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What’s your client’s working style? And do you match it?

by Leo Wiles
29 June 2018

Do your clients want a wombat, eagle, dolphin or kangaroo? Yep, I realise that may sound like a silly question, but bear with me. Understanding your client’s working style so you stop rubbing each other up the wrong way can be a great move towards a more compatible (and profitable) collaboration.

Imagine it: a time when you’re no longer wasting time on misunderstandings. Or delivering on briefs only to find that your vision and the client’s vision somehow got lost in translation.

What’s your working style?

This is where those four animal ‘types’ come in. Chances are you’ve already done Myer Briggs – well, I’ve recently discovered a far more fun and friendly alternative. It’s Aus. Identity, by Michael White which proved a real eye opener in its candid formalisation of personality types.

I’m going to come clean and admit it: I’m a ‘wombat’. Apparently this means I like times to think things through and have a need for certainty and clarification. Which explains how I came to be completely at odds with a particular publisher and editor – both whom I suspect were impulsive ‘kangaroos’ who liked working off the cuff.

Our polar working styles ended up with my resignation, as I could not stand what I saw as their fast and loose recklessness with my work and others. On the flipside, I’m sure that my constant flagging of potential issues and request for pre-planning made them view me as a pessimistic naysayer rather than the organised problem-solver I am.

Your working style versus your client’s

So before throwing in the towel with a client who seems to be a disorganised slacker, recognise that they may just have a completely different take on how to get things done. And being the freelancer in the equation, you need to be the bigger better person if you you want to retain that particular client.

That means recognising the working style of the people who commission you and adjusting your expectations and interactions accordingly.  Even if it means taking a different tack or asking for some regular face time, to ensure that small misunderstandings don’t become deal-breakers.

Are you a wombat? Take AusIDentities quiz to find out.

Leo Wiles

Leo Wiles has worked as an editor, journalist and PR for over 20 years before recently retraining as a photographer. These days, she spends her time behind a lens, juggling her own clients with her work at Rachel's List, and her three gorgeous but lively kids.

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