Zak suggests that you can be that kind of leader by increasing trust on your team. He proposes eight management behaviors to help you do so. In considering his ideas, I matched his suggestions up against the Business Chemistry types, knowing that different things make the various types tick. Here are the eight proposed behaviors and the types with which they’re most likely to be effective…

Induce “challenge” stress. Zak suggests that challenge stress, brought on by assigning teams difficult but achievable tasks, releases chemicals in our brains that increase social connections. This technique may be particularly effective for Drivers, who are more likely than the other types to report that they thrive in the face of challenging tasks. 1

Give people discretion in how they do their work. In other words, enable autonomy by allowing people to complete projects in their own way—if you trust your people, they’re more likely to trust you. When asked about autonomy, Pioneers and Drivers (particularly D-Scientists) say it’s more important to them than Integrators and Guardians do.

Enable job crafting. Job crafting means, in part, empowering people to choose which projects they work on. This technique may be particularly successful with Pioneers, who are the most likely type to say they thrive when they have opportunities to learn and try new things. Who knows better which work has the right level of “new” than your people themselves?

Share information widely. Zak suggests that lack of information about an organization’s direction can cause chronic stress among employees. Cultivating trust by sharing such information may be most essential with Guardians, who our research suggests experience the highest levels of stress, and are also the type most likely to say clear expectations are important to them.

Recognize excellence. A little recognition is likely to go long a long way for all types of people, but our research shows that Guardians and Integrators are more likely than Pioneers and Drivers to say that recognition is a key ingredient for them to thrive at work. Given that the work of these types can sometimes go unseen, acknowledging their contributions could be a particularly effective trust-builder with them.

Intentionally build relationships. Zak cites his own research suggesting that creating social ties at work improves performance. This may be particularly valuable with Integrators, who are the most relationship-focused type and also the most likely to say that working with people they enjoy is a priority for them. A little bit of focused attention to relationship-building can help in creating mutual trust.

Facilitate whole person growth. By whole-person growth Zak means helping people grow both professionally and personally, and that can mean different things for different people. While all the types put a high priority on a feeling of accomplishment, Drivers, particularly D-Commanders, are more likely than the other types to say advancement is important to them, while Guardians and Integrators prioritize work-life balance more than others, and Pioneers are the most likely type to say it’s important to know they’re making a difference in the world. When your people know you understand them and see them as people, not just employees, they’re more likely to put their trust in you.

Show vulnerability: As a leader, being vulnerable enough to ask for help when you need it is perhaps one of the scariest but most effective means of role-modeling trust. Doing so demonstrates to all types of people that asking for help is okay, that they can trust you enough to ask when they need it. By asking your people to have your back, you’ll show them that you’re going to have theirs. And isn’t that really what trust is all about?

Dr. Suz

Suzanne Vickberg, PhD (aka Dr. Suz)

Dr. Suz is the Greenhouse Team’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

1Research findings in this post are based on a study with 13,885 professionals of varying levels working outside Deloitte, in the US and elsewhere. Participants represent more than 1,200 organizations across various industries, and 115 countries overall. During the period of February, 2016 to November, 2016 participants completed the Business Chemistry assessment online and also answered questions about their career aspirations, career priorities, and the working conditions under which they thrive. For each question, respondents were asked to select their top three options out of a list of 10. The margin error for this sample is less than two percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level, for all Business Chemistry types.

Business Chemistry Featured in Harvard Business Review Spotlight on the New Science of Teamwork

1417 MarApr17 Cover_CMYK.inddPioneers, Drivers, Integrators, and Guardians

Every team is a mix of these personality types. Here’s how to get the best out of any combination.

by Suzanne M. Johnson Vickberg and Kim Christfort

Published in Harvard Business Review, March/April, 2017

Organizations aren’t getting the performance they need from their teams. That’s the message we hear from many of our clients, who wrestle with complex challenges ranging from strategic planning to change management. But often, the fault doesn’t lie with the team members, our research suggests. Rather, it’s often leaders who fail to effectively tap diverse work styles and perspectives—even at the senior-most levels. Business Chemistry can help.

A first step is to identify the work styles of your team members and begin to consider how similarities and differences are beneficial or problematic. How many detail-oriented Guardians do you have versus big picture Pioneers? What’s the balance of competitive Drivers with consensus-oriented Integrators? How are these diverse styles complementing or conflicting with one another?

Next, it’s time to actively manage those similarities and differences. Read our full article in Harvard Business Review for more detail on these strategies for doing so.

  • Pull your opposites closer. Often, the biggest pain points are in one-on-one relationships, when opposite styles collide. By pulling your opposites closer—having them work together on small projects, and then bigger ones if it’s working out—you can begin to create complementary partnerships on your teams. It’s also important to pull your own opposites closer to you, to balance your tendencies as a leader.
  • Elevate the “tokens” on your team. When a team’s makeup is lopsided, cognitive bias can creep in, often leading to “cascades” or momentum that carries the team in the direction of the most common viewpoint. Your goal here should be to elevate minority perspectives on the team without turning others off. This way you can benefit from all the perspectives represented, not just those in the majority.
  • Pay close attention to your sensitive introverts. While a cascading team may lose out on contributions from any style that’s in the minority, members who are most introverted or sensitive can be at greatest risk of being drowned out. So that you don’t lose out on the unique strengths brought by these types, make an effort to understand how the team’s ways of working are supporting them to make their best contribution, or not.

Dr. Suz

Suzanne Vickberg, PhD (aka Dr. Suz)

Dr. Suz is the Greenhouse Team’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


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