Finding your work style: A little self-awareness goes a long way

disc - your work and communication style

One neat thing about my current workplace is that there’s a focus on career development, learning, that kind of thing. On day four I attended a workshop on personal development and training opportunities, and in the second week my team had a group workshop based around figuring out our different communication styles and ways to collaborate better.

I’m an ISFJ. While that’s been interesting and vaguely helpful in relation to my personal life, it really hasn’t shed much light for me professionally. But now I have another lens to look through for that.

For this workshop, we used the DiSC model, which is a workplace-focused assessment. The four pillars are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. Turns out my preferred communication style/work style is of course, a near perfect blend of two.

I’m an SC, which roots me in the steady, and perhaps more importantly, sociable quadrant.

That’s not because I’m a typical outgoing people person (far from it, I’m decidedly not gregarious at all) but because I’m sensitive to other people’s needs, feelings and vibes. I’m diplomatic, often struggle to say no and hate conflict. Quite literally, it gives me the sweats and a stomachache. And while I don’t like to admit it, I do want to be liked. I get little pangs when I observe people at work who effortlessly chat to anyone and everyone, who have friends all through the office, who stop by other people’s desks to chat throughout the day; a little bit of me wishes I could be a warm, universally loved person too.

But like the Force, the C side is strong in me. I’m basically on the cusp of the two quadrants. Work is work. I do mostly enjoy the basic level of required social contact; at times I even appreciate the small talk. But overall when I’m at work I want to get on with the job, and I’m greatly frustrated by incompetence and inefficiency. My working style is just as much about achieving end results as it is about attempting to ensure harmony.

I am happiest behind the scenes. I’ve always thought that my personality is better suited to something totally hidden away in the back room – apparently there are a lot of Cs in finance, strategy, etc. I have some pretty deep seated perfectionist tendencies. However, working in online, I embrace the ‘done is better than perfect’ philosophy and kick ass at getting stuff out the (figurative) door, fast.

Ideally, though? I need time to think about and absorb things – to have reports and presentations and notes emailed to me to study before a meeting – and that’s one of the biggest things I took away from the day. That some of us don’t like being forced to make snap decisions in a meeting, and want to weigh all our options based on as much evidence as we can get.  A quiet comment was made about how another individual with a similar profile to mine tends to go a bit ‘blank’ when initially presented with issues, and whoa did that ring true for me. T feeds this back to me all the time and I’ve become a lot more aware of how cold and expressionless I can come across as.

That said, when it comes to our relationship I’m definitely the default D. When it comes to running the household and our personal affairs my type A comes out. Two equally chilled out people, in my mind, is recipe for domestic disaster, so I compensate.

Are your personal and work personas the same?

7 thoughts on “Finding your work style: A little self-awareness goes a long way

  1. Mmm, while I really do not enjoy going through these types of tests, I would say that I am the same as you, both work-wise and personal-wise.

  2. Hm, my professional and at-home personalities are totally different, but I think my working manner at both are the same. In some ways, all the described characteristics of Dominant (Sees the big picture; Can be blunt; Accepts challenges; Gets straight to the point) fit my preferences but how I express them will vary depending on who I’m talking to and what I need.

    I’m sort of interested in how I’d actually rate on the test…

  3. Hey, that’s the exact thing that happens to me too. Whenever some new issue or problem is given before me in a meeting for the first time I can’t analyze it instantly. It takes me time to go through it and I prefer to be alone at the time I’m analyzing it. This gives me more focus and I do the work more efficiently. I do like to give more time to an issue and analyze it correctly rather than take some ad hoc decisions on the basis of which the entire plan can get out of hand. I thought the problem you said ‘similar profile to mine tends to go a bit ‘blank” I’m just the person you are taking about. I thought I’m the only person who faces this kind of problem. It’s a big relief for me that there are persons like me who faces this kind of problem.

  4. Interesting post. Recently I’ve noticed how different my work and home personalities are, but this sheds light on how similar they are as well. Both at home and at work, I can be a bit type A, meaning, like you, I also hate incompetence and my initial reaction to everything is to take over a project and get it done. As my boss recently told me after I became frustrated with a coworker who wasn’t responding fast enough to my questions, I’m always in fifth gear and I need to accept the fact that some people are idling first. I’ve also noticed I’m more social at work. I have no problem chatting with people, despite being an accountant. At home, I like to think of myself as both the CEO and CFO of the household and my passive husband willingly submits. He’s used to my blunt, take-charge personality so whenever he needs something done, he knows I’ll take it and run with it without even asking him. However, from a social perspective, I’m incredibly introverted. Once I get home, I don’t want to leave and socialize. I’m the type of person who can go months without socializing and I’ll be just fine as my solitary activities keep my life pretty full.

  5. I worked in a very conservative industry, so I had to have a very different (and serious) persona. Now that I work from home, I feel like I am closer to my real self. I do miss having people to chat with =/

  6. I recently took a skills/strength assessment for work, too, and had some revealing results. I’m still mulling over how/when to write something about it. Guess that says quite a bit about my personality right there. ;-)

  7. How funny. I am an ENTJ…the exact opposite of you. ..well, except the J part. Although I started as an I and am now a slight E…so I guess the other thing is that you can change a lot in 10 or 20 years of working.

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