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Identifying Behavioral Styles

Identifying Behavioral Styles

By Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed.

Learning about behavioral styles is extremely helpful for creating better teamwork and increased productivity. As a bonus, behavioral styles are easy to learn and only four main styles exist.

Naturally, everyone is a blend of the four styles, but usually one or two stand out as dominant. Once we identify someone’s preferred, or dominant, style, we can learn how to adapt our approach when talking with that person to optimize communication.

That said, it’s always important to learn about ourselves first. If we don’t know our own style, it’s difficult to adapt adequately to someone else’s style.

How to Identify the Four Styles

Let me ask you to imagine a circle. Now imagine a vertical line that bisects the circle, creating two equal halves. Think of that line as a spectrum on which we can create plot points. At the top we can plot people who are strongly task focused, and at the bottom we can plot those who are strongly focused on people.

Between the top and the bottom are gradients. Someone scoring in the middle would be equally focused on tasks and people, while someone’s scoring between the middle and the top would be focused on tasks 75% of the time and people 25% of the time. Conversely, someone scoring between the middle and the bottom would favor people 75% of the time and tasks 25% of the time. Again, think gradients.

Since self-awareness is always the best starting point, estimate where you think you would score on this line.

Now imagine a horizontal line that divides the circle into top and bottom halves. On the far left of that line is the plot point for people who are quite reserved and prefer taking their time when faced with high risk decisions. On the far right of that line is the plot point for bolder personalities who are quite comfortable making high-risk decisions quickly.

As before, the middle of the horizontal line would be for people who are equally balance between those two descriptions, and the gradients continue in each direction as before.

Because these two lines are perpendicular, we have created four quadrants on our circle. How you score yourself on those two lines (Task v. People; Reserved & Low-Risk v. Bolder & High Risk) determines your core behavioral style.

Four Core Behavioral Styles

Task & Bold/High-Risk: When people in this quadrant they see a problem, they strive to resolve it quickly. These people are often known for taking initiative and meeting deadlines.

People & Bold/High-Risk: People in this quadrant tend to have fast, creative minds. They often think outside the box and are inspired by a shared vision and future possibilities.

People & Reserved/Low-Risk: People in this quadrant prefer stable, predictable situations. They tend to be supportive and loyal.

Task & Reserved/Low-Risk: People in this quadrant tend to be careful and meticulous. They prefer analyzing concepts in a logical framework and taking time to think through decisions.

In the coming months we’ll take a deeper dive into each of these styles, including their value to the team and how to communicate best with each style.

Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is a best-selling author and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. For more than 30 years he’s been working with teams and individuals (1:1 coaching) to help them achieve excellence. He was also teaching Emotional Intelligence since before it was a thing. Reach Daniel through his website,, or his office: 208-375-7606.


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