I’m often asked the same question over and over:
Is there one personality or working style that determines if someone will be a better colleague or leader than other personalities?
Nope. In the work I’ve done over the past few years, there is not ONE style or personality that is always more effective than others. I have met introverted, quiet and analytical types to master the art of leading large groups. I’ve also encountered energizing, results-oriented visionaries that are terrible at leading and driving change for their teams. So who really wins this game?
In my experience, if a person can master the art of the three concepts below, they are on the way to greatness:
Take the time to explore your own motivators, stressors, and personality style. What are you great at, and what do you struggle with? How does that influence your reactions and relationships? What style are the people you are closest to, and how are you similar and different?
When you really do the hard work of trying to understand yourself and others, you uncover layers that lead to less frustration or misunderstandings. You start to see how we all handle conflict, work, emotions and time so incredibly differently. You realize that no one is wrong or our to get you. We are just all very different, valuable, and misunderstanding each other so very often.
How have you influenced a situation, and what do you bring to the table- both good and bad? What part of each situation, project or relationship can you take full ownership of? What parts of your personality can you truly recognize might negatively affect others?
I am famous for having grand ideas for new projects or programs, but following through on details and analysis is extremely difficult for me. When a part of my grand idea isn’t done correctly, who does that fall on? ME. It’s on me, because I failed to define it correctly or follow through effectively. OWN your part, people.
You might dislike social mingling or talking about your personal life at work. I get it, and I understand. But if you are in a situation that requires it, can you do it? I don’t like slowing down and walking though spreadsheets for hours, but if the project or situation requires it… I have to get uncomfortable and get down to business.
Adapting IS possible.
When you truly adapt, you are not changing who you are – you are instead recognizing that an interaction or a situation will be more successful if you alter your approach.
Many believe that we are set in our ways and it’s impossible to stretch far out of our comfort zones. But that’s just it- it’s impossible to grow your comfort zone until you start stepping out of it and practicing in the discomfort. And the more you practice, the better you will get… and the less uncomfortable you will feel.
Now here’s the real test: Can you apply these in real life?
Think about someone that frustrates you more than anyone else – personally or professionally. Now think through these questions and you can see how to apply it:
Have you thought deeply about what drives him, what is behind his behavior, and how different and similar you both are? Have you tried to understand his motivations and value his differences? What can you do to try and see him as a unique and valuable individual instead of a frustrating adversary?
What part do you play in the relationship and/or the situations? Have you really tried communicating in the most effective way possible? What is your mindset around this person, and how has that contributed to your outcomes? Which parts of your behavior can you own and know have contributed to the relationship?
How how might you alter your mindset or mental construct around her to a more positive one? If you know now what they value and what drives her, how can you alter how your approach her? Since you understand what frustrates you about her, how can you adapt your reactions and mental conversations to promote positive thoughts? How can you alter your body language, tone and words to help her receive your messages better?
Like I said- if you continue to work on these concepts with others- ANY others – you will notice a drastic shift in your ability to influence and connect with others. It will drive you to be a better professional and individual at home.
And you will ultimately win, as will those you interact with.