Brandman News

How you behave as a leader helps build effective relationships

September 07, 2018 by Brandman University
Michelle Abraham

Michelle Abraham

Leadership concepts are a linchpin of many Brandman programs, and those offered by the School of Extended Education are no exception.

In a recent webinar, Michelle Abraham, a leadership development and training consultant and Extended Education instructor, walked participants through the four behavioral styles leaders should know. “Each of you will walk away with different strategies,” she said, adding understanding behavioral styles adds value both at work and at home.

"Have you ever wondered why it’s easier to work with some people than others?" asked Abraham. Most workplace conflict centers on either the task, relationships or values, she said. Relationships – the ones that don’t work are called personality conflicts – are the cause of almost half of all workplace conflicts, according to a study involving 5,000 employees from around the world.

Her audience, in a real-time poll, agreed, rating it even more highly as a cause of conflict.

Knowing about the different personality and style types helps build more effective relationships and reduces personality conflicts. Abraham used the DiSC® assessment to explain the four main styles that show up in the workplace.

The assessment helps people focus on their strengths while realizing their differences, said Abraham. When people understand what motivates their coworkers, it’s easier to get along.

Abraham weaved personal observations into her presentation, providing examples of how various members of her family fit with the four basic styles revealed by the assessment which measures dominance, influence, steadiness and compliance:

  • Direct: People who are focused on immediate results and action (fast-paced and outspoken).
  • Influential: People who are high on expressing enthusiasm and encouraging collaboration (accepting and warm).
  • Supportive: Those who focus on stability and collaboration (cautious and reflective).
  • Conscientious: People who stress accuracy and stability while challenging assumptions (questioning and skeptical).

Behavioral styles also reflect how we like others to work with us, she said. People who are outgoing and people-oriented expect others to ask them about family or the weekend while someone with a more direct style wants to get down to business.

“Small changes can have a huge impact on our relationships,” she said. That can mean making sure there’s an agenda if dealing with a more direct person or taking the time to share stories at the start of a meeting for those who are more people-oriented.

“I remember taking an assessment like this and having an ‘aha’ moment,” said Reagan Forlenzo, director of corporate training at the School of Extended Education. “We can bring this kind of awareness to your business or program.”

The School of Extended Education uses free webinars on a variety of topics to drive interest in the customized training programs it offers businesses and school districts. Upcoming webinars geared toward the workplace are:

Upcoming webinars aimed at educators are:

Additional information about upcoming webinars and recordings and tip sheets from past webinars can be found at

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