There are many stresses associated with the daily round of working life. A common problem that often adds stress is that of relationships. Bringing a variety of diverse personalities together can bring out the best and worst in people … it can be a real challenge managing people’s sensibilities, as well as the deadlines.
People are different in predictable ways
I’ve been working with Personality Type for over twenty years helping groups and individuals to appreciate the differences in people, it’s fascinating work. And its greatest payoff is helping individuals and organisations to see that people are indeed different in predictable ways. That is often the life-saver as they seek ways to manage the stress of relationships constructively.
Modify to Manage
Understanding what makes people ‘tick’ is not always easy, and we can have some nasty experiences of inter-personal conflict that leave us ‘licking our wounds’ from time to time. I’m fond of reminding people that there are no short cuts to success. But there are ways we can enhance our awareness and equip ourselves as we learn to understand others. When we get a handle on the predictability of behaviour, both own and our colleagues’, we can modify that behaviour effectively and manage our relationships better.
DISC can help accelerate your people reading skills
DISC is a personality profiling tool that I work with. It’s simple to explain, and simple to use. Developed in the 1920s by Dr William Marston, an American Psychologist, it concentrates on the observable differences in normal behaviour. The great news is you’ll be seeing the differences as soon as you’ve read this article! Start by thinking about the people you know, and ask the following questions:
Do I have colleagues who are assertive, to the point, and want to know the bottom line? Someone who’s more forceful, direct, and strong-willed than others – This is the D style
Which of my friends are great communicators and friendly to everyone they meet? Someone who seems to be more optimistic, inspiring, friendly, and talkative – This is the I style.
Who do I know that are good listeners and great team players? Someone who’s steady, patient, loyal, and supportive – This is the S style.
Which team members enjoy gathering facts and details and are thorough in all activities? Someone who’s particularly precise, methodical, and analytical – This is the C style.
Those are the four basic styles. You’ll probably have noticed that people, including yourself, often display characteristics of the different basic style descriptors – what we’d call ‘blended’ styles.
Some things to remember on a ‘bad day’!
When we’re stressed we’re feeling that things are out of control, and so we try to take control in ways that we feel comfortable and confident with. But it’s really important to remember that our virtues, when over played, become our vices! We often overplay when stressed. So …
D styles can be too forceful, impatient, don’t listen, try to dominate and take over
I styles can be too impulsive, disorganised, and easily distracted
S styles can slow things down, lack motivation, and be reluctant to change
C styles can be too intellectual, talk too little, tending not to share or show feelings
Some tips to bring out the best in ourselves
D styles – put more energy into personal relationships, try to be less controlling/domineering,
I styles – think things through more, be less impulsive, concentrate on following through and finishing what you start
S styles – try to be more open to change, be more flexible, pick up the pace, and be more direct with others
C styles – focus less on facts and more on people, be less critical of others, put more energy into building relationships, and take some risks
And finally, a message to take away …
People are different, but they’re different in predictable ways. We can all modify our own behaviour and our expectations of others. Let your best-self manage your plans and relationships, reduce the stress of inter-personal conflict, and promote mutual understanding.