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Management by Strengths

by Diane Hagen, on September 05, 2018
Management by Strengths, the popular team-building program, allows us to understand the basic relationship principle that we learned when we were just kidsall people are not alike. This is a relationship principle that some have trouble grasping, even as adults. We learned very quickly as children that to get what we wanted from our siblings, parents or friends, we had to communicate with each of them in different ways. Can you think of a time when you talked someone into something that they really didn’t want to do? This moment of “agreement” that resulted from communicating effectively may have been your first glimpse into your future management style.

From the moment we are born, we are wired a certain way. Can you recall a time when a relative or friend told a story about “mini you” being strong-willed or easy going? While every strength and weakness can be improved upon, each of us starts with natural responses to situations.  It’s similar to a radio frequency.  Most of us have a favorite radio station, and our car radios never come off that favorite station. To communicate effectively with others, we must tune into their radio frequency.  However, improving these techniques takes some trial and error.

Mike Postlewait, the creator of Management by Strengths, calls these frequencies “strengths.” Some may use different words, but understanding the concepts can help you communicate effectively in your work and personal life. Effective communication can be the difference between great and poor management skills.
For more than 20 years, I have been training others using the personality typing tool Management by Strengths (MBS). MBS uses a simple survey consisting of two sets of words which describe “How you really are” and “How others expect you to act.” The MBS survey takes about 10 minutes to complete and concludes by issuing you a color that represents your personality. The four color options are Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow. The colors correspond directly to your dominant communication style, temperament, personality traits, strengths, etc.

If your result is Red, this means you think communicating effectively is being direct and to the point. At times you can be so direct that those who are not Red take these words as criticism. However, at the same time, Reds may not realize their words can have this effect on others.

If your result is Green, this means you are extroverted, team-oriented, people loving, talkative, and comfortable in most any environment. With Greens, it is all about people. They tend to ask themselves, “Are the people in my world happy, sad, glad, stressed, or angry?” This caring nature towards others can make Greens very sensitive to what people say or what they think people are saying.

If your result is Blue you are easy going, schedule-oriented, not a fan of being rushed, and look the same on the best day of your life or the worst day of your life—pleasant and unruffled. Blues can be crashing and burning on the inside, but you will never know it until their long fuse runs out.

If your result is Yellow, you are structured to the max and will ask a million questions to create or improve the process. Yellows will follow their rules at all costs and will fight to the death if change is not presented to them in a way that they can accept. Sounds simple, right? Think again. It is possible to have a mixture of several of the colors, but the color assignment is based on your dominant style. 

Training on how to use MBS tools focuses on the color and always, always on the other person. That’s another very important relationship principle and leadership strength. Maturity is the ability and willingness to consider someone else above yourself. Remember that it’s not about you! Dale Carnegie said “You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”

Once you are trained in MBS, which I encourage everyone to do, and when you understand how to communicate effectively and get into agreement with the Reds, Greens, Blues and Yellows, something wonderful happens. You understand that the rest of the world is not acting the way that they do to confuse you or to upset you.  You rediscover and even embrace the relationship principle that you learned when you were young - that we are not all alike. Then you stop taking things that other people do and say personally.  Because most of the time….it’s not personal…..it’s personality! Not taking things personally opens up a whole world of possibilities. It can improve employee engagement, lessen interpersonal conflicts, improve productivity, increase creativity, make work more fun, and lessen misunderstandings which can suck our energy reserves dry. It can take communication with those that we agree with naturally to another level, and it can help us to communicate effectively with those we may normally have a difficult time understanding.

Mike Postlewait’s company has completed thousands of MBS surveys over the years, and he is firmly convinced from his experience that there is an even number of the colors in the world.  The world is made up of 25% Reds, 25% Greens, 25% Blues, and 25% Yellows.  If we go around treating everyone that we work with, live with, are friends with, and are family with based on our dominate color, then we are potentially miscommunicating with or irritating 75% of the rest of the world.  Not great odds!! 

In human resources, we see it all the time.  People hire based on skills and fire or lose employees due to fit. And what is fit?  It’s the company’s “communication style” so to speak. Business culture consists of a group of people who need to be able to communicate with each other in a positive, constructive manner in order to get into agreement about how things should operate. 

MBS may not be the answer to all of life’s problems but it can be a great tool for your team and your business culture.  

By taking the MBS training survey you will figure out what leadership strengths and management skills you excel in and how you can improve your communication at work!

For more information on scheduling a training session for your team and learning how your MBS results can improve your company’s culture, efficiency, and creativity, contact Becki Haines at bhaines@landrumhr.com.