Can we all just get along?


How would you like to get along with others?We all know people who are different from us. Sometimes, it’s difficult to get along with these people. They make life interesting and often frustrating.

DIRECT PEOPLE are strong, dominating entrepreneurs. They see the world as “out to get them” and themselves as strong and able to handle anything and anyone.

  • Communication: Direct people talk about their ideas, opinions and goals. When explaining to Direct people, first state the bottom line and your best choice. If they want more information they will ask. Comment on areas of agreement, and then discuss areas where you disagree. Do not waste their time. Do not over-explain. Stay focused on the situation or problem. Ask for feedback to ensure there are no misunderstandings. Speak logically and unemotionally, no tears. Sell them on the practicality of an idea. Answer what questions.

Example: Direct people will ask or think, “What is the point of this discussion?”

  • Fears: Direct people fear losing control of any area of their lives. Assure them that they can still maintain control of their environment. Give reassurance if necessary. Help them maintain as much control over their lives and have as many choices as possible. They also are afraid that someone will take advantage of them. Ask about concerns not fears.

INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE are enthusiastic and positive. They are people persons. They love the social life and enjoy discussing themselves and philosophies. They see the world as friendly and they never met a stranger. They see themselves as capable.

  • Communication: Influential people want everyone to be sociable and friendly. They relate better to you when you are positive. Negative statements upset them. Discuss conceptual ideas that are broad in scope. Work toward specifics.

Influential people may be viewed as scatterbrained because they think outside the box and are scattered in their thinking, jumping from one subject to another. Keep them focused and on track since they have fascinating tales to tell. Persuade them with the uniqueness and future value of an idea. When explaining, use warm, fuzzy, descriptive words. Paint word pictures. Develop a relationship. Share stories. Make the discussion fast paced. They want freedom of choice. Because they sometimes hear only what they want to hear and misunderstand your commitments, ask for feedback.

Details overwhelm them. Discuss a few details at a time. Answer who and people questions.

Example: “Who will be there? Will the people like me? How do I look?”

  • Fears: Influential people fear rejection and embarrassment. Make it clear that you accept and appreciate them. Disapproval from others can be devastating. They are afraid they will be blamed for something or that they will somehow let others down. They are also afraid of losing their freedom and flexibility.

STEADY PEOPLE are quiet, shy and withdrawn. They are good listeners and prefer the tried and true. They are loyal. They like to understand a process or change before beginning a project. They see the world as friendly. Meeting the challenge of life tires them.

  • Communication: Steady people prefer casual and frequent talks. This helps them feel secure and aids in their trust of you. Formality is uncomfortable for them. Select a comfortable environment to hold the discussion, such as over a meal. Begin with small talk. Show them that you are interested in them as individuals. Steady people accept you only when they trust you. A sound, lasting relationship is required. If the Steady person is a spouse, you may not have quite the relationship you thought or once had. Maintaining a relationship with a Steady person requires an ongoing effort. Give information in small doses and allow time for him to think about it. Ask if he has questions, issues or concerns. Let him know that any doubts and fears he may have are important to you. Ask for feedback. Steady people ask when and how questions.

Example: “How do I do it?” and “When do you need it?”

  • Fears: Steady people feel overwhelmed with new or innovative ideas and with too much information at one time. Walk them through any new processes or ideas. Remind them that they are important to you.

CAUTIOUS PEOPLE are quiet, introspective, intuitive and analytical. They are highly sensitive, formal and undemonstrative. They see the world as negative and themselves as overwhelmed by the challenges of life.

  • Communication: Cautious people tend to be naturally defensive until they are sure they can trust you. Remain non-defensive with them. Stick to the subject. Keep the language formal and precise. Keep your discussions organized. Begin with an outline of facts, showing a few alternatives. Ask for feedback to ensure they understand. Use facts and statistics. They want permission to ask questions. Answer all questions. Give them time to think about what you said. Set a future time to discuss their thoughts after they have had time to think. They ask why and how questions.

Example: “Why do you need this information? How long do I have to get it done?”

  • Fears: Cautious people are afraid that they will not have time to analyze a situation properly and that they won’t do a perfect job. They fear criticism of their work.


“The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.” 

― Henry Boye in The National Enquirer

Getting along with different people may come naturally to you or it may not. An important element of improving that ability is in knowing your own personality and how you react to others. See How Others View You, page 9, for more information on the different personality styles. Then expand your abilities for managing your own communications and reactions so that you do not get upset when you encounter a personality that conflicts with your own. It takes adjusting and forethought on your part. When you learn to get along with people, everyone benefits.

 “A loud voice cannot compete with a clear voice, even if it’s a whisper.”

Barry Neil Kaufman, Out-Smarting Your Karma (Epic Century)

Understanding the other person and that person’s capabilities provides you with information for influencing people to do what you want.

When you help people get their needs met, they will happily try to meet your expectations. When people know that their actions are appreciated, that they are appreciated, they will be willing helpers.


  • The name of the one person you cannot get along with is  ____________________________.
  • What personality style(s) is this person showing when you are trying to relate to him?
  • What characteristics do you now understand about this person that you didn’t understand or care about before?
  • How will you talk to this person?
  • Can you forgive this person for not being like you?
  • Can you get along with this person, now that you know more about him?

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