The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is an excellent rule for ethical treatment of others. The Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as they prefer to be done unto,” is an excellent rule for communicating with people in all kinds of environments.
Tony Alessandra and Michael O’Connor have written an excellent book based on this principle. There are several other “personality types” or “social styles” books as well. But all the books and systems are based on the same Jungian Psychology of Personality Types.
The most complex and best documented of all of these is the Myers Briggs Type Inventory. It uses four dimensions to create sixteen basic personality types. Most of the other systems are simpler. They use two dimensions to create four personality types.
Essentially, you can learn two things from any of these systems. You can learn, first of all, how you tend to communicate, and what you value.
Do you communicate directly or indirectly? Are you more focused on the mission to be accomplished or is the relationship with the person you’re communicating with more naturally important to you?
You can also learn how to determine which styles other folks favor. That can help you understand how what you do can be very ineffective with some other people but work just fine with others.
With that knowledge you can develop your skill at adjusting your communication style so that it is more likely to be effective with the individual you need to reach and understand. In other words, you can learn how to apply the Platinum Rule and treat folks the way they prefer to be treated.
There can also be a third advantage to learning this material. If you are applying it in a work group where everybody gets the same training, the training will give you a common language for describing many types of communications in supervisory situations.
In my supervisory training and in using this material myself, I found that the MBTI is much more effective and nuanced in terms of analysis. But, I found that the social style systems are more likely to be used, and used effectively, when communicating in a social or business setting.
Myers Briggs simply has too many variables to be easy for a working supervisor to use. Simpler systems like the one in this book are better in the field. And I think this is the best book there is on social styles.
What Alessandra and O’Connor have done that is different from others is they have given you the ability to use a very simple and rough-cut method and then also the ability to go deeper into more variance of style. It’s almost like getting the best of the more complex instruments in with the simpler ones.
I’ve been using varieties of this material for almost thirty years in supervisory skills training. I’ve found that just about all of the reputable systems are first rate. But you should buy this book if you want one solid insight and reference source to help you do more effective communicating.