Tag Archives: personality

DISC: Is This Really Me?

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image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

I have a new coworker at my “day” job, and since we have finally gotten settled into our office after a month offsite, I decided to take her on a tour of our facility. While she is not new to the organization, she is new to the building—the only building I’ve actually worked at during my tenure at the company. We left the office for our “brief” jaunt but ended up taking a little longer than usual as we walked throughout the entire building. When we returned, the intern asked candidly, “What took you guys so long?!” I was about to say, “It’s a large, confusing building”—which it is. But before I could say anything, my coworker replied, “Michelle knows everyone, and everyone loves her, so she had to stop and catch up with everyone!” That was an interesting observation about me, a task-oriented high D!

Luckily, the DISC profile covers those discrepancies in our personalities, giving users two graphs to consider. The first is the “This is expected of me!” graph, which addresses who you think other people want you to be—how you act out others’ expectations of you. The second is the “This is me!” graph—who you really are when you are with close friends and family. My coworker’s observation of me was simply her seeing my “This is expected of me!” graph (high I) on full display—the people-oriented salesperson who loves and inspires everyone. However, when she made that comment, I had to ask myself…is that really me?

Here’s a couple of things to remember about that tension between who you believe others expect you to be, and who you really are:

What you think others expect of you can change. I’m going to be honest: I’ve found that when I’m working at something that I don’t care about, my “This is expected of me!” graph tends to change with the situation. I can be super steady, candidly cautious, a demanding director, or an inspiring people person! For example, I currently work with a high C, a high I, and a high S—so I am comfortable being the high D in my office. But for the previous three years, I worked with two high Ds, a high C, and a high S—so I needed to be the high I to balance the office environment. This high I personality was the person that everyone in the building knew—and the one everyone liked. It was my job, but I wasn’t passionate about it, so I simply adapted to my circumstances. I equate this to the apostle Paul, who noted that he became “all things to all people” so that he could preach the gospel more effectively (1 Corinthians 9:22). However, it was way more exhausting for me to constantly be someone other than my true self.

Who you really are is what’s important. Ultimately, you want to have both graphs match or at least be similar, because you don’t want to spend your life being two people—one that others expect, and one that you actually are. But how do you merge the two? I’ve found that one of the ways that I can help my graphs to become more similar is to do something that I love. When you are doing what you are passionate about, it is much easier to be yourself without caring what others expect or think of you. The second way is to mature, both emotionally and physically. Physically, the older we get, the less we care what others expect of us (yay for that!). But emotionally, as we concern ourselves more with finding our true passions and purposes, the better we become at letting go of “This is expected of me!” and embracing “This is me!” The Bible warns us that caving to others’ expectations is a snare (Proverbs 29:25); instead, we should accept who God has made us to be and live confidently as His children.

The pull between expectations and reality are a daily battle for each of us. However, you can begin to win those battles for reality simply by being yourself. Learn more about who you are, what you love, and what God has called you to do so that you can confidently declare in every situation, “This is me!”

What is your “This is me!” personality? Let me help you identify it through personal coaching!

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DISC: Cautious, Not Caustic

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image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

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!

DISC: Silent but Steady

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image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

She seemed to be very shy until you got to know her. But once I got to know her—and I did, she was quite talkative and open with me. She was a steady support to me, always offering to help in whatever way she possible could. She even would help in the sweetest ways I could think of—offering to do things for me that no one else would. She was constantly thinking of my feelings and tried not to hurt me, even if it meant she was hurt instead. In addition, she was the most reliable person of my group—even if she was working behind the scenes, you eventually knew she was there because of her loyalty and dependability. So who is she? She has many names—because she is every S I’ve ever known and worked with!

High S’s are team players who want to keep peace and stability in group settings, even if it is to their own personal detriment. Though your S’s may not be loud and dominant like your D’s or the center of attention like your I’s, the S’s are balanced and secure, providing much needed stability to every group dynamic. And here are a few important things to remember about the high S personality profile:

  • High S’s work best in a stable, secure environment…My former high S coworker had been in our office for 10 years—since she was 17 years old! She had loved what she was doing, but most importantly, she knew the office and the job very well and was very comfortable in doing it. It was to our benefit that she provided everything for our office, and she did so with a smile every day. She took care of every need in the office and knew how to do everything, and often did so in the background. This is your typical S: always accomplishing what needs to be done without being asked while being your all-around team player.
  • …but they do not adapt well to change. My former coworker had not been through many changes in the office until around the time I started. However, I noticed that her normally pleasant demeanor became terse and threatening when office policies and procedures began changing. In addition, when she chose to take a new job, the pressure of making a change after ten years in our office weighed heavily on her. In response to the pressure, she became increasingly unpleasant in her interactions and took every interaction personally. It was a rough transition for everyone.
  • In conflict, S’s tend to give in—unless their family or close friends are being targeted. S’s are seen as extremely loyal to their family and close friends; they may not fight back when they are targeted personally, but if someone attacks their family, they will respond like a D! In other situations, they may remain quiet or make choices that will bring peace to the situation. Unlike the I’s, an S’s main goal is security, so he will do whatever is necessary to bring peace, even if it means their own personal comfort is challenged. Like I’s, S’s are people pleasers, so in conflict, S’s will seek the greater good of others before themselves. My former coworker tended to be quiet in situations where she did not agree with the action being taken at work. However, when it came to her family, she was adamant and direct in defending them at every turn.

S’s certainly are not silent—but they are great listeners who are more concerned about other people than tasks being accomplished. Like a car’s engine, they are an integral part of a working team, making sure that everything runs smoothly, even if they aren’t being seen and heard. When working with S’s, it’s important to remember to give them plenty of time to change but also to encourage them to embrace change as an opportunity for growth. It will help them as well as you!

How do you help the S’s in your life navigate change? 

DISC: The Dominating D’s

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image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

The pastor and his wife had just come to the church and started a contemporary service, and now they had a band—would I be interested in joining them since I was a musician, the pastor’s wife wondered? I showed up to that first rehearsal and took in everything, offering my opinion and my talents at piano and voice. I had been involved in the band for less than a month when something drastic happened: I had taken over leadership of the band. I was organizing rehearsals, choosing the music, and finding the best way to use the personnel. Even better (or worse?), I wasn’t accepting much advice or input from anyone. Interestingly enough, I had never been in or led a band before—but when I arrived at the band that first day, I had seen something that wasn’t working at its best, and my personality kicked into high gear.

Everyone can pick out a high D in their life: that one decisive, demanding person who will step into a challenge and get the job done. You may know them, but here are a few interesting things to remember about high D’s:

A high D loves a challenge…Per Dr. Mels Carbonell, a D does not work well in an environment where there is not challenge and choice. They need these things to be successful in their careers and their relationships. Challenges present a time for them to put their “doing” to the test. In the case above, God had gifted me to clearly see how to use each person on the team in the best way. I was motivated by the desire to have an excellent worship team where each person was used in a way that brought the team the most benefits. This was a challenge, because I hadn’t been playing with the band for any time—but as my time with them grew, so did the challenge of fitting all the pieces together to create something beautiful for God.

…but be careful, because D’s also may offend others in their efforts to improve a situation. Because D’s are usually demanding task-oriented doers who test and challenge authority, they do not respect leaders who are not strong. They cannot handle when there is a lack of direction and discipline! When I walked into that situation in my church years ago, I sensed that the leadership was not strong, so I stepped up to the plate. But on my way to the batter’s box, I pushed aside several people without thought for their feelings. The band may have been better because of it, but my personal relationships suffered. And personal relationships—especially the areas of love, patience, and kindness—are where the D needs to grow the most.

In conflict…D’s tend to attack and want to be right. This can lead to intense conflicts, especially between two D’s. Perhaps as they mature, D’s will begin to think things through before confronting others! Hopefully, high D’s will begin to embrace the mantra that it is better to be well than to be right. While I am still trying to improve in this area, I personally have found the battle is for my mind more than my mouth! If I can stop the thoughts, I am more likely to stop the action. I also am learning, however, to handle conflict with more sensitivity and compassion, again—two things that D’s tend to struggle with.

Dealing with D’s can be difficult if you don’t know what to expect—and while you can expect demanding, intense, bossy dominance from them, you can also expect them to excel in trying situations and to accomplish every task that is before them, no matter how challenging. Like all of the personality types and blends, D’s have some room for growth, but we are an important part of any team, family, or relationship group. So embrace our pushiness and watch us flourish!

Do you have any D’s in your life? How do you handle their direct dominance?

DISC: Personality Is Not Everything!

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image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

When my coworker got a new job, I knew she would have a difficult time with the transition because she’s an S. I just didn’t anticipate HOW difficult it was going to be. From the minute she accepted the new job, she took everything our boss—a high C—did as a personal insult to justify her decision to leave. She made the work environment a tense and awful place to work for six weeks before my boss finally asked her to leave early on her last day. The first day without her was the first time I relaxed in weeks. And none of this had anything to do with how she was being treated—but it had everything to do with personality differences.

In addition to the beauty of spiritual gifts, God has also given us distinct personality types that I will blog about for the next few weeks. The best personality assessment that I’ve found to match with spiritual gifts is the DISC personality profile. DISC was created by William Marsten and made popular by Walter Vernon Clarke, and it has been used for many years to encourage community, create cohesiveness, and combat conflict in relationships of all types. Here’s what you need to know about the four basic personality types of DISC:

  • D stands for the dominant personality. D’s like to be challenged and tend to be determined, decisive, and demanding. You can always find a D doing—because that’s what we love to do most. We are task-oriented and can take charge if given the reigns. I am a high D who tends to walk into a group and take over—especially if there is weak leadership. Like all D’s, I love a challenge, though, and I am fearless and forward when it comes to accomplishing something. In conflict, D’s can be stubborn and hardheaded as well as assertive—which can make for interesting team dynamics!
  • The I’s are your natural salesmen—the inspiring personality. They like to influence, impress, and interact with others—the life of the party. Most I’s like to tell stories and get noticed, wanting to be recognized and not paying enough attention to detail. My supervisor (beneath my boss) is a high I—and he loves people. I’s are people-oriented and thrive when they can be in relationship with others and have prestige. My supervisor loves to plan happy hours, tell jokes, and be your friend. But when it comes to conflict, I’s are easily hurt by criticism and will try to talk their way out of anything.
  • S’s look for security as their motivation. They, too, are people-oriented but tend to be more passive. They are your shy, stable, servants who love to have personal support and need plenty of time to adjust to change. They thrive in consistent, familiar environments and are mostly relaxed and friendly to everyone. My former coworker is a high S who was incredible at her job because she had been in that office for 10 years. So when she decided to take a new job, it was easier to find security in her decision by creating conflict where it did not exist.
  • The C is for your cautious, competent person. They are careful and contemplative about everything, and their main motivation is quality. C’s are task-oriented and give thorough explanations to everything. My boss is a high C— a detailed professional who brings zero personal issues into the workplace. He does not come to work to make friends; he comes to accomplish tasks in a clear and precise manner. He has a high standard of excellence and strives to meet it. In conflict, C’s may stick to the facts and ignore feelings—and this is exactly what caused so much strife between my boss and coworker during her transition out of our office.

Personality is not everything, but it is a large part of who we are! When you better understand your personality and others’, you can have more grace for them. I will discuss more about each individual personality trait over the next couple of weeks, including some personality blends. Join me in this new series as we discuss more how our personalities influence our identities!

From these brief descriptions, what DISC personality type do you think you are?