How to win over anyone at work, remotely

Are your colleagues ‘mobilisers’ or ‘synthesisers’? Knowing the answer will help you get along better with everyone. Here, leadership coach and consultant Catherine Stothart explains what to look for

Whether it’s a team member not pulling their weight, a clash of personalities, or someone who unduly takes credit for somebody else’s work, work life is never without its conflicts. And, with people under increasing pressure at work, and technology making communication faster and round the clock, it would seem that the scope for interpersonal flare-ups is greater than ever before.

Wouldn’t life be easier if we could all just get along better? Leadership coach and consultant Catherine Stothart believes it’s possible if we become more self-aware about the way we interact with each other.

“Everyone has an interaction style that fits into one of four categories – mobiliser, navigator, energiser and synthesiser,” she says. Understanding which one we fall into – as well the ones our colleagues do – helps us to become better communicators, ultimately leading to fewer clashes and a happier, conflict-free work environment.

1. The mobiliser
How to recognise one: Mobilisers like to get things done – and quickly. They come across as determined, straightforward and direct. An easy way to identify mobilisers is they tend to talk and move fast. They get stressed if they feel as if no action has been taken.

How to communicate with them: “Sometimes mobilisers can seem too impatient or demanding,” says Stothart. “If you want to get on with a mobiliser at work, let them know what you are doing and when. If you know you have a mobiliser style, consciously think about how to slow down and bring people along.

What to say to a mobiliser: “I will get it done by 5pm today.”
What not to say to a mobiliser: “I don’t know when I’ll get to that.”

2. The navigator
How to recognise one: Navigators are planners who like to take their time and consider everything. They are focused, calm and methodical individuals. You can spot a navigator because they typically approach work as if they’re studying for an exam. “Sometimes they can come across as slow or pedantic,” says Stothart.

How to communicate with them: “To get on with a navigator at work, get them to discuss their plan with you,” suggests Stothart. “If you are a navigator, it’s important to show your colleagues a bit of warmth and engage with social chitchat so you don’t come across as too serious.”

What to say to a navigator: “Let’s agree a clear plan.”
What not to say to a navigator: “How about brainstorming some other options?”

3. The energiser
How to recognise one: The energiser is the office cheerleader. With seemingly boundless enthusiasm, they throw themselves into tasks and are deeply involved in work – whether it’s vying to work on a big new client pitch or organising a team social event. They are usually engaging and persuasive but get stressed when other people don’t share their enthusiasm for getting involved.

How to communicate with them: They can also come across as chaotic and can make other people feel confused, says Stothart. If you want to get on with an energiser, then find ways to collaborate with them. If you are an energiser yourself, then try to slow down and say less.

What to say to an energiser: “That’s a really good idea, let’s discuss it some more.”
What not to say to an energiser: “I’m not sure. I don’t want to be involved.”

4. The synthesiser
How to recognise one: Synthesisers always strive to get the best possible results at work. Whether it’s taking meticulous notes in meetings or creating detailed PowerPoint decks, they will go above and beyond to get the results they desire. In doing so, they like to take their time and gather as much information as possible before making decisions. However, they can appear to be indecisive and meandering, says Stothart. And, if they don’t feel they have had long enough to work on a project, or don’t get credit for their work, they can get annoyed.

How to communicate with them: “Become more amenable to a synthesiser by making sure you give them the time they need to work on a project and give them credit for their efforts along the way,” says Stothart. “If you are a synthesiser and would like to get on better with your colleagues, then be more decisive and tell them when you make decisions.”

What to say to a synthesiser: “How much time would you like to get that done?”
What not to say to a synthesiser: “Give me a yes or no answer.”

Catherine Stothart is the author of How to Get on with Anyone: Gain the confidence and charisma to communicate with any personality type, published by Pearson

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