So, we’ve looked at the Drivers and how to work with them, but what about the other three types? Let’s take a closer look at the Integrator, and how to spot one. We’ll also tell you how to go about working with one because, as we’ve mentioned, Business Chemistry is about action, not introspection!
Recognising an Integrator
Integrator motto: It’s all about consensus!
Integrators are our ‘people’ people; they are connectors. They connect with people, place importance on relationships and like to be helpful. They’re also traditional, trusting, and dutiful. Their strongest traits are: their tendency to avoid confrontation and seek consensus; their empathy; and their tolerance of ambiguity. For these reasons our Integrators are polar opposites to Drivers, who tend to prioritise goals over relationships.
Integrators also tend to connect ideas. Although their way of thinking is non-linear, they are contextual and like to know how everything fits into the bigger picture.
Generally, Integrators think through decisions very carefully and seek a lot of input from others before they do so; they want to get a sense of whether people are in agreement and happy. Integrators are not particularly keen on risk-taking, but if they see their group heading in that direction they will be more inclined to get on board. The implications of a decision on those around them are likely to be important to an Integrator and they’ll consider them carefully. It’s also worth noting that Integrators are prone to changing their mind.
How to work with an Integrator
Integrators tend to have strong people-skills and you can best relate to them by drawing on your own. Be friendly and personal in a way that’s authentic for you; be an active listener and make eye contact – make your interest known. You may want to express some emotion and use storytelling to illustrate facts or analysis you hope to share with an Integrator. And please… don’t skip the small talk, confront them in a blunt or aggressive manner, brag, interrupt, or remain aloof. That’s just not going to work.
What about some more type-specific tips:
If you’re a Pioneer, you might find you have a lot in common with an Integrator, including a tendency towards big picture-thinking, an appreciation for context, and an expressive, collaborative style. Your story-telling skills will be an asset, and if you can make your stories about people, even better. The Integrator might move a little more slowly than you and spend more energy on gauging the opinions of other people, so hold your horses and indulge their desire to bring others along for the ride.
If you’re a Guardian, the Integrator shares your distaste for confrontation, so make sure any issues that need to be discussed are surfaced and not ignored; there can be just enough room for an elephant or two to hide between a Guardian and an Integrator. Be patient with discussions that may seem tangential, an Integrator’s way of thinking through an issue may be more round-about than yours. Start with some personal connections before launching into planning, and then provide the facts and structure that an Integrator may not naturally seek, as well as the context they need.
If you’re a Driver, you may need to stop revving your engine for a minute. Your tendency to be highly goal-focused, and your accompanying blunt approach might offend an Integrator. It’s not that Integrators don’t care about achievement, but they often also care deeply about how the pursuit of goals affects people. Do your best to consider the people-implications and to connect personally with an Integrator before jumping into business.
If you’re an Integrator yourself, you’re likely to have an easy and enjoyable time working with another Integrator, but you’ll want to watch out for getting stuck in an endless loop of considering and reconsidering every option. And, you may want to suggest having the difficult conversation, diplomatically of course, when there is something that needs to be addressed, as together you might tend toward sweeping things under the rug.
Integrators out there, anything else we’ve missed? We want to hear from you.