Four Thinking Styles that will transform your effectiveness in Life and in Work.
Time to change that attitude of yours!
But first… Let’s first start with… What drives our behaviour?
Behaviour is driven by how we view ourselves (self-concept) and also how we think in certain situations. Put them together and they manifest themselves into what we say and do.
Behind every action is a thought and a self-concept motivator that can shape our perception of reality, how we relate to others, as well as how we solve problems and make decisions.
Thoughts and self-concept are the two key components that determine how we deal with situations.
Think of a common situation or stimulus and consider how you might respond / behave compared to others. It could be a crisis, problem, opportunity, challenge or fear etc. We are all uniquely different individuals… but why is it they some people respond in much more constructive and productive ways than others?
What’s the secret?
Before we can understand behaviour we must look deeper and examine the feelings and thoughts that drive that behaviour.
This is really important as part of our development, well-being, happiness and effectiveness in both work and life because our “style” of thinking can add real value and enhance what the world offers us or it can limit our chances of success. This is called self-defeating behaviour and grows from a limiting self-concept and generally negative/unhelpful thoughts.
We normally describe thoughts as an attitude. Such a shame that such a great sounding word is often overused and seldom explained.
When I was a little boy and up to no good (being naughty). My mum used to tell me that I had a problem with my attitude. In fact she would often say that my attitude stinks and that I was to go up to my room and stay there until I had changed my attitude.
I just knew this meant keeping out of the way for a while until all the fuss had died down but it seldom changed my attitude. What on earth did that mean anyway?
Apparently, my attitude had a foul odour and I needed to change it. At that young age changing my attitude meant swapping a t-shirt for a fresher one!
Obviously, my mum was a lot like other parents and spouting out the attitude slogan whilst frantically pointing to my bedroom door was dealing with my self-defeating behaviours.
What my mum should have said is that I was not behaving in an acceptable and appropriate manner and that I should challenge the way I was thinking about the current situation and the impact it was having on me and others but also the consequences of not modifying my approach in the future.
So is it little wonder that even after we are all grown up we can still hear people at work and home saying the same old “You need to change that attitude!”
The impact of Thinking (Attitude) on Performance
Our Thinking can influence:
Goals: What you aim to achieve, how you accomplish it and the quality you seek in results.
Ability to cope with stress: The way you handle life’s challenges, changes and demands. The way you deal with time pressures and obstacles that lie in your path.
Relationships: Whether or not you are able to form healthy, positive relationships and gain satisfaction from your interactions and time spent with others.
Leadership Effectiveness: Your skill and confidence in gaining enthusiastic cooperation, support and actions from others.
Yes! Your levels of success, effectiveness and satisfaction are strongly tied to the nature of your thoughts and self- concept.
I’m always on the look-out for inspirational thought starters on LinkedIn and I follow a number of highly successful people that appear to have a sound grasp of their self-concept and constructive styles of thinking that have helped them in life and / or business. One of my favourites is Richard Branson with who many can relate to through his thoughts if not his lifestyle!
And so, when we do (eventually) get to the 4 key thinking styles think of him.
Now… the wonderful thing is that you can modify your view of yourself and change the way you think about things to make a big difference to work and lifestyle choices and direction.
It’s no guarantee of being the next Richard Branson but it will certainly push you in the right direction.
The starting point is to dig down into what makes you who you are and become more self-aware.
This is also good news because we know exactly how we can help you with that!
But for those of you who have read this so far and just want to get to the 4 Thinking Styles that can transform your effectiveness in Life and work – Here they are.
Achievement Oriented Thinking
Achievement thinking is highly associated with personal effectiveness. With this thinking style there are very strong motivations to succeed and get results that matter. They are driven by strong beliefs and values in being able to improve things and make situations and results better. Satisfaction is gained from getting the job done and doing it well. Achievement thinkers are normally effective planners and problem solvers. They can often make the best leaders in work and at home too.
If you are high in Achievement Thinking it will be characterised by:
Self- Actualising Thinking
Self-Actualising thinking results in the highest form of personal fulfilment. Becoming Self-Actualised is the final step in one’s growth and maturation process. It is characterised by an unusually high acceptance of self, others and situations. Self-Actualised people are creative and imaginative and take a unique approach to life. They have a strong desire to become everything they are capable of being. They have a healthy sense of self-worth and a strong curiosity about people and things. They enjoy the moment free from the need to be approved or recognised by others. They are motivated by their own strong set of values and beliefs and use these as a behaviour driver to insulate themselves from stress and fear.
If you are high in Self Actualised Thinking it will be characterised by:
Humanistic-Encouraging is thinking about people, our tendency to care about others and the ability to encourage others to improve. Humanistic-Encouraging people are accepting of themselves and have an unconditional positive regard of other people.This belief in self and others helps Humanistic-Encouraging people to assist others in fulfilling their potential through providing a supportive climate that inspires others to stretch themselves in a positive, healthy and energetic way.They also demonstrate maturity and consideration when dealing with difficult situation and people.
If you are high in Humanistic-Encouraging Thinking it will be characterised by:
- A focused concern for the development and growth of people
- Appreciation of the strengths in others
- A belief in others potential for improvement
- Optimism about what others could accomplish
- A nurturing approach to relationships
- The willingness to assist others with self-improvement
- The ability to inspire and motivate others
The Affiliative thinking style measures our degree of commitment to form and sustain meaningful relationships. This thinking style represents a need for social interaction and interpersonal contact. Affiliative people seek out, establish, value and maintain close associations with others. Family, personal and business relationships are all equally important to Affiliative people. Others see them as warm, trusting and socially skilled.
If you are high in Affiliative Thinking it will be characterised by:
- Sharing your thoughts and feelings easily
- Valuing relationships highly
- A need to build relationships that are ,meaningful and reciprocal
- Strong, well developed interpersonal skills
- A tendency to motivate others
Of course, for most of us, to hit these 4 Thinking Styles 100% of the time is aspirational when we consider the complexities of living in the modern world today. Nobody is perfect but that is not an excuse to just plod on thinking in the same way as you have always done.
The key is to accept that there is probably work to be done in these 4 areas and go about a course of action to discover your actual thinking styles so that strengths can be recognised and self-defeating / self-limiting attitudes be challenged and re-tuned.
I observed an owner of a small hotel on a TV programme the other day. He had been given numerous snippets of feedback from his guests about his negative and sometimes unprofessional behaviour. When tackled about this by the TV people he just shrugged off any suggestion that he should / could change stating (quite proudly) that he was never going to change for anyone and if they didn’t like the way he came across then tough!
I was so disappointed with that attitude. The guy could modify just a few thought processes to engage with others in such a more positive and constructive way. This would guarantee a more positive response from others. What he would get back in return from family, friends, work colleagues and in this case probably more importantly, his customers, would transform his business, relationships and even his mental well-being and physical health.
Let’s face it… we are all slightly flawed as human beings but that doesn’t mean we should just accept who we are. We can change and change for the better by discovering who we really are, the way we think and how that forms our attitudes which then transpires in our behaviour.
I have only covered the Constructive Thinking Styles here. But did you realise there are another 8 thinking styles to consider?
The “trouble” with the others is that they highlight the self-defeating side of our belief and values system. Some are Aggressive Defensive in their nature and some are Passively Defensive. None of which, when observed at high levels provide us with feelings of satisfaction for ourselves or those around us.
At Ican Development we can validate the 4 Thinking Styles above and support you and your people through a development journey unlike any other.
We have seen the power of thinking literally transform the attitudes, behaviours and performance of hundreds of people over the years.
For more details on how we can do this have a look at our dedicated Life Styles Inventory (LSI) overview by clicking the link below.
We firmly believe that there is no better self-discovery and development tool than the LSI.
*LSI is an accredited and Licensed Tool created and designed by Human Synergistics
** Part Blog text sourced from the LSI Self-Development Guide V3.1
*** Ican Development is accredited in the provision of the tools, workshops and coaching support services
****Article written by Jason Stevens, Director, Ican Development Ltd