How do you work? Part 2 (with others)

In my last blog post I talked about the four different types of workers

1. Meaning 2. Structure 3. Caring 4. Action

Oftentimes you’ll have different types in your team and with differences, frustrations will occur. Here's a cheat sheet so you can start to understand the relational dynamics within your team.

Meaning with Action: common frustrations

Meaning gets upset because Action cuts off his process and doesn’t value his intellectual discussions. Wanting to jump in without much thought is insanity to Meaning and completely disconcerts him. When he doesn't understand why, he feels there is no point to the project and he will dig his heels in until he gets an answer.

Action thinks it's foolish to waste time sitting around talking about the project when they could be half done with it already. He sees Meaning's resistance to moving and he feels like Meaning is trying to undermine the project.

Meaning with Structure:  common frustrations

Meaning struggles to converse and get on the same page with Structure. Meaning wants everything to make sense based on the vision and goals. And Structure doesn’t talk in those terms. Meaning feels Structure is asking the wrong questions. Meaning wonders... Why ask how when we don’t even know why? Or even if this project matters at all.

Structure doesn't know why Meaning has to talk so loftily and conceptually. It's all hot air to him. He wants data and a decision made so he can make a plan.


Structure with Action: common frustrations

Structure wishes Action would stop to think before diving in. He would be so much more effective and not waste time doing things without a plan or direction. Structure wishes Action would stop shooting and aim first.

Action feels like Structure is too slow to get moving. He wishes Structure would plan a little less and do a little more.


Caring with Action, Structure, Meaning: common frustrations

Action doesn't want Caring to be asking if he's okay and whether he has any thoughts. Of course he's okay! He just wants to work.

Structure is looking for someone to stand up and make a decision. He's annoyed that Caring is trying to get a consensus in the group, it's wasting time and he just wants a decision. Who cares if everyone likes it as long as it's the most logical.

Meaning doesn't like that Caring isn't concerned with the purpose behind the decision, but rather the feeling that the decision evokes.

Caring only gets upset (with any of the above people) if he feels hindered from taking care of the needs of the group, or that everyone's contribution isn't being valued and considered.


How to avoid these frustrations:

1. Be aware that Meaning, Structure, Caring, and Action, all have different agendas. 2. Recognize the role each plays and why each agenda is valuable to the group and needed for a successful project. 3. Have stages to address each person’s agenda and role. First a stage to talk about why we’re doing the project, then a stage to talk about how we’re going to do the project, a stage to make sure everyone is in agreement, and then finally give it to Action and let him take it away.