One of the most important things to understand about behavior styles is that they are not fixed. We can all intentionally and temporarily change our behavior to improve an interaction or relationship. This is called “rotating your iceberg.” We use the metaphor of an iceberg to illustrate how we prefer and change behavior styles. The visible part of the iceberg reflects our outward behavior, while the hidden part ties to our internal values, beliefs, and drivers. When we rotate our iceberg, we are changing our outward behavior to match the needs of the situation.

For example, if you prefer a Controller style (direct, decisive, task-oriented), you might rotate your iceberg and show more Persuader behavior (people-oriented, enthusiastic, verbally expressive) when you are trying to create enthusiasm for a team project or activity. Or, if you prefer Persuader, you might rotate your iceberg to be more Stabilizer (harmonious, supportive, relationship-oriented) when you are trying to resolve a conflict with an individual.

Rotating your iceberg can be a helpful way to improve your communication and relationships. However, it is important to be genuine and authentic when you do it. You don’t want to come across as fake or insincere.

Here are some tips for rotating your iceberg effectively:

If you are interested in learning more about behavior styles and rotating your iceberg, download the worksheet below. You’ll need to identify two people:

With your accountability partner, plan what changes you will make when you interact with the specific individual (btw, the Behavior Styles Quick Reference Card is an excellent resource for this type of planning). These changes can be as subtle or moderate as you like, but make sure you have discussed your plan and gotten feedback from your accountability partner ahead of time. That way, when you debrief the interaction with them, they can provide more helpful feedback.

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