Dealing With Others Through Understanding Situational Behaviour

By Andrew Grant

The Key To Increasing Your Productivity

What do the Four Seasons Hotel Bali and the Surabaya International Hospital have in common? The Four Seasons Bali has been recognised as one of the best resort hotels in the world, while Surabaya International Hospital is one if Indonesia’s leading hospitals. Both companies are striving to lead their respective fields in customer service, and both have recognised that the way to do this is through creating high performance work teams, by understanding staff-to-staff and staff-to-client relationships.

But what is the biggest difference? Those who enter the lobby of the Four Seasons are anticipating spending the best week of their lives, while those who walk through the front doors of the Surabaya International Hospital are most likely in a very different mindset.

When we recently ran training programs for these two very different industries, we found it was a fascinating exercise to consider the value of recognising the similarities and differences. Both of the executive teams we worked with not only realise that everyone is an individual and must be treated with respect, but also that each of us responds differently to circumstances depending on our environment. The staff can either create an environment to encourage the most positive responses, or adapt the way individuals relate to each other according to the particular environment they are working in.

Failure to respond to individual people’s needs in the given environment can result in lost sales, dissatisfied customers, low team morale, and misunderstandings, sometimes resulting in serious and costly industrial action. Knowing how to react to people in these different situations is an acquired skill. Many conflicts can be avoided and even apparently insurmountable problems can have positive outcomes with an understanding of the way people behave.


Quick Quiz

Consider the sample questions in this quick quiz, which demonstrates how people differ and how they can and should be dealt with differently. Try it on yourself and your work team:

About yourself:

  • What motivates you: Achievement, recognition, stability, or the need to be right?
  • What environment do you work best in: Busy, relaxed, stimulating, or stable?
  • How do you make decisions: Quick and impulsive, based on relationships, slow and studied or based on careful research?
  • What is your preferred conversation style? Bottom line, people orientated, systematic or factual?

About customer service:

  • How do you know when a customer wants to chat or be left alone?
  • How do you turn a complaint into a victory, where the customer is transformed into your best marketing person?

About your team:

  • How do you decide on the best combination of people to work together in a work team?
  • How do you decide on the best role or job for an individual?


Consider how, for example, if you place someone who needs challenges in an environment that is too relaxed they may become restless and invent challenges and cause problems. On the other hand, if you deal with someone who needs stability, you will make that individual feel insecure if you introduce rapid change, and they may react against the situation. Anyone in any leadership role or with any concern for work team functioning should appreciate the need to adequately deal with these questions.

By discovering individuals’ drives and motivations and then learning about how these affect our behaviours, behaviour profiling systems such as DiSC can help individuals understand typical behaviours in specific settings. We used this profiling system with both the Four Seasons Hotel and the Surabaya International Hospital to identify staff and client needs, and help bring an appreciation of how these can best be understood and dealt with. The outcomes were amazing.

Through understanding what people’s leisure needs and expectations are, customers at the Four Seasons can now be treated on even more of an individual level, right down to recognising and appreciating their personal preferences. By understanding the fears patients may have when entering a hospital setting, the Surabaya International Hospital can now help them through what could be a traumatic time, ensuring a holistic approach to health care. Most of all, by understanding how each of the work teams function, both these companies are able to demonstrate to their clients a high morale and a positive strength. They can ensure that stressful situations are successfully dealt with by maximising the resources and strengths of the team and minimising any weaknesses.

We don’t want to just offer a training program but want to help you solve problems! Tirian is able to provide solutions to problems through their creative “Justified Fun” training programs. For more details please visit

©2000 Andrew Grant


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2 Responses to “Dealing With Others Through Understanding Situational Behaviour”

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