Yesterday I posted Part I of my interview with Dr. Steve Lurie. Today, we continue the interview and discuss whether the skills for career success can be learned:

Can those skills (for career success) be learned?

Yes. But for some reason, employees typically receive relationship skill training much later in their careers in management development programs using personality tools, 360 feedback, etc. that help them to see who they are as others see them and make them aware of others styles.

We have found that people are actually ready and able to absorb and apply these insights and tools as early as high school. In fact readers tell us that the most engaging and useful part of the book is about how to use Connecting Style awareness for better relationship building.

You’ve referred to "Connecting Styles." What does that mean? 

Study after study shows that what differentiates the best performers from the rest is not subject matter expertise – the what — but the quality of the connections professionals form with clients and colleagues.

The most powerful connections are formed by those who factor in and respect the learning, communication and interpersonal preferences of the person they are dealing with – and understand their own style and how they are likely to be perceived by others.

While every human being has a unique connecting style fingerprint, we know that people fall into four basic “connecting styles” based on how emotionally and how forcefully they connect:

From this model we can generate a simple roadmap for engaging others based on their connecting style.

For example, analyticals respond best when working within a predictable process that gives them time to prepare in advance, spells out a plan, defines roles, and does not rush them toward a decision. Direct expression of anger, frustration, resentment, whether directed at them or others, makes them uncomfortable and they disengage.

Energizers on the other hand, engage when given the opportunity to express their feelings and ideas and get very impatient when sticking too tightly to process and rules. Once a person understands their own connecting style and how to assess style in others, they can apply these insights with supervisees, supervisors, clients, adversaries, judges, partners, etc. for greater influence and more trusting relationships.

Are there behaviors that lead to strong connections regardless of style of the person sending or receiving the message?

Yes. The extent to which your behavior supports or frustrates the following Six Basic Connecting Needs in the people with whom you are interacting. These are the need to feel:

1. Basic Trust
2. Understood
3. Valued
4. Included
5. Respected
6. Autonomous (in control).

When your behavior supports these needs in others, you will create a receptive and supportive audience. Conversely, violation of one or more of these needs causes almost all defensive and antagonistic reactions.

There are a handful of habits and behaviors that support these needs like listening, behaving with modesty, taking the time to understand the accomplishments of the people with whom you work, demonstrating appreciation through finding merit, giving credit, skillful praise and thanks for good work, including others through getting their advice and sharing your ideas, following up on promises, accepting responsibility for your own mistakes and decisions and apologizing when you have offended someone.

My sincere thanks to Dr. Steve Lurie for agreeing to be interviewed. Again, be sure to check out his website here