We all have our own unique working styles.

Working styles (Hay, 1996) are unique patterns of behavior, communication, and decision making that we adopt in our personal and professional interactions. These are the preferred ways we approach our work, collaborate with others, and handle challenges.

These styles can vary from person to person, and they are influenced by one’s personality, upbringing, experiences, and learned behaviors.

Each working style possesses unique strengths and offers valuable approaches to navigating the world.

You might recognize a bit of each style in you, but you might have two or three working styles that are prominent.

However, if we rely on these working styles without awareness, they can limit our potential.

What is your Working Style?

According to Hay (1996), there are five working styles. They include,

  • be perfect
  • please others
  • try hard
  • be strong
  • hurry up

1.  Be perfect:

If you are a ‘be perfect’ person, your strength is that you are organized, you show attention to details, strive for excellence, you are a high achiever and complete tasks diligently.

On the other hand, you may constantly push yourself to meet exceedingly high standards. You may have a strong desire to avoid mistakes.  You may be too hard on yourself and others. You look for too many details and may lose overall focus. You frequently use the word ‘should’, and you are readily judgmental.

It is important to note that the “be perfect” mode can be potentially harmful in the long run.  When you constantly pursue perfection, it may lead to stress, anxiety, and a fear of failure. It can also prevent you from taking risks, being flexible, or enjoying the process of learning.

2.  Please others:

Being a “please others” person, you value peace and harmony. You ensure that everybody is included, happy, and no one is left out.  You are empathetic, ready to listen to others, and flexible to accommodate others.

On the other hand, you prioritize others’ needs over your own. You constantly seek approval from others. You overly accommodate to avoid conflicts and easily hurt by criticism. You are bad at asking what you want.

Constantly focusing on pleasing others can be detrimental to well-being.  It can lead to a lack of assertiveness, difficulty setting boundaries, and over time, you may feel drained, unfulfilled, and resentful.

3.  Try Hard:

As a “Try hard” person, you are energetic, enthusiastic, love innovative new ideas, initiate new things, and have a wide range of interests.

At the same time, you exert significant effort to gain approval from others. You may have a deep-seated fear of failure, and believe that your worth is tied to your accomplishments.  You push yourself beyond reasonable limits.  Further, you may get bored quickly and you don’t complete tasks.

It is imperative to note that the “try hard” mode can be exhausting in the long run. It can lead to chronic stress, burnout, and a diminished sense of self-worth if achievements are not attained.  It may also prevent you from truly enjoying the process.

4.  Be Strong:

If you are a ‘be strong’ person, you are a strong thinker, you keep calm in crisis, you like routines, and prefer being logical. 

At the same time, you are emotionally distant, prefer not showing vulnerability or emotions, and don’t ask for help. 

This mode often stems from a fear of being seen as inadequate, a desire to maintain control, or a belief that you must handle everything on your own.  You strive to appear tough and independent even in the face of challenges or emotional difficulties.

The “be strong” mode can be isolating and emotionally draining.  By suppressing your emotions, you may struggle to connect with others on a deeper level and may feel overwhelmed by the burden of carrying everything alone.

5.  Hurry up:

“Hurry up” refers to a pattern of behavior where you feel a constant need to rush and complete tasks as fast as possible.

Being a “Hurry up” person, you do your jobs quickly, you think, talk, and act fast, and you are good at multitasking.

But, you leave things to the last minute and then rush to finish, so you make mistakes.  You may have a sense of urgency and may feel pressured by deadlines, leading you to prioritize speed over quality.  

This mode often stems from a fear of falling behind, a desire to prove oneself, or a belief that productivity is directly linked to one’s worth.

The constant “hurry up” mode can be stressful and counterproductive.  It may prevent you from fully engaging in the present moment, enjoying the journey, and taking the time to consider alternative approaches.

Why do you operate from one or more working styles?

Since childhood, you would have experimented with various behaviors, learned which ones got more attention, and you engage in exploration of those behaviors in order to establish a sense of validation. 

For example: “I feel OK only if I do things perfectly.”  (We call it conditional OKness).

Individuals who got trapped in their limiting beliefs often exhibit these working styles (Kahler & Capers, 1974).  

This means that when you lack resourcefulness, your behavior unconsciously tends to be influenced by these styles, and it further intensifies unhelpful patterns of behavior.

“Our working styles are strategies that protect our unconscious underlying sense of not-OKness.”

Karen Pratt (2021)

How can you use your working styles effectively?

Being aware of your own working styles helps you to know your strengths and contribute to your relationships as well as team collaboration.

If you are a ‘be perfect’ person, it is important to understand that it is okay to make mistakes. By encouraging realistic expectations and self-acceptance, you can free yourself from the constant pressure of being perfect and instead focus on your personal well-being.

When you recognize yourself as a ‘please others’ person, you can assertively communicate your needs and set healthy boundaries to help you develop healthier relationships and lead more fulfilling lives.

If you are a ‘try hard’ person, setting realistic goals and knowing your intrinsic worth beyond external achievements, may help.

Being a ‘be strong’ person, expressing your emotions in a healthy manner and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, helps you to foster deeper connections.  

When you identify yourself as a ‘hurry up’ person, prioritizing effectiveness over speed and recognizing that taking necessary time to complete tasks leads to better outcomes, you can reduce stress and improve decision-making.

Free vector man and woman touching each other when work is done

At workplace,

  • An organization or a manager may recognize an employee’s working style and encourage him/her to leverage it as a strength, especially when working with teams.
  • Further, awareness of working styles can be created among the employees for them to recognize their strengths and overcome weaknesses.
  • An organization has to realize that it can be powerful for people to work explicitly with their own styles and that different people bring different strengths to the team.  This allows the organization to assign suitable tasks for maximum cooperation and success.
  • Further, recognizing different working styles can help individuals and teams foster effective communication and manage conflicts, thus leading to a more productive and harmonious work environment.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Drop in your mail for weekly updates

Share this post with your friends

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
error: Content is protected !!