What is the first thing you think of when you see or hear the word “Diversity?” If you are like most people that I speak to, you are thinking: Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Culture, Socio-Economic Status and so on. While all these areas represent diversity, the simple and yet most profound definition of diversity is “DIFFERENCE!”
I believe that because most people only support and represent their “Difference”, most do not value diversity, but rather DiversiME. DiversiME is diversity that represents me, and therefore that is the only thing that I will speak up for. I have a solution that will challenge you to think of diversity differently. It is called Social Styles and it approaches diversity from a whole new angle than the traditional definitions.
The Social Styles focus on behavioral preferences, not your personality or even your “true” colors, but rather how do you prefer to behave most of the time. They are broken down into four Styles, which are summarized below:
Social Style 1: Expressives
Have you ever met someone that filled the room with their presence when they walked into it, or a person who talked with their hands and through their gestures visually painted a picture of what happened? That person was most likely an Expressive. They can be good people to have at a party, because they’re talkative, enthusiastic, dramatic, and “interesting” people to have around. However, if they don’t receive the attention they crave, they can get upset and even “difficult” to deal with. In conflict, they become emotional, prone to exaggeration, and unpredictable. Their basic need is recognition.
Social Style 2: Analytics
Do you know someone that you cannot tell what they are thinking or feeling? That person is most likely an Analytic. Analytical people can appear unsociable, especially to Amiables and Expressives. They may seem serious and indecisive. This is because they need to look at every conceivable angle before they feel satisfied. A consequence of this is that they are persistent in their questioning and focus on detail and facts. However, once they have made a decision, they stick with it as they invariably feel that it is infallible. Their basic need is to be correct.
Social Style 3: Amiables
Do you know someone who asks how you are doing, and actually cares what you say? This person is most likely an Amiable. The amiable person likes other people’s company, though is more of a listener than a talker. Expressive people find them useful, because they are prepared to listen to what they are saying. They are loyal, personable, and show patience when dealing with other people. They may, however, not be perceived as people ” who get things done ” because they spend more time developing relationships with others. They are also unlikely to take risks as they need to have the feeling of security. Their basic need is security.
Social Style 4: Drivers
Do you know someone who gets the task done no matter what, even if it may put a strain on personal relationships? This person is most likely a Driver. Drivers are task-orientated and expect efficiency from everyone they come into contact with. Little emphasis is placed on building relationships with other people. They can be perceived as aggressive and uncaring, especially by Amiables, though are often needed to take risks and push things through. In conflict, they will try to ” steam roller ” over anyone who comes in their way. Their basic need is to be in control.
As you can see no matter what race, gender, sexual orientation, or culture you are, we all have differences. We will never know how to appreciate the micro areas of difference if we cannot embrace the macro of how to value difference period. The key principle is to learn how to appreciate people with their differences and embrace the similarities. A great start can be with the Social Styles.
Credit // Author: Justin Jones-Fosu
This information is based on Justin’s popular Diversity Keynote, Hug and Elephant, Kiss A Giraffe: Embracing Everyday Diversity. Justin has interactive keynotes that are great for diversity, leadership, first year experience, Fraternity & Sorority life and a events in need of great inspiration. See how Justin blends high-energy, humor, and practical content. Visit campuspeak.com/jones-fosu to learn more about Justin, his keynotes, and to watch his video.