I rented the movie UP and watched it with my grandchildren. I know I laughed more than they did as I saw, as with many movies, similarities common with leaders and entrepreneurs that I know.

Many times, when people ask me what I do I tell them… I am trying to determine if I train alpha dogs or herd cats. All entrepreneurs like to have control like the alpha dog, yet many chase shiny objects like cats (or like Dug in the movie UP chases squirrels). For a while after watching the movie I asked prospects if they had seen the movie UP? If they had, I asked which of the dogs they most related to – Alpha the Pincher or Dug the Retriever? Their answer helps me to know and understand a lot about them right away.

 The Alpha and Dug leadership styles

Many would not put claim to either UP stars, but there is a lot more here than one would like to admit. There are several personality assessments that identify personality styles. Driver, Expressive, Analytic and Amiable have been common leadership styles described in organizations. Others have assigned animal types to these. Driver = Lion, Expressive = Otter, Amiable = Retriever and Analytic = Beaver. I say a rose by any other name is still a rose.

It has been proven that by recognizing others communications styles and purposely communicating in their styles versus communicating in your own style can make a huge difference in your communications effectiveness.

We all have different mannerisms and styles. The more observant you are, the better able you will be spotting and increasing the effectiveness of your communications with others by using their style rather than yours. Are you able to identify and better communicate to your people, connections and customers by their styles?

Think about it. Have you ever tried to communicate something to someone and they seemed to look at you as if you were from another planet? Or, they totally misunderstood something you said and thought you were communicating very clearly? This is a strategy for interaction that can help you communicate better to everyone. Let’s take a look at the styles mentioned above and give you some hints of how to recognize the style you should be speaking to for maximum understanding. Then try identifying the style of the next person you speak to and communicate to them in their style. See the difference!


With Relationships – They are Cool Competitive

With their Use of time – They are Fast, Disciplined

When stressed – They become Autocratic

They concentrate on the What

They have a need to be in Charge


With Relationships – They are Warm, Competitive

With their use of time – They are Fast, Undisciplined

When stressed – They Attack

They concentrate on the Who

Have a need for Attention


With Relationships – They are Cool, Cooperative

With their use of time – They are Slow, Disciplined

When stressed – They Avoid

They concentrate on the How

Have a need to be in Right


With relationships – They are Warm, Cooperative

With their use of time – They are Slow, undisciplined

When stressed – They Acquiesce

They concentrate on the Why

They have a need to be Secure

Think about the people you know in regard to the lists above. Now think if you have communicated to them, was it in their style or yours? Do you think you or they might have missed some information presented from your style rather than considering their style? Is there any wonder why there is so much miscommunications today? “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

Want to learn more about communications styles and communications? Contact me today.

Brad has been mentoring executives to strategically position their businesses and their lives for more than 25 years. His proven A2A system creates internal and external excellence and advocates. Brad’s ‘Results First’ business positioning program empowers executives to grow and transfer their leadership assets to develop better businesses and richer lives.