My current boss (not to be confused with my supervisor) is a classic high C. He is consumed only by the task to be performed, the job to be accomplished, and the excellence involved in getting there. He is a very detailed and focused—almost to a fault, because he always demands perfection while rarely engaging personally with others. In fact, it’s even difficult for him to express his appreciation to those who work for him. A few weeks ago, he came into my office and fidgeted uncomfortably in front of my desk for several seconds before launching awkwardly into a monologue on how grateful he was for my diligence and commitment to the office over the last few weeks during our administrative transition. I could see him struggling with how to put his feelings into words, so I interrupted and told him I appreciated his acknowledgement. He then gave me the highest form of a C compliment: he released me early from my duties.
The high C is competent and task oriented, motivated by quality in every area. While they are cautious about everything, they have to be careful when dealing with others, who may see them as caustic and unfeeling. Here are three things to remember about the high C’s in your life:
- High C’s are known for their clear, rational thinking…which means they are able to separate their emotions and make accurate, logical decisions. Their need for excellence, when paired with this logic, is ideal in many situations, especially the field of medicine. Everyone wants a surgeon who is a logical perfectionist! My boss is cautious and calculating about everything—he weighs every option and circumstance before making a decision. Sometimes, his indecisiveness delays progress, even though his final verdict is usually correct. This week, my boss wanted to delay finishing a large project for one document that was under review. After four days of indecision, he finally decided to finish it and replace the document at a later time—something the rest of the team had already decided three days earlier! He eventually came to the same logical conclusion, even though it was much later.
- …but many also think they lack warmth and don’t care for others’ feelings. C’s are so task-focused and concerned with results that they don’t always remember that people are people. If you’re unaware that my boss is a high C, your first impression of him while working for him is just that he is unfeeling and cares nothing about the personal lives of people. In fact, as I noted in an earlier blog, this is exactly what caused a bad transition out for our former secretary. While our high C boss was considering long-term decisions and thinking logically about the transition, the former secretary wanted personal affection, attention, and inclusion in the future plans. Her misaligned expectations caused her to misunderstand our boss’s actions and intentions and caused her to be extremely hurt. My boss, on the other hand, did not understand her reaction to him at all—because he had not acted no differently than normal.
- In conflict, C’s can be harsh and unforgiving. Because they think so rationally, C’s in conflict are concerned with the facts and will use them against you. They seem unconcerned with the feelings of others and only think about who is right (which they usually are). They can be extremely critical and fault-finding. My boss is most concerned about seeing things his way when there’s an issue in the office. When he is upset about something, he becomes focused only on his thoughts about things becoming agitated when he cannot clearly communicate his desires. In a conflict-riddled discussion with my former coworker, he could not understand why she was upset with him—he could only see that he had not done anything wrong.
They may often be caught up in their own heads, but C’s are a great asset to every team. Their ability to think clearly and reasonably make them great friends to help solve problems and think through difficult decisions. Just remember, as with all the DISC types, to have reasonable expectations for them, especially in the area of emotions!