Helping people understand themselves is a large part of what I do. There are various tools to assist with this process, but a solid go to assessment includes the DISC (Thank you creator of Wonder Woman) combined with Driving Forces. This combination helps people understand both their behavioral style (How they do things) along with their motivations (Why they do things).
One of my favorite opportunities to help with this understanding is part of a three-day learning experience for supervisors. I have the opportunity to spend a few hours walking these 20 supervisors through their styles.
Typically during the periodic breaks, many of them come up and want to discuss their results in more detail.
“Hey, I know it says that I can be perceived as harsh, but that is not who I am trying to be, how can I change this perception?”
“When it describes me as picky how can I balance that with the job that does have a need for accuracy and follow through?”
“Wow, how did this thing know so much about me?”
But it was a few days ago that something really caught my attention.
The session began, and one person in particular was noticeable.
I could read the body language. Arms folded, looking annoyed.
Shaking their head No.
Hardness in their face.
Then the break.
I knew what would be coming next.
They were the first to come talk to me.
The tone was aggressive.
They were on the defense.
“Hey, this thing is not right. It is not accurate.”
I paused and looked down at the page.
I can see the page, the graph, the chart.
“I didn’t really read it all, but what I did read was not me! That is not how I am perceived, and I really care about doing what is right!”
They are standing and move closer to me. We are now face-to-face. I can feel them in my space.
There is another supervisor watching this interaction, they can see the same page I can see. Their glance goes from that page, to me, to the defensive supervisor. A slight smile appears.
I smile as well.
There are more words.
I look down at the chart once more.
There is a pause.
A hard look at the offending page.
A third smile.
“Wait a minute. Did I just provide you with the evidence that this report is accurate?”
I waited and then chimed in.
“Well, what I see is someone who relies on past experience, and proven methods, who may be skeptical of new information, especially that which may be critical of you, because your strong ego may get in the way. Also, you may periodically bring a more aggressive approach than needed, especially when you feel threatened.”
Smiles all around.
“I think I am starting to get it. It is not easy coming to grips with who I am. Some of this report is great, some of it feels hard.”
“Now you are getting it. There are parts of you that are really great and help you to be successful. But some of what we are here to deal with are the parts that get in the way of your success.”
“Thank you for being patient with me.”
“Thank you for providing the evidence that these reports are pretty accurate.”
Learning about your style is not always easy. The hard parts are easily rejected.
But sometimes, circumstances provide the Evidence needed to move forward.