As a manager at the organization I work for, I am considered a member of what is called the Program Leadership Team. We are a group of higher level staff that are responsible for programming within our organization. This team has gone through many transformations over the last three years, the most recent of which is a professional development vessel for leadership at our organization. This was the most requested use of our monthly meeting time, as our usual “what’s going on in your world” focus really was not of benefit to anyone in the room. Good in theory, not in execution.
As our first professional development training, we were each to take the DiSC personality profile assessment. Each member of a group, or team, responds to series of words “as most like” their personality, to “least like” their personality. We were told to complete the assessment based on their personality AT WORK. The actual assessment took less than 15 minutes, as per usual, some of the series of words really stumped me, having very little gravitation as to where I should rank them. Our next step was to turn in our assessment and we would receive the results with everyone else at our next meeting.
I never put a lot of stock in these kinds personality tests, I’ve always felt that some of them are purposely vague and hard to complete just to make you think you’re finding new, profound characteristics of your personality for the first time.
“Oh wow, I like control?!?! Shocking! Oh wow, I am not a people person?? That explains it! How lucky I am that this personality assessment has taught me all of these things about myself!”
Slightly cynical, but I digress.
So, in the March meeting I was sitting, almost forgetting that the majority of our time will be spent on group activities meant to engage us on our new found personality traits. I was handed back my assessments and as our group leader was talking I poked around my results. I was labeled a C – a Conscientious person.
“A person places emphasis on quality, accuracy, expertise, and competency.”
- Enjoying independence
- Objective reasoning
- Wants the details
- Fears being wrong
I laughed out loud. I real, literal LOL.
I wasn’t surprised, but rather impressed that this assessment accurately described my “at work” personality, which if we learned anything from the behaviors of a conscientious “C”, we know that made me happy.
The room was broken down into the four categories, D (Dominant), I (Influence), S (Steadiness), and my people, the Conscientious Cs. We went through a series of group activities, each solidifying that I was sure I was in the right group and that the rest of the categories were ranked appropriately for my personality. CDSi. That’s me.
Usually, my engagement in this kind of content would stop there. The meeting and conversation ends and I go about my daily life. For some reason, given the current events of my world, I can’t shake the fact that a couple of these traits are more dominant than others. I have a fierce need to be independent, not necessarily physically on my own all of the time, but I thrive on my ability to do things for myself, to accomplish things, solve problems, and put the puzzle pieces together. I want the details and to create the logical path toward a solution. It’s how I function at my core. Occasionally, this can manifest itself in what looks like control issues, but really, the foundation of what looks like a need for control is really just a need to put the puzzle pieces together.
I struggle with asking for help, not because I am prideful or because I don’t appreciate generosity, but because I look forward to the opportunities to build a solution and move forward. As I’m sure you can imagine, the current path my life has taken has forced me to ask for help from others, or better put: to accept help from others. I continue to struggle with it each and every day. I’m grateful, I appreciate every ounce of support, both emotionally and financially, that comes our way but it also takes away my opportunity to build a solution for myself. It’s an odd thing to try and explain. Inevitably, I come off as withdrawn, critical, and ungrateful, when really I just want to approach the situation like I would any other: to gather the information, devise a logical and well thought-out plan, and put it into action. It’s how I function, for better or for worse.
Over the last few months I have been asked, countless times, how I could possibly be at work concentrating on the day to day responsibilities of my position. Most of the time, I just chuckle and say something along the lines of:
“At some point, you just keep going.”
But it’s become clear to me. Work allows me to utilize the core of my personality. I am able to keep things consistent, I have some element of control, and solve problems. It’s 75% of what I do all day long. I strategize on how to move forward. It’s what I love to do. I’m good at it and people rely on that aspect of my personality. It’s true, at some point, you just keep going. It helps if you are doing something that allows you to fulfill your need to feel confident and productive. Work is a form of support in itself and I’ll take all of the support I can get.
“When I write my political memoir, this will be the character building funny part.” – Josh Lyman, The West Wing