People Styles at Work and Beyond - Proteus Leadership
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“Whether at work or at home, success and happiness involve relating to others across a chasm of significant behavioural differences. Clearly, if you could figure out how to bridge the gap between yourself and others, you could make your own life - and theirs - much easier, happier, and more productive. That in a nutshell is what this book is about.”

People Styles at Work and Beyond

Making Bad Relationships Good and Good Relationships Better

People Styles at Work has become a Proteus classic. It is a must read for all new staff at Proteus, especially our leading educators, as the Behavioural Style model explained in this book is an essential part of our key leadership development programs.

First released in the mid 1990’s and based on Dr. David Merrill’s 1960’s Social Style grid, Bolton and Bolton describe a very accessible and easy to understand model with four key styles – Analytical, Driver, Amiable and Expressive. The authors describe how we all individually gravitate to one of the four styles as our dominant ‘comfort zone’, which becomes our default habitual way of engaging in the world.

Whilst most popular models focus on ‘psychological types’ – which really should be left to qualified psychologists – what I love about this behavioural model is that it focuses on the differences between people’s outer behaviours, rather than differences in their inner states.

Therefore, you simply need to look at people’s outer behaviours and this will give you tremendous indicators into what their dominant style actually is. Plus, it includes a self-assessment for determining which style you are and how you tend to behave:

Analytical – people who focus on facts and specific details and like to slowly and steadily get things right

Driver – people who get things done fast and focus on the task at hand with the final outcome in mind – they want action and are driven by results

Amiable – people who love to build relationships and engage with all individuals and groups – they are your social glue in the workplace

Expressive – people who are high energy, fast paced and conceptual – they are inspired by future possibilities and looking at things in new ways

All people exhibit one of these four styles, which determines how they think, make decisions, communicate, manage time and stress, and deal with conflict.

Once you have insight into yours and other people’s styles, the key beauty of this book is that it gives you great strategies and practical ways to flex your style to help build better and healthier relationships. Working with different styles without insight, or a model to work from, can be fraught with danger as people differences are typically sighted as the number one reason for so called ‘personality clashes’. However, when you ask yourself, “what behaviours can I adjust right now to work more effectively with others” your ability to flex becomes the key to transforming relationships. Bolton and Bolton reinforce that this is not about manipulation or conformity – it is about a genuine desire to stay true to yourself, while simultaneously working well with others to get the job done.

So, if you have a real desire to build great relationships in your personal and professional life – I highly recommend this book. It is simple to understand, gives you immense insight into what drives and motivates human behaviour and it is profoundly practical in application on how you can flex your style for success. This book will help you make dysfunctional relationships functional, plus it will help you move relationships from good to exceptional.

“Style flex is not about changing the other person; it’s about changing yourself.”


Proteus Leadership is one of Australia’s premier leadership training and development companies. Proteus Leadership provides leadership courses and management training to a range of industries and assists organisations to build positive workplace cultures, implement change and Create Great Leaders. Proteus also facilitates a range of world-class management courses, workshops, conferences and events across Australia and beyond with the sole purpose of bringing leaders together to connect and grow.

“Our core purpose is to Create Great Leaders that will in turn build Great companies and develop Great teams.”

Richard Dore

Book review by:
Richard Dore - CEO, Proteus Leadership

Robert Bolton & Dorothy Grover Bolton