Work Style Preferences

by Nicole Usiondek, Head Editor, INALJ Michigan

Work Style Preferences

NAUI recently attended a seminar that focused on work style preferences. This was the first session of a leadership series. The premise of the seminar was to teach leadership skills by being able to identify the different work style preferences people have and how to successfully work with each style; basically to help people recognize other styles so that they can create teams based on team members strengths.

At the start of the seminar the participants were asked to complete a “Work Preference Inventory,” to determine which of the five possible categories each participant fell into. The categories were Focuser, Relater, Integrator, Operator or a combination of the previous four styles.

Focusers are the people who get things done; a focuser is the person you go to because you know they will be able to implement projects successfully. Relaters base their approach on gut feelings. They see the big picture and excel at coordinating activities. Integrators are the problem solvers. They ask and answer “why?” The Operators monitor and analyze things. They ask and answer “how?” The Combo is someone who has all of these traits.

I fell into the Combo work preference style. Essentially, what this means is that I am able to work with and understand most people and can handle most tasks thrown my way. I have found this to be true in my career. I am able to work with people that others describe as “difficult,” and not have the same problems that others have experienced. I think it is because once I understand where someone is coming from I can adjust my approach and find ways to accomplish the goals.

The take away of this seminar for me was a better understanding of workplace communication. The instructor stressed that questions are the tools of a leader and I do agree with that stance. When people are happy and feel valued they tend to get along with different groups and they are able to accomplish great things. I now view friction points as a chance to ask questions and find out where the communication came off track. It is a chance to understand how your team members tick; and it gives you the chance to ask the right questions.

I have been able to use this tool to overcome potential hurdles in the workplace and I am grateful for the chance to work through the friction points. My experience has been positive and I feel like the end product is stronger because of this tool set. I am looking forward to the next session in this leadership series.

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Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.