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How to find the right working style in each situation

Different working styles all have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. A working strategy that is productive and helpful in one particular situation, could be an obstacle or problem for the next. Of course, each of us strives towards professional development by combining many positive characteristics of the different working styles as possible, and trying to avoid the disadvantages and risks.

Of course it is not possible to change personality overnight but there are ways to at least temporarily use a different working style to your own advantage.

The most common types of working styles

1. The Meticulous Planner …

… Is very well organized. Their detailed daily schedule ensures that no important tasks get set to one side or forgotten about. However, the meticulous planner can struggle with flexibility and this can be expressed or viewed as confusion, nervousness or irritation when reacting to unforeseen incidents.

2. The Straightforward …

… Doesn’t like to waste time and takes “the bull by the horns”, without talking too much about it. They are fully committed to the cause and drive others towards progress. However, they can find it hard to delegate tasks and proceed in a planned manner. The ‘straightforward’ pursues their objectives with no regard for others and this attitude can have a demotivating effect on those who do not keep up the pace. They likes to act promptly when presented with urgent matters, but may not pay attention to all the details.

3. The Curious …

… Tries out and experiments new approaches. They are open to new ideas and are very enthusiastic. Unfortunately, he tends to neglect the routine duties and to postpone unpleasant tasks. Work can be quite fragmented if this type of worker is not given a solid framework with clear tasks.

4. The Devoted …

… Deals with full commitment, ambition and passion for their duties, and is emotionally involved with projects, tasks and the achievement of his goals. This type of worker finds it hard to say “no” and therefore tends to work overtime. Working too much can affect the work/social life balance and lead to demotivation.

5. The Dawdler …

… Enjoys, relaxes and can be caught daydreaming. More often than not, time management, for this type of worker is a struggle and therefore daily tasks can be neglected.

6. The Perfectionist …

… Works meticulously, has an eye for detail and regularly creates masterpieces. You can always rely on the perfectionist. However, as a consequence of the need for perfection, lower priority tasks can have more time than is necessary devoted to them, potentially taking time away from those important task that require perfection.

7. The Procrastinator …

… Checks tasks, goals and solutions several times before actually beginning the project. They can see potential risks and doesn’t embark on a task without having considered it deeply. However, the ‘procrastinator’ loses time and focus leading to feelings of being overwhelmed and discouraged.

How to expand your repertoire of working styles

To help you remember all of the characteristics of each working style you could write down them out on index cards (the positive ones on the front and the negative on the back), and have the cards as a visual aid on your desk. When you find you are struggling with a certain task or situation, spread the cards out and consider what qualities you need to come to an optimal solution.

When you have found the most important and relevant characteristics that can help you complete the task to the best of your ability, turn the card over and also consider the negative aspects of this approach so that you can avoid falling into this trap.  Put all the other cards aside and leave only the cards that are important for the current task on your desk, making sure they are clearly visible.

How to get yourself started in a new working style.

To adopt a new working style requires a little practice. The easiest way to learn how to master the different approaches is to see yourself as an actor in a role-play. For example, play the role of the ‘Perfectionist’, each time you have to accomplish a task which is very important to you but you really don’t feel like working on it. Correct meticulously your results before you finish the job and take the time to look again carefully whether you have fulfilled the task fully.  Or, if you’re working under pressure for a few days, give yourself a ‘Dawdler-hour’ and take a monet to collect your thoughts and energy by ignoring the stack of papers on your desk. While your mind is regenerating, the requests of your customers can be handled by the virtual secretaries of that will answer the phone on your behalf.

If you find yourself with a lack of focus and are jumping back and forth between tasks, then play the role of the ‘Meticulous Planner’. Sit down in the morning at your desk and plan the tasks you want to accomplish during the day and how much time you want to devote to each task. And then stick to it!

By playing a different role every day you will quickly learn how to automatically switch from a working style to another according to the situation, and how to use the correct working style to your own advantage.

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