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Cats and Dogs: Basic Office Language

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This week our editors at JingJobs took a closer look into Michael Grinder’s simple theory in his contemporary book “Charisma: The Art of Relationships” which takes a closer look into how individuals communicate in a professional environment and how to recognize certain forms of communication. Grinder’s theory splits human beings’ personality into two types: cats and dogs. In this personality division personal preference between the two animals is irrelevant, rather this division is based on your communication habits and personality type.

“Cat” types are characterized as being calm, reasonable, cool, credible and decisive. “Dogs” are, by contrast, logically more dog-like: they want to be liked, they’re sociable, they’re approachable and seek approval. According to Grinder’s research, around 70 per cent of the Western world are ‘dogs’ and 30 per cent are ‘cats’. Grinder’s statistics also show that men in particular behave more like cats – avoiding eye contact and listening silently. Dogs on the other hand make eye contact, nod and interact. Grinder’s theory does not convey that there is one type which is particularly ‘better’ nor is one type more specifically more ‘successful’. In fact, in Grinder’s works he points out that the most successful people are those who manage to get on with everyone and can flip between both communication forms.

Furthermore, in Grinder’s studies, he shows that team building and developing professional relations in the office requires a degree of stage play and acting through flipping between these two personality types. If you tend to be a bit of a puppy’ish people-pleaser and sense that colleagues at work end up walking all over you or looking down on you, then why not try and be a bit more of an independent and restrained cat-like version of yourself! Similarly, if you have a boss who is always trying new, enthusiastic approaches and you find yourself hissing at these attempts, sneering and shying away from office banter, it seems logical that trying to be a more responsive and interactive doggish version of yourself would contribute to team building.

Does this simple theory hold the answers to building relations in the office environment? If you are curious as to whether your body language and communicative skills are painting you out to be a cat or a dog, we highly recommend you to check out Michael Grinder’s book “Charisma: The Art of Relationships”. Let us know what types of animals you are surrounded by in the office environment.

Politics in the office and in the animal world

“Office politics” are the strategies that people play to gain advantage, personally or for a cause they support. The term often used in a negative context, in that it refers to strategies people use to seek advantage at the expense of others. In this context, it often adversely affects the working environment, as well as the friendships and professional relations within it. Good “office politics”, on the other hand, can help you fairly promote yourself and contribute to team building within your network or environment. Office politics are inevitable due to the widely varying personality traits and communication forms taking place in the office. Some people have more power than others, either through experience in the office or some other basis of influence. Starting as a young professional the animal language of office politics might seem foreign and unknown, however there are many ways to deal with office politics in a rational manner in order to ensure that you fit in nicely with your colleagues in your new (or old) office environment. The best way to handle the complexity of foreign office politics is to be a good observer and then use the information you gather to build yourself a strong network to operate in. Build relationships with the people around you, focus on your formal and informal network and don’t be afraid of contact with powerful in your office. Most importantly, consult your own behavior; don’t find yourself being that co-worker who is the one passing on all the gossip, be a model for your team as a friendly, open, confident and integrative team member and avoid unnecessary petty office politics.

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TAKE OUR TEST ! WHICH OFFICE ANIMAL ARE YOU?

  • What would you capture as being your strongest personality trait in the office?
  • Self-sufficient and independent
  • Proud an sociable
  • Confident yet reserved and serious
  • Knowledgeable and good at giving advice

 

  • How would you describe your friendship and relations with other co-workers?
  • Distant and serious
  • Amicable and funny
  • Loud and banterous
  • Friendly, sympathetic and slightly serious

 

  • How would you describe your work ethic?
  • I work better and more efficiently when I am working independently.
  • I love working with others, but am not willing to take the lead I’d rather take a back seat and help as much as I can.
  • I’m a great team member and love think outside of the box and throwing in original ideas.
  • I can work both in teams and independently. I have a lot of experience in my field and can help other co-workers out.

 

  • My strongest professional skills would be:
  • I am a fast paced, independent, savvy and intelligent.
  • I am social and good at helping others with everything.
  • Creative thinker, confident, not scared to put my ideas forward, good at organizing and implementing my plans and ideas.
  • Mathematically inclined, efficient, keen to help other co-workers if they need so.

 

  • If someone wants you to complete a deadline as soon as possible, you …
  • I work for my own deadlines and will share work with others when I feel ready to do so.
  • Work as quick as a cat and make sure I get it done as fast as possible.
  • Work at a fast pace, but I want to make sure my work is done thoroughly and properly and would never hand in a task half finished just to meet the deadline.
  • Work fast, usually I am fine meeting my deadlines because I am confident and efficient in my work.

 

What office animal are you?

Mostly A: Fox :

You are cunning and intelligent and you’re not afraid to do what it takes to get by. Being streetwise and savvy are your main traits, you see opportunities where others see obstacles and are quick to grasp the potential of any situation (before anyone else does).

You’re self-sufficient and do your best work after dark.

Most likely to work in an office as: Legal

 

Mostly B: Peacock:

Preening and proud, you’re not afraid to show off your best side to those at work. You’re never dull and bring real style and colour into the office with the way you dress and the way you act.

No one else in your company has the ability to turn heads the way you do and you thrive on this and play to the crowds. This makes you popular and not easily forgotten by those who you come into contact with.

Most likely to work in an office as: Receptionist/PA

 

Mostly C: Butterfly

Once an unassuming caterpillar, your teammates have witnessed you blossom into a thing of beauty. Your confidence radiates as you flit from department to department, an all-rounder and social butterfly of the team.

Known for your vibrant style, you’re guaranteed to bring life into the office. Now you’re finally out of your shell, there’s no chance you’ll shy away again.

Most likely to work in an office as: Creative team, PR

 

Mostly D: Tortoise

Part of the furniture, you’ve been in employment longer than most team members have been alive! You truly believe slow and steady wins the race, your knowledge means you’re the go-to for advice, there’s nothing you haven’t seen before.

You may seem timid, but you’ve got a hard shell, you can’t be rushed and you’ll poke your head out from time to time just to remind everyone you’re there.

Most likely to work in an office as: Accountant, Finance

Picture credit: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41pmc3qnk8L._SY346_.jpg

 

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