Dealing With a Director

There are four types of personality types out there—Thinkers, Directors, Socializers, and Relators.  We’re all made up of all four of these, but each of us has a dominant style.  You have to deal with all four types everyday.  Understanding each type will make you a much more effective leader and communicator.

Today, I want to give you a couple of little techniques that I learned years ago and that work great when you’re dealing with a “Director” type of person.

First, what does this type of person look like?  Picture Donald Trump, Chef Gordon Ramsey, or Simon Cowell.  Most presidents of the United States and leaders in the military have director types of personalities.  Bill Parcells, the great football coach, is another good example.  They’re all about winning.

What types of jobs do they gravitate to?  CEO, COO, general manager, regional director, drill instructor, or football coach.

These are people who like to tell other people what to do.  They’re fast paced, are all about results, and don’t want you going on-and-on about details with them.

Some of their strengths:

They make quick decisions, they get things done, and they have lots of energy.

Some of their weaknesses:

They’re impatient, they tend to bully people, they’re demanding, and they’re overly opinionated.

Starting to see this person in your life?

TIP #1 

Back in the early 90’s, I had a boss who had been an officer in the Marine Corps.  He still acted like he was still in the military when he was supervising me.  The problem?  I hadn’t signed up for the Marines, and didn’t want to be treated like one.

Directors like to be in control.  We didn’t work in the same location, so he never knew what I was doing.  He couldn’t “see” me.  So he called me several times a day.  “What are you doing now?”  “What are you doing now???”  It was driving me nuts.  It felt like I was spending so much time having to talk with him on the phone that I didn’t have time to get my work done.  I’m a person who likes autonomy.  He wasn’t managing me effectively and it was really wearing on me.

So here’s what I did.  Directors love to check things off their lists.  About every two or three hours, I’d call him!  I’d tell him in bullet points what I had done over the last few hours.  Then I’d tell him what I was getting ready to do.  Since directors don’t want you telling them all the details, I’d be short and sweet—thirty seconds to a minute.  I made sure that he heard lots of bullets.

“Great job Robert.   Thanks!”

The payoff: Once he knew what I was doing, he quit calling me!

A little secret here…  Picture a bullet point.  I’d break it down into 2 bullet points so it sounded like I was doing more!

Before long, he started getting on all the other people he managed telling them, “Why can’t you work like Robert.  He’s the only one getting anything done around here.”

I wasn’t doing any more than anyone else, but it seemed to him like I was.

He promoted me a year and a half later after I began working for him!

TIP #2 

Does your boss ever have to “approve” things before you can proceed?  In other words, you need your boss to make a decision, but you want the decision to be the one you’ve decided on?  Try this:

Let’s say you need your boss to approve a letter you’re sending out to the field.  Type it out two times—two different documents.  Make each copy look different, but have them say basically the same thing.  You’re just using different sentences and paragraphs.

Keep in mind that when you’re dealing with a director, they need to feel like they’re in control.  They love to make decisions.

You print out both sheets.  Lay them down in front of your boss and ask her which one she wants you to send out.  They’ll look at both of them, (maybe skimming them, but they won’t look at the details), then they’ll pick the one that “looks” best to them, and tell you, “Use this one.”  Takes about 5-10 seconds.

They feel like they’re in control, and you got what you wanted…

Works like a champ!

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  1. Paul R. Tibbetts
    Paul R. Tibbetts10-27-2011

    Hi Bob-
    Great description of a “Director” type personality, I was wondering if you could post the other three types on your blog as well.

    • Robert Mallon
      Robert Mallon10-27-2011

      Hi Paul, Yes I can… It will be in upcoming posts… Thanks for the comment. R-

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