Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Servant Leadership Practice--Enjoy People Without Changing Them

"If only he'd stop leaving his dirty clothes on the floor..."
"If she'd stop nagging..."
"If he'd finish his projects..."
"If she'd keep a cleaner desk..."
"If he'd make a decision..."
"If she'd be less concerned about getting an award..."

With everyone we know, there are some aspects of their character or behavior that annoy us. It is those traits that make us different, a little unique in the combination and a source for amazement and joy. A long time ago, William Moulton Marston categorized our personalities using the acronym DiSC. Each of us is not simply one personality type, but a combination of them. I learned along the way that we can be mapped in a quadrant that's divided by a level of risk tolerance-aversion and by a level of expressiveness of their emotional state.

D-Drivers aren't very expressive but are very risk tolerant. It's important to have a challenge, take action and be first.
I-Influencers are expressive and also risk tolerant. They want recognition, to be known by a lot of people, and love to work in teams but won't wait for them to come along.
S-Steadiers are expressive but don't like risk. They want security, stability and everyone to be "okay". Change upsets the balance.
C-Compliants aren't expressive and don't like risk. They're analytical, conscientious and desire to be right. They're slow to make decisions till they have all the information.

Each of us is some combination needing challenge more or less, needing to be right more or less, needing security, needing recognition...All of us make life interesting and work fun. You gotta love 'em.

It's also important in how we talk about our work. Because the audience--our employees--is not all the same, the message can't be given once, nor in only one vein of thought. Our corporate vision, mission, business challenges, project team charters, etc. want to describe a variety of mechanisms for meeting people's needs, and encourage buy-in. I've seen and experienced messages requesting a group to join. Most of those messages don't address all of what's important to people: that there is a challenge to conquer, that we'll be okay, that recognition is possible, that a right answer can be found, and so on. Now you might not be able to meet all of these needs in one message. That's why it's important to repeat the message often and in different venues.

Today, try understanding what's important to another person, and tailor your message to that need.

For C12 and Truth@Work members, I love the story of Thomas, the apostle. We don't know much about him. He was daring enough to suggest that they follow Jesus to Bethany, despite threats of death, as he went to raise Lazarus. He raised a concern at the Last Supper admitting that he wasn't sure where Jesus was going so they could follow him to His Father's house. Later after Jesus' death, he was doubtful of what he heard from the others about Jesus' resurrection. He wanted proof. And who gave it to him? Jesus. Jesus gave him exactly what he needed, inviting him to touch his scars. If Jesus had the patience to provide proof, shouldn't we have the patience to give a message that meets the need of our staff, as varied as they are?

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