“You’re overly critical and don’t reflexively care for others’ needs.”
I was reading the results of a workplace personality assessment, and these were key takeaways. Upon reflection, they were quite accurate.
I tried to think of practical steps toward change. My office layout was an immediate win. At the time, my standing workstation was set against the far wall of my office. Colleagues who stopped by with “got a minute?” would immediately see my back as I feverishly worked at my computer. This was shorthand for:
“Go away, I’m busy.”
I hadn’t consciously set the layout that way, but it certainly fit the profile. So I moved my desk next to the door. That way, a colleague stopping by would immediately see my face, and I could choose to respond and be helpful. It was a step in the right direction.
Quick tangent: many of us need to dive into a project with uninterrupted hyper-focus or are introverted and need a re-charge. From time to time, there’s nothing wrong with closing your *usually open* door and doing so. Or blocking off time on the shared calendar when you’re not taking video calls. But as leaders, our general posture should be “I’m available.” End tangent.
Personality assessments can help us see ourselves more clearly – clean the mirror, so to speak. Chances are, you’ve taken one at some point in your career. What were your key takeaways?
Now is a great time to pull it out of the drawer or find that old email and review the results. Maximize its ROI. Talk to your colleagues. What’s helpful to the team right now? What’s not? How do you need to adapt to best support them?
We all have strengths and weaknesses, as well as similarities and differences with one another. We’re often unaware – or have forgotten – how those impact our team.
I’ve done a lot of coaching based on Hogan assessments, which include a set of “derailer” scales, color-coded red. These are stress responses that can de-rail work and interactions with the team. I’ve been reminding clients that the “Reds” are going to show up loudly during crisis.
Crisis also provides opportunity to learn much about one another in a short time. Strengths, weaknesses, similarities and differences are all in sharp relief. For instance, I mentioned that introverts may need to block time away from video conferencing. On the other hand, consider leaders who are more extroverted and are energized by interaction with others. Working from home will uniquely wear them down because they intensely miss the in-person interactions.
Whether you realize it or not, you’re in a real-time leader laboratory. There’s lots of opportunity to improve, individually and together. Grab that old assessment, clean your mirror, and help your team.
By Jamey Gadoury