Collaboration – How you see the world is not the only way…
…and if you think it is – it’s probably holding you back.
A recent client of mine, Lizzie*, came to me because she wasn’t able to connect in her organisation, in fact, she was alienating herself!
The remit Lizzie had was distinct, in many ways, she had been recruited because she was different. It had enabled her to be successful and she was sure it brought something to her new role that others would love… Lizzie’s struggle was that she couldn’t understand the mindset or approach of other people in the business. It didn’t match the way she saw they needed to be for success. As a result, she dismissed people as unmotivated, lacking the required passion and ingenuity. This didn’t help Lizzie, in a senior role where she needed to deliver significant change and new initiatives.
A highly passionate person, Lizzie was committed to driving her own agenda. When Lizzie stopped for breath she had alienated herself. She was becoming increasingly entrenched and distant from stakeholders, the relationships could only be characterised as unproductive. In our first conversation, she shared her frustration of knowing the clear merits of her approach. Her belief was that the other people in the client service business were not competent enough to understand it. Lizzie mistook the apathy she had generated around her agenda as a lack of skill, ability and motivation.
Her DiSC profile showed a high ‘Dominance’ style. Indicating a decisive, tough, competitive, demanding and self-centered person, with low concern for others. Her profile is strong in terms of organizing, leading projects, creating ideas, with strengths around vision and pioneering new ways. Some of the traits to Lizzie’s style were not helping her take people with her. And in trying to undertake the journey alone, Lizzie was burning out. She had joined the business and burned a lot of bridges, she felt frustrated and stuck.
Lizzie had felt her high ‘D’ profile gave her leadership potential; she wanted to be a ‘D’ because of this. She didn’t account for the prerequisite of followership!
Taking Off The Blinkers
When people didn’t see her vision, hard work and approach in the same way she struggled to understand and her impatience led her to blame their competence and performance. This impacted her interactions and how she managed situations. Lizzie left she had the answers, the plans and the ideas and the evidence. She held all of the cards this and her approach to others was holding herself back from success by not being able to work with and through others as a leader.
Being able to work with Lizzie’s DiSC profile was powerful. Lizzie was able to get an appreciation for the limits of her profile as well as the strengths. This helped Lizzie to understand where she had created blocks for herself. We were also able to look at her stakeholders and create a clearer understanding of who they were and how they contributed in different ways. Planning approaches meant Lizzie started to broaden her understanding and see the potential for her to engage others and bring them into work alongside her to achieve goals.
The Power Of Seeing Others
We worked on some of the key initiatives she had to deliver and Lizzie started to understand how to pace them. We looked at the levels of detail and time others needed. Lizzie was able to take more account of the critical factors others needed in their approaches. People started to come with her as she learned to understand and work with their strengths. The hardest thing Lizzie needed to do was to acknowledge and communicate the changes she needed to make; we worked closely on how she could do this.
DiSC is a useful tool, it builds awareness of different personality types as well as the validity of different needs and perspectives. In coaching we can work to understand how you communicate and work alongside other people, creating greater levels of understanding with considerable gains.
Clearly, within the rich tapestry of life, we don’t all fit into 4 boxes or degrees of boxes. Personality is one of many factors that drive who and how we are. As our understanding and self-awareness grow we have a platform to build new capacities and broaden our potential, creating greater competence and levels of emotional intelligence.
The DiSC profile created a platform for Lizzie and myself to start to work from. We went deeper and wider, understanding what drove Lizzie and also where she tended to get caught up. She started to understand what triggered her, she put in place some clear strategies that helped her to see herself, stakeholders and the business in a new light. Lizzie is now working on some complex initiatives and doors are opening all the time.
There is only so far we can go it alone and only so much we can get done without others commitment. If we only have our lens, we limit and close ourselves off.
If this article resonates with you please contact me to find out more about our coaching and leadership development programmes. Call +44(0)1635 780028 or please click here to email us directly.
*not real name.