Almost all businesses achieve results through people. An organization has its business plan with specific financial goals, and it is the people in the organization who deliver on those goals.

Of the thousands of people I have worked with, I can confidently say there are two types: the task focused or people focused individual. Neither one is right or wrong or good or bad. We are who we are.

Those who are task focused prefer to get their work done in a solo fashion. They are often very good at analysis and concentrating on the work in front of them, and they have little need for interacting with others. If it is required of them, they will interact. However, it is not their comfort zone.

Those who are people oriented prefer to get their work done with and through other people. They thrive on interaction, recognition and want others to feel good. They are positive and optimistic and may have to force themselves to be less social to get their tasks completed on time.

In either case, relationships at work are important. It’s hard to connect with someone when you have opposite personality styles. The key to building personal effectiveness at work is possessing the self-awareness to know your own style, how it shows up every day and how it impacts others. The next part of that is knowing your colleague’s style or your client’s style and modifying yours to meet theirs.

For example, when I am relating to a task-focused person, I will minimize the ‘small talk’ and just get to the point. Our priority is to address the task that needs to get done. When I am communicating with a people-oriented person, I will ask questions about them and make a personal connection first. Our discussion will be built around the human aspects of completing a task.

A top human need is to ‘belong’ – to a team, a company, a family, a community. This means being accepted for who we are. Very rarely will someone declare their personal style to others – so it’s important to try to understand by observing them in action or asking them for their perspective on a given task.

Of course, most people will do their job because it is expected of them and they need to earn a living. When we engage ‘them’ for who they are, and we create space for them to excel, they will be more engaged and achieve more results.

If you are an entrepreneur dealing with clients, a manager trying to get results for your department, a specialist with an opportunity to influence your colleagues or just want to ensure your own performance is at a high standard, we all rely on others.

Our ability to relate to them and connect with them will go a long way to achieving our goals and increasing everyone’s engagement. I have written other posts that share specific approaches to use to engage others. I will continue to provide practical tools to enhance your relationship intelligence at work.