How well do you know yourself? We all like to think we know ourselves really well. We might also know a lot of our own strengths, foibles and development areas.
That might not actually be true. And that’s hard for some of us to face … others might actually know us better than we know ourselves.
Sometimes it might be our family – the ones we love (and who have to put up with the most from us!). Maybe it’s our friends – the ones we turn to for support and a good laugh. On other occasions, it might be our colleagues and co-workers. They probably actually see us for longer each day than our friends and family! That’s something to think about.
When you’re spending so much time with people, you’re bound to get on one another’s nerves from time to time. In fact, you may find that one of your co-workers “always” does something you’d rather they didn’t. What you may not know is that they may well think that you “always” do something irritating too. There are some uncomfortable truths that lurk beneath the surface in most workplaces. Those truths may just be perceptions. Perceptions can lay the foundation for misunderstandings. And if there’s misunderstandings, there may be miscommunication. Poor workplace communication is often at the root of low morale, poor motivation and ultimately poor productivity.
There is another way
To know yourself, and to know others around you, you could ask the people around you what they think of how you behave. They may well want the best for you and therefore be helpful with their feedback. They may also feel awkward about giving you feedback about things you do that you ought to either do better, do less, or indeed stop altogether!
Asking people what they think of you is a high-wire act, for you and them. It can put a toll on friendships in and out of work. It can also prey on your mind, if they give you things to think about but you don’t quite understand what they meant, or how it might affect them. And if it affects them in that way, does that mean EVERYONE around you thinks this? That could be really wonderful – or really awful, depending on the feedback.
There is a better way to know yourself.
How would it be if you could ask for objective feedback in a way that is anonymous, easy to do, and which explains the implications of the feedback to you. Sounds good, right? Well, that means you might like to consider taking a behavioural profile assessment.
There are a wide range out there on the market, but most of them focus on psychology-based descriptions of tendencies, preferences or “styles” as they are often known. Most are structured as some form of online questionnaire.
After the online questionnaire is completed, you should receive a report, generated by highly complex algorithms to match your answers against the preferences, tendencies or “styles” of the particular profiling tool you’re using. This report will give you feedback on how you are likely to behave in given situations. The report is likely to give you feedback on how others might see you, particularly if they have a different “style” from yours. What’s more, the report can give you priceless new insights into how you do what you do, and why others react to you as they do.
Following on from this, you might well think that, if everyone in your team had this profile, the level of mutual understanding and clarity of communication would skyrocket. And you might well be right. How might this be?
Well, for one thing, everyone having the same profiling assessment applied to them would give you all a common language with which to describe one another’s actions and behaviours. In addition, you would all have reports which offer an independent, objective lens through which to view yourselves. Finally, you would all have a way to understand the impact of your actions on one another.
The assessments I use
I use a range of profiling assessments. In other blogs I have explained why I use a needs analysis tool to improve team communication. However, sometimes, it is people’s personal style which is the stumbling block. That’s where I use:
These products are all different, highlighting different aspects of a person’s behaviours in work. Some focus on leadership specifically, some focus on key interactions. All of them are strengths-based, highlighting where people are strongest or more intense in their preferences, tendencies or “styles”.
Specifically, what questions would these products help you to answer? Well, they would help you understand or confirm your key strengths. That is always helpful, so you know how and when to deploy your resources to the best effect. No one has time to volunteer to do everything, including things they’re not great at doing, so maybe take this opportunity to focus your skillset on what you do best?
Next, these profiles could help you understand why you find some people easier to get along with in the workplace. Normally, there will be some who feel really on your “wavelength”. There will be some who make you wonder if you are speaking a foreign language when speaking to them, because they either don’t understand you or take offence at things that you simply don’t get.
There are lots of biases at play in the workplace (and in all human relationships); affinity bias is the source of the “he’s one of us” mentality that results in firms recruiting people in the image of the recruiter. This lack of diversity stifles innovation and, ultimately, productivity. So to avoid the inevitable biases at play in your workplace, using an objective assessment of people’s preferences and behaviours is a great way to introduce different points of view, whilst keeping a shared language in play all the while. It’s easy, cost-effective (particularly when compared with the cost of replacing disaffected leavers) and it really works. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t use profiling in my practice.
If you want to find out more …
Please get in touch. We can have a chat so you can explain precisely what your challenge is with your team (or maybe yourself). I can then offer you the profiling assessment which would best meet your needs in my professional opinion. You can access sample reports to get a feel for what you would be finding out. And you can be sure that nothing will be sold “at” you – everything my company provides to clients is necessary and appropriate.
I look forward to explaining all about these great leadership tools to you soon.
Image courtesy of Canva.