How to Appreciate a Bag of Skittles: Improve Interpersonal Relationships

23 Aug 2013 – Terri Harmon – Featured


Skittles is a brand of fruit-flavored sweets. The candy is produced in a wide variety of flavors and colors. When comparing Skittles with people, they are similar. Not one person is the same. Just as a bag of Skittles there are a variety of interpersonal behavior types.

When opening a bag of Skittles you may favor one flavor over the others. In comparison to interpersonal styles, there is usually one behavior style that we most prefer. However, in society and the workplace we must interact with a variety of behavior styles.

What is the key to communicating and finding the other Skittle flavors palatable?

We all know people are not as easy to manage as a bag of Skittles. They are complex, diverse, and prone to conflict. So what is the answer? Educate people to understand each others behaviors, and they will be better able to work effectively together, resulting in creating a high performance workplace.

The SOCIAL STYLE model has been used with individuals and organizations to improve interpersonal relationships. SOCIAL STYLE model is a psychometric instrument that has four profile types: Amiable, Analytical, Drivers, and Expressive. Individuals fall on a scale which measures their behavior.

  • Amiable: Emote/Ask
  • Expressive: Emote/Tell
  • Drivers: Control/Tell
  • Analytical: Control/Ask

The measurements are based on if an individual is open or closed with expressing their feelings.

Emote behavior is relationship oriented.

Control behavior is disciplined.

Tell behavior is prone to risk taking.

Ask behavior is deliberate actions.

By knowing your Social Style behavior and recognizing Social Styles of others can improve your interpersonal relationships. Provided is one characteristic of the four behaviors.

Amiable: They need acceptance, co-operation, and personal security.

Expressive: They enjoy excitement, involvement, and interpersonal achievement.

Drivers: They take action and goal oriented.

Analytical: Their focus is on having all the facts and is careful when making decisions.

By understanding the different social styles you can customize the way you interact with other individuals. This technique is useful with family, friends, and in the workplace. It has been proven to reduce conflict that is generally related to behavior types and strengthen relationships.

The SOCIAL STYLE model has close to 50 years of research and has proven to be effective in understanding the differences in teams. This model gives a guide of how to interact with each individual. When team members understand others are not like them and respond to situations in a different manner, opens up a positive avenue for productivity and improved communication.



Needing to improve your Team Engagement?

Getting the best from teams and effective team working is key to your success as a Leader and business. The challenge is to adapt your thinking, communication and style to leverage the potential of teams.  At PlusOne Dynamics we invite you to complete our FREE iMA Questionnaire, it will only take 2 minutes and will reveal your preferred communication style as a successful Leader / Manager plus how you can communicate effectively with your team while enhancing the connectivity, productivity and engagement of your staff. An iMA Audit or Direction Workshop at your next Team Building event or session will greatly enhance the connectivity and performance of your team and have them motivated to engage in your business direction.

iMA is an exciting universal language, designed to maximise connectivity: mutual liking, trust, understanding and respect. Everyone speaks one of four iMA dialects, putting them on the same wavelength as 25% of the world’s population.  iMA is a simple way of observing and understanding the differences in people, then connecting with them on their wavelength. When this happens communication, trust, understanding, co-operation and sales increase, and stress and tension decrease.
I stands for Identify your iMA colour style and that of the person you want to connect with.
M stands for Modify your message by encoding it in a way that is most likely to be understood.
A is Adapt the way you treat one person vs. another.

Review our iMA Services here, and consider a PlusOne Dynamics iMA Workshop for your next team building event.

To become an even better Leader we invite you to download our PlusOne Dynamics free e-book – “12 Cs of Building a Team that Works“, you will gain valuable insight into to how you can grow and build your team using effective communication and contexts. This FREE e-Book provides a simple “answer these questions” guide surrounding your team, communication and connectivity.

Download Here – No Signup required!

Why the Best Leaders Don’t Have Favorites

22 Feb 2013 – By Stefani Yorges –


Growing up, I was the “teacher’s pet” my fair share of times. So I know how it feels to be favored. I also know how it feels to have a supervisor dislike me.

Fresh out of graduate school, I arrived at the university for my first year of teaching psychology. I had barely settled in to my office when I sensed the disdain of the Chairperson of my department. But he barely knew me! He certainly knew little about my work, my interests, or my ability to connect with students in the classroom. Yet it was undeniable. I was getting the worst assignments, classroom locations, and teaching schedules.

A colleague also pulled me aside and pointed out that I was not getting access to many of the resources typically provided to junior faculty (grants, release time for research, etc.). What was going on here? I wondered, “What did I do wrong?”

As difficult as academic jobs are to find, I started to look around. Fortunately, he moved out of the position so I didn’t have to.

Leadership researchers have actually studied this phenomenon for years. They have found that leaders interact differently with each of their subordinates; they don’t treat them all the same.

The Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory focuses on the quality of that “exchange” relationship. Research confirms that leaders place subordinates into the ‘in group’ or the ‘out group’ very early and on the basis of surprisingly little information. Sometimes the choice is simply made based on similarity to personal characteristics – appearance, age, gender, and so forth. The decision is typically made within the first five days. And once you’ve been assigned, it’s nearly impossible to change.

  • The in-group clearly consists of the favorites. Observations in the workplace indicate that supervisors show special attention to this group. They talk to them more frequently (and about more personal topics), they are more concerned with their progress, and they place more trust in them. This group gets more mentoring and more privileges. They also get higher performance ratings.
  • The out-group gets far less attention, fewer favors, and less interaction in general. When leaders do communicate with members in this group, it is with a more directive and authoritative manner. Results suggest that these individuals end up less satisfied with their jobs and more likely to quit. This is unfortunate.

As a leader, your goal should be to have a high-quality relationship with every individual. Observe your own behavior – does it fit the patterns described above? If you’ve been playing favorites, try to resist this tendency. Strive to manage each exchange relationship so that no one is “out.”

It’s natural to give more attention to those that you feel connected with, as well as those who seem to put in extra effort. There will always be those who don’t relate well with others or perform to your standards. But don’t let that become an excuse to neglect them or ignore their development.

Ideally, as a positive leader and role model, you give everyone a chance to improve. You need them and they need you. You’re all playing for the same team after all. The goal is that by the time you leave that role, everyone is better off for having worked under your supervision.

Team Work Translates to Success

Consider the wide range of PlusOne Dynamics iMA Strategies & Services (iMA HR Audit, iMA Workshops) when reading this article.

17 Dec 2012 – Padmaja S Singh – Enzine

PlusOne Dynamics Team Building

The modern work culture totally depends on working as a team. In an office, every department has to work in tandem, coordinating and co-operating with other colleagues. However, achieving total team efficiency is a difficult task as each individual works with a different mindset. It is not uncommon to see personality clashes at workplaces, as everyone’s style of working is different. It is, therefore, essential for any manager to create a sense of togetherness in the team and restore some sense of discipline.

Simply giving out a guideline regarding the work process is not enough. A manager’s job is to make sure that each team member shares a common outlook at work.

There are various team building exercises that can not only improve team work but also boost each individual’s confidence as well. There are many fun activities which corporate offices undertake to boost a sense of trust, comfort and confidence among team members.

Team building activities reap benefits

It is a common knowledge that in order to get any work done, working as a team is necessary. However, it is often seen that we tend to incline towards people we are comfortable with. Corporate learning programs aim at helping people open up to people they don’t often interact with. These programs aim to promote healthy communication. Team building activities highlight the various qualities in a person which may otherwise go unnoticed.

Exercises that motivate one to think out of the box, step out of the comfort zone and do the unusual, to prove oneself and others just how much one is capable of. Team building activities aim at building mutual trust, compatibility, communication, and essential collaborative skills.

It does not matter whether these team activities are quick five-minute exercise inside the office space or much elaborate weekend outdoor activities, these exercises bring out each members’ creative streak.

Various corporate learning exercises are employed for a fun, yet fruitful, team building activity.

Benefits of undertaking team building activities

• Improved communication: Healthy and proactive communication is the key to a good, functioning team. Lack of communication leads to misunderstandings, unwanted conflicts, delay in work and a horde of other problems. Communication – verbal or non-verbal – is very important for a successful business. When organizing team building activities, one should keep in mind to address communication issues and introduce exercises which focus on strengthening communication within the team.

• Creating a comfortable atmosphere: People spend a major part of their day in office with colleagues. A healthy rapport with every individual in the office creates a comfortable atmosphere for working. Trust and interdependence building exercises go a long way in creating a friendly, yet professional work atmosphere.

• Breaking the stereotypes: It is common for people to be stereotyped – whether it is because of the nature of their work, their body language or simply the way they deal with clients. When participating in various team building activities, people tend to think and act unconventionally. Group exercises help in recognizing and utilizing different skills, techniques and tapping the talents one may have not known existed!

Padmaja Singh is a prolific Mumbai-based freelance writer who writes on numerous topics including Leadership Training, Innovation Workshops, Corporate training & Induction Training, to name a few.