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I’ve been studying and teaching the Behavioral Model for nine years now, but I still find that the best learning moments come from real life situations. Those situations where you think to yourself, “You can’t make this stuff up!” The Behavioral Model gives us insights into different personality styles’ responses to stressful situations. I like to think that I have this superpower to predict how people will react when things aren’t going right. In reality, it’s just my knowledge of the Behavioral Model. The type of situation varies, but inevitably the personality styles will prevail and you will see the same patterns.

With a fair share of distress, I had my most recent “learning moment” at the closing of my new house. Distress doesn’t always have to be bad, though. It can happen when something is extremely important to an individual… like buying and selling a house. I had never met the seller or the seller’s realtor before this moment, yet I was still able to immediately identify what personality styles they were because distress doesn’t lie. Unfortunately for us, our distress was caused by major hiccups during the closing which delayed the process. Cue severe distress signals, please!

The Buyer
Personality Style: Connector

I am a Connector. I want to be the harmonizer and make sure everyone is happy. We found out that we did not have all of the proper paperwork because my realtor and the title company didn’t catch it. I immediately started apologizing to everyone, even though this was not my fault.

Connectors in distress over-accommodate, apologize for things that are not our fault, and advertise our need for recognition of person. Luckily, we were able to move forward with the process, but at this point I was in severe distress. For Connectors, this means becoming confused, overwhelmed, and a greater tendency to make mistakes.

As I was signing the mountain of paperwork, I needed validation with each signature. This may sound ridiculous, but at times I would even sign my name wrong. Ahhh distress, you get me every time! I had a very patient, kind, and wonderful woman helping me. With each document and signature, she gave me recognition of person and the warm smile I needed. She told me that I was okay, this happens to everyone, and I wasn’t alone… all perfect support for a Connector in distress.

Let’s rewind and review the other characters in the room:

The Seller
Personality Style: Advisor

While I was scrambling to fix our situation, the title company was able to have the seller sign his paperwork. With each document he would say, “Now why am I signing this one?” or “Can someone explain to me why I have to sign this twice?” My two personal favorites were “I am not signing anything until I understand why I am doing it,” and “Thank you for that explanation, I just needed the ‘why.’” If you haven’t figured it out yet, the seller is an Advisor.

Advisors in distress will focus on the flaw. For Advisors, the question “why” is crucial to the decision-making process. They have a strong belief in doing the right thing. Understanding “why” is important to make sure that he is making the right decision. If he didn’t ask “why” and ended up signing something he didn’t agree with, it would have been his fault for never asking.

The Seller’s Realtor
Personality Style: Doer

When the seller’s realtor heard that the closing may be delayed, she started giving directives. To the title company: “Send the right paperwork right now, they can get it re-notarized and send it right back.” To me: “Call Barrett (my husband) now. Tell him he needs to print out the paperwork and find a notary.”

To my realtor’s stand-in: “Get Sam on the phone. He can tell the title company to move forward.” In this situation, she wanted to make things happen. She is a Doer. In distress, Doers look out for number one. In this situation, that meant making the closing happen so she gets her cut of the commission.

At the end of the day, we were able to close and everyone left happy. On the surface level, everyone was happy because we closed, but it went deeper than that. During this crazy process, we were in distress, yet we all had our needs met.

As a Connector, I got my need for recognition of person met from the title company employee who supported me throughout the process. The Advisor seller got his recognition for convictions and accomplishments met by getting the explanations to “why” he was signing documents. Finally, the Doer realtor had her incidence need met by getting the deal done.

Like I said, you can’t make this stuff up! Next time you find yourself in a stressful situation, listen to the people around you. What language are they advertising? How can you positively meet their needs to make a stressful situation a happy one? Distress doesn’t always have to get the best of us!