The poker player appears totally unemotional on the outside but on the inside it’s quite the opposite. They appear like a graceful duck gliding over the water surface, while underneath they are paddling furiously. They are the worker bees of the business world. Mild, laid back, patient, no stress. Intensely loyal and will complete all tasks – they HATE rapid change. 40% of the Western culture is made up of poker players. This article investigates how you can get the best from them and if you are one, how you can apply you strengths for maximum benefit.
The poker player has a need to serve, values loyalty and long term relationships, is patient and relaxed, and demands closure on tasks. They are extremely low risk takers and highly resistant to change. They will tolerate an adverse situation longer than most. You can spot them by their slow speech, their desk has family photos and other family memorabilia, their letters give lots of information (sometimes too much), they will usually follow time tested procedure, and generally stand leaning back with their hands in their pocket. Warm, not pushy, they will listen before talking and walk at an easy, steady pace.
The poker player is an excellent diffuser of emotional tension as they appear relaxed and don’t throw emotional fuel on the fire. Best suited for roles such as help desk support or psychology where a systematic approach is necessary to process people.
Other descriptors are:
- good listener
The poker player does not have a huge amount of friends but the ones they do are highly valued. Family is extremely important to them. If you are fortunate to be considered a friend to the poker player and are in a dangerous situation – the poker player is your salvation! They are the ones who will be driving the tank to save you! Extremely loyal, there is a flipside: they can be possessive and this often leads to jealousy. So if you ever foolishly even appear to have broken their trust in you, look forward to a very vindictive response. Watch out, the poker player holds grudges for a lifetime! Don’t even think about organising a surprise party or holiday for them! Let them be the last to speak in a group meeting and ensure only small changes take place over a period of time. If you are not the poker player, let them organise the holiday and not tell you until the last minute. As they are extremely systematic, you’ll end up with a very well planned itinerary.
The ideal job for poker player is one that:
- has established standards and methods
- allows ability to establish long standing relationships
- gives personal recognition for tasks completed and well done
- stable and predictable environment.
As a manager, you may never know that the poker player is not in agreement or understandings until it is too late (i.e. tasks not done, or they leave!). So you need to create an environment where they feel safe to let you know this so you can deal with it accordingly before it happens:
- start with personal comments, don’t rush headlong into business
- show sincere interest in them as a person
- be patient with them
- don’t be demanding or threatening, present your case logically and softly
- don’t mistake their willingness for satisfaction. You will need to look closely for any hurt feelings
- don’t promise what you can’t deliver
- allow them time to think.
When managing the poker player, you need to explain upcoming changes in order to prepare them for it. The business of change management was created for these people! Involve them in longer tem planning. Always allow them time to finish the task they started, and assign them fewer large projects. You will need to clearly define parameters and requirements of the task. The poker player likes to work in small teams and stay in there. So avoid swapping them from team to team.
Possible limitations of the poker player are:
- take work criticism personally
- resist change just for change sake
- need help starting new projects
- have difficulty establishing priorities
- wait for orders before acting
- give false sense of compliance
- be too hard on themselves
- may stay involved in a situation too long
- not project a sense of urgency.
If you are wanting to inspire a poker player, you need to take it slow and easy. Provide plenty of proof and statistics too! It may take additional conversations for reassurances to be reached. Make sure you answer all their questions. Under that John Wayne man-on-hill veneer, the poker player is highly emotional so be very careful of you wording and build trust through a continual process. If you smell like you’re a sales person and not a consultant really wanting the best for them – you are sunk! So be sincere, use a quiet manner with simple explanations and explain details. Beware, they will make emotional work decisions if family is concerned.
Closes that work with the poker player are: “try before you buy” and “think about it then consider a deposit”. The poker player will never rush into making a purchase or following change. They want to hear about if other people are also using the product they are being sold, and also what happens if it doesn’t work. So drop names and have a warranty or full backup plan if the change you’re proposing does not work.
This emotional behavioural profile is statistically the highest in Australia – the “She’ll be right” or “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. This behavioural profile is the hardest to pick due to their non-emotional exterior. Miss the clues at your detriment!