About three weeks ago I attended my church’s first Boot Camp. I was quite excited and anticipatory because I have gone through Marine Corps Boot Camp and a Police Academy but have never experienced any kind of extensive spiritual Boot Camp setting. My desire was for a growth spurt in whatever area God saw fit. And I was quite excited to see what He was going to come up with 🙂
Amidst the early morning workout sessions, time constricted scripture memorizations and prayerfully structured lessons, I felt the challenge at one of the more innocuous sessions: it was on Communication Styles. It was innocuous to me because it was the one session that didn’t appear to be too God focused, plus we have all had to do communication styles exercises for our jobs, so I was expecting the usual.
The first thing we were told was to Assume Positive Intent (with any communication). We then filled out a quick one-sheet test and charted it to find out our personality types as it related to four birds; the Dove, the Peacock, the Owl and the Eagle. The goal was to understand our own communication style, be familiar with the other three styles, and know how to communicate with the four styles. I was immediately intrigued, because I don’t know how we can do much of anything without communicating and dealing with people! Ministry = dealing with people (in its most generic form). Work for most of us means dealing with people. And having a family goes without saying.
This blessed me and I pray it is a blessing to you too. Keep in mind that we all show characteristics of all the styles, but most of us have a dominant pattern. There is no ‘best’ style. Each style has its unique needs, wants, strengths and weaknesses. But the awareness of each, gives us the best chance for productivity and peace when doing God’s work.
DOVE – the Diplomatic Dove is supporting and indirect, relatively unassertive, warm and reliable, Doves are sometimes seen by others as compliant and soft-hearted. They seek security and relationship. They are slow at taking action and make decisions slowly. Before they take action to make a decision, they have to know how other people feel about their decision. Doves tend to be the most people-oriented of all the four styles. Having close, friendly, personal, first-name relationships with others is one of their most important objectives. They dislike interpersonal conflict. Doves tend to be good listeners and generally develop relationships with people who are also good listeners. As a result, Doves have strong networks of people who are willing to be mutually supportive. They have natural counseling skills and people often feel good just being with a Dove.
Strengths – Listening, Teamwork and Follow-through.
Weaknesses – Oversensitive, Slow to begin action, Somewhat unassertive and could be easily bullied.
Irritations – Insensitivity, Impatience, Perfectionism and Aggressive behavior.
Seeks – Acceptance
Fears – Sudden Change
Internal Motivator – Involvement
In Interactions with Doves – Support their feelings by showing personal interest. Assume they take everything personally. When you disagree, discuss personal feelings. Allow them to trust you. Show that you are ‘actively’ listening. Above all, be warm and sincere.
OWL – the Wise Owl is direct and controlling. They are concerned with analytical processes and are persistent, systematic problem solvers. They can be seen as aloof, picky and critical. Owls are very security-conscious and have a high need to be right, leading them to an over reliance on data collection. In their quest for data, they tend to ask many questions about specifics. Their actions and decisions tend to be slow and extremely cautious, but they will rarely miss a deadline. Owls tend to be perfectionistic, serious, and orderly. They like their efficiency to be noticed. Owls like organization and structure, and dislike too much involvement with other people. They are not fond of huggers and touchers, and prefer a cool handshake or a brief phone call. They work slowly and effectively by themselves, are time disciplined, and prefer an intellectual work environment. Owls have good problem solving skills and don’t break the rules.
Strengths – Planning, Organization, Accuracy, Dependability and Independence.
Weaknesses – Perfectionist, Critical, Unresponsive, Picky, Righteous and Stiff.
Irritations – Disorganization, Unpredictability and Illogical people.
Seeks – Accuracy
Fears – Criticism of their work
Internal Motivator – The Process
In Interactions with Owls – Support their organized, thoughtful approach. Demonstrate through actions rather than words. Be systematic, exact, organized, and prepared. List advantages and disadvantages of any plan. Provide solid, tangible, factual evidence. Provide guarantees that actions can’t backfire. Above all, be thorough and well prepared.
PEACOCK – the Social Peacock is direct and supporting. They are animated, intuitive and lively. They can also be viewed as manipulative, impetuous, and excitable when displaying behaviors inappropriate to the situation. Peacocks are fast paced. Their actions and decisions are spontaneous, and are seldom concerned about facts and details, trying to avoid them as much as possible. This disregard for details sometimes prompts them to exaggerate and generalize facts and figures. They are more comfortable with “best guesstimates” than with exact data. Peacocks are idea persons. They have the ability to get others caught up in their dreams because of their good persuasive skills. They seek approval and recognition for their accomplishments, and have a dynamic ability to think on their feet. Peacocks are true entertainers. They love an audience and thrive on involvement with people. They tend to work quickly and enthusiastically with others. Peacocks jump from one activity and dislike being alone.
Strengths – Persuading, Enthusiastic, Motivating and delightful Sociability.
Weaknesses – Inattentive to detail, Short attention span, Poor follow-through, Getting involved in too many things, Impatience, Gets bored easily.
Irritations – Routine, Boring tasks, Being alone, and not having access to a telephone.
Seeks – Recognition
Fears – Loss of Prestige
Internal Motivator – The Chase
In Interactions with Peacocks – Don’t hurry the discussion. Try not to argue, you seldom can win. Summarize in detail who is to do what, where and when. Be entertaining and fast moving. Use testimonials and incentives to positively affect decisions. Above all, be interested in them.
EAGLE – the Dominant Eagle is controlling and direct. They exhibit firmness in their relationships with others, and are oriented toward productivity and goals, and are concerned with bottom line results. Eagles accept challenges, take authority, and go head first into solving problems. They tend to exhibit great administrative and operational skills and work quickly and impressively on their own. Eagles tend to take control of others and have a low tolerance for their feelings, attitudes, and inadequacies. They don’t appreciate people talking three inches from their noses, so becoming your friend is not a prerequisite to doing business. They are fast paced and impatient with delays. When other people cannot keep up with their speed, they view them as incompetent. Their high-achievement motivation gives Eagles a tendency toward workaholism. They get things done and make things happen. Eagles are decisive and dislike inaction. They are competitive.
Strengths – Administration, Leadership, Juggling, Decision making and Getting the job done.
Weaknesses – Impatient, Insensitive to others, Poor listener, Inflexibility and Failing to take the time to smell the flowers.
Irritations – Inefficiency and Indecision.
Seeks – Productivity
Fears – Being taken advantage of.
Internal Motivator – Winning
In Interactions with Eagles – Support their goals and objectives. Keep your relationships businesslike. If you disagree, argue facts, not feelings. Recognize their ideas not them. Be precise, efficient and well-organized. Above all, be efficient and competent.
Well, well well….my test showed that I was an EAGLE all day long. This was truly one of the best coining of personalities that I had seen and everything about the Eagle was true for me. I embraced it; impatience, insensitivity, poor listening skills and all. I guess the biggest lesson was a concentrated dose of “not everybody thinks like you” and they don’t have to for you to effectively work together. This indeed was my growth area…
I have attached a link with a test and a longer explanation of all the personalities (click here). Perhaps this will be helpful in figuring out how to better foster communication between you and your spouse, coworkers, church members, children, friends, acquaintances etc. Don’t forget, Assume Positive Intent.
Which bird are you ?