Monday, December 5, 2011

Doberman vs Poodle

I've always known myself to be a people person.  Well, to be more accurate, I have created myself to be a people person over the past 25 years.  I decided to unearth the child I was, that started to vanish at about the age of 7.  From then, until my late teens, I regularly toyed with being uncertain, unhappy, needing  overt acts of friendship and attention to help me get to a baseline of comfort.  I blamed it on my thick glasses, poor co-ordination and less than womanly figure.

In 12th grade, I decided to step out of my comfort zone because there were some activities I wanted to engage that I couldn't successfully do while behaving like a needy doorknob.  So, with my inner self kicking and screaming, I became a people friendly, warm, leader type.  With repetition, even unnatural things feel natural, though the kicking and screaming doorknob still voices her opinions often.

So I've always known myself to be a people person.  You know the type:  connects easily and warmly, listens to others, helps people feel comfortable, shows vulnerability so increasing relatability.  I can make friends easily if I want to, can talk about and listen to almost anything.  If you use the DISC personality profile as a model, that would put me as a high (top right quadrant. Disclaimer: when I say 'personality profile', I simply mean a combination of attitudes and behaviors that describe how a person communicates, makes decisions, relates to people and to his/herself).  I like being an I.  I have always been thankful I am not like the D profile.  Those D's just get on every one's nerves.  The high D has no empathy, just focused on the task at hand.  Isaiah is often a D (but can be a C, equally irritating) so I know first hand how hard dealing with this profile can be.

I was recently asked to help execute a complex training event.  My role on the team was to quietly assist the team leader so got to know everyone's role very well.  Early in the planning, I was pretty easy going, friendly, understanding of where team members are, helping them bridge any gaps that came up, at the same time, not pointing out the gaps in obvious ways.  3 days before the event I warned the team leader that I may switch into a dictator role.  I lost my desire to connect, understand or negotiate.  It was my way or not at all.  We execute, then fix after.  Fortunately, my people personality tempered the dictator so feathers were only moderately ruffled.

I have a history of getting projects done.  If a friend is stuck with a project, they know they can check with me and I help help them see the sticking point and create a plan through it, or, if I'm available, execute it myself and give them back the project at the next step.  I tend to do this very quickly.  Who has time to waste doing something slowly that can be done quickly?

It never occurred to me that I could have D traits.  Must have been in my blind spot.  I recently did a thorough DISC personality profile and, though I do not put much stock on personality tests, I was startled that the result was high D, secondary trait I.  I took a moment to read and think back...  Again, I don't think every word was accurate, but a few things were very interesting:
  • The report suggested that in my typical environment, I adapt my style so that my 'I' traits are more dominant.  A flood of memories, of thoughts about my tendency to be contrary and how to mediate that.  If I was to share every thought I had about everything people said or did, I would have no friends, is my typical thought.  When I'm creating relationships, that D stuff is put in the closet.
  • The dog that was most like the D is the doberman, while the 'I' is a fluffy poodle.  I felt revolted when I thought of myself as a fluffy poodle, though didn't want to a Doberman.  I would much prefer to be a golden retriever.... 
When I told Isaiah about my new found D-ness, he didn't think it was all that new, but commented that it may be more dominant right now.  I'm actively engaged in several projects that benefit from a 'let's get this done' attitude.  The risk of weakening my vision and not executing the things in my head and heart have brought my D unapologetically to the front.  Maybe it's the age old nature-nurture discussion.  My dominant style of decision making and interaction may just depend on what I think is more useful at the moment in time, given my environment and what I want.  Maybe I am a D, sometimes...

1 comment:

  1. You may be a D, masking as an I...
    I have always thought of you as a D-type!!!!


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