In our trainings, we often do a short, very unscientific self-assessment with the group we are working with to get everyone thinking a little about personalities. We make sure upfront that everyone understands that we are not psychologists and that our little activity is in no way an to attempt psycho-analyze anyone. It’s just fun and it gets people thinking about how they work with others and why others sometimes make decisions the way they do.
We provide four categories from which to choose along with a few characteristics and a short description of each category. Each person will fall into one of these four categories, depending on which best describes you. The personality you choose will be either 1) you tend to look at the big picture, 2) you focus primarily on the details, 3) you focus on the personal interactions and how your decisions affect others, or 4) you make quick decisions so you can hurry up and get started. For the sake of our activity, you can only pick the one that best fits you. No combining or overlapping even though we all understand that no one fits 100% into one category.
Then we open up discussion surrounding a few questions we ask the
group. Questions such as:
1. What other group do you work best with?
2. What group frustrates you most to work with?
3. Which group do you need the most?
4. What do you want the other groups to most know about you?
It is an excellent way to not only get the group talking, but to let everyone learn a little about how each other works. For example, I know that I am a big-picture person. I have to think and process and have all the information before I make a decision. I don’t want to make a mistake and then go back and try to fix it. I want to get it right the first time. Sometimes people think I am hesitant to make a decision or am dragging my feet because I am scared to move on. That’s not the case at all, I just want to understand the situation completely before I move forward.
The people that just want to hurry up and get started and do something are the ones that used to frustrate me. I didn’t understand how they could just barge ahead without knowing what they were doing. I thought they were too lazy to
understand the situation and they just wanted to hurry up and get it done. They didn’t care if it was right or not, their goal was to finish. What I have learned is that in most cases that’s not true at all. They often have a trait I wish I had. They don’t care if they make a mistake because they will just go back, make adjustments, fix it, and then do it again.
See the difference? We are both going to get to the same place, we just go about it differently. When we begin to understand that about people we are working with, we develop a different perspective about them. We become more
compassionate for each other and their way of thinking. Our discussions take on more meaning and we increase our flexibility in our decision-making. We begin to understand that there is more than one right way to solve a problem and we don’t have all the all the right answers.
The next time you are in a group situation, look around the room, watch peoples’ mannerisms, and listen to their comments. Try to determine how they go about solving a problem and what their focus is when considering solutions. See if what you just read makes sense.