During the months of January and February, I’m teaching a workshop at my church about finding God’s Will as you serve Him. This blog provides brief summaries of the previous classes in order to help people stay up to date if they can’t attend or have missed a session.
Previous Posts In the Series:
- Finding Your Passion for Service
- What Are Your Gifts: Passion for Service Pt. 2
- How and Who: Finding Your Passion for Service Pt. 3
- Why We Serve: Finding Your Passion for Service Pt. 4
Some of the handouts are available on their respective posts. If you can’t locate the appropriate handout, feel free to request them from me here.
This past week, we focused more on How we serve in relation to our own personal interaction style.
How You Influence
People tend to fall into two categories when influencing people: directive or informative. If you’re directive, then you will note something needs to be done and ask someone to do it. If you’re informative, you will point out the situation but not point-blank ask them to take care of if. For example, your car is low on gas. If you’re directive, you might say, “Will you fill up the tank while you’re out?” If you’re informative, you might say, “The car is low on gas.”
This might seem like a small difference, but it isn’t. I’ve seen situations where I’ve made a statement to a person who tends to be informative, and they will assume I’ve asked them to do something. That is not the case. I’m directive, so if I want you to do something, I’ll be straight to the point.
How You Define Relationships
The other dimension of style is how we define relationships: initiating or responding. If you tend to initiate, you focus on what’s around you. Initiators tend to greet and interact with people. If you’re responsive, you tend to focus more on what’s going on inside you. Responders tend to move at a slower pace and observe more.
The Four Interaction Styles
When you combine these dimensions, you get the four interaction styles developed by Linda Berens, Ph.D.
- Chart the Course: Directing-Responding
- Behind the Scenes: Informing-Responding
- Get Things Going: Informing-Initiating
- In Charge: Directing-Initiating
These styles have their own particular characteristics. For example, their approach to a goal:
- Chart the Course likes to make deliberate, thought-out decisions that lead to the result desired.
- Behind the Scenes likes to consult others in their data-gathering process in order to make the best possible result.
- Get Things Going likes to seek collaboration in their decision-making so the result is one everyone can stand behind.
- In Charge likes to move quickly in decision-making, so they can see an achievable result in a short period of time.
This is a brief overview, and not enough to help you identify and understand how interaction styles affect your own behavior. For instance, you fall into one of these styles, but they are situational. You tend to use your preferred style, but under certain circumstances, will shift to a different style. I shared more about this in the workshop. If you missed this session and want to catch up, feel free to contact me using the link listed earlier in this post.
More information can, also, be found on Linda Berens website.
Interaction Styles and Service
How does this affect your journey while identifying how you want to serve in your Christian walk? The more aware you are of your styles and behaviors, the easier it will be for you to identify an area that fits you. God gave us gifts, and our personalities are part of the equation. For example, I’m an In Charge. I prefer to lead or at least help lead. If I’m not leading, I have to work hard to keep my opinion to myself when I don’t agree with how someone is handling the job. This doesn’t mean I can’t follow, but I might want to consider this when I’m trying to find my niche for serving God.