Are you brave enough to DISCover new territory? 3 lessons I learned from “strangers”.
Trap of similarities
It’s no secret that people respond better to those who are like them.
We are naturally attracted to people who are most similar to us. We think these people are kinder, more honest, excellent, and trustworthy. So, we usually get along best with the people with whom we have the most in common.
On the other hand, we very often assume that some people are really “difficult”, whereas they are merely different from us!
I have a confession to make: for years, I was convinced that the most “difficult” people were those with a high S (steady) behavioural dimension in the DISC model. Why? Because I completely did not understand their behaviours and unfairly judged them.
Of course, I did not know then that these steady-paced, nice, friendly team players, who do not like rapid changes, avoid conflict, and need a long time to chew on information, were even called S-style (steady) in the DISC model.
My dominant blend is CDI (compliant – dominant – influencing), and believe me, people with high S behavioural style were, for me, like strangers from another world (yes, S as in Strangers!). I could not understand why they were slower than me in their decision-making and problem-solving. Sometimes I was pushing them too much to make their decisions quickly, assuming they were indecisive people.
The most annoying for me was their lack of assertiveness! From my perspective, S-style people were usually beating around the bush and were people pleasers. In other words, I was not too fond of the fact that they were saying “Yes” while they were thinking “No”.
I know that it’s strange to be afraid of the most helpful, loyal, and sweetest people in the world! I was avoiding S-style people, thinking that this was the best way to protect myself.
In those days, I was perceiving people who were operating, thinking, and communicating differently to me as toxic. As I mentioned earlier, I was trying to avoid them, or, what is even worse, fix them, as in my opinion they were broken!
I fell into the trap of thinking that only the similarities are good, and that I needed to make others more similar to me. And I was in this trap for years!
The beauty of differences
I must admit, I was completely wrong! Instead of focusing on people’s strengths, I was looking at them from my personal point of view. And, what’s even worse, I was assuming that only a specific set of strengths (MY STRENGTHS, OF COURSE!) were the best possible combination to have in order to be successful in different areas of my life.
After I started my adventure with behavioural analysis, I started to notice how much I had to learn from people who I perceived as strangers. I came to understand that I need them as friends, business partners, and colleagues while working on projects. And what is most important, I learned to truly admire them and their strengths.
Three lessons from S-type people
They taught me a lot, and I would like to share with you the three most important lessons I learned from S-style people over the years:
Lesson 1: Listening
S-style people are amazing listeners, filled with infinite patience and always ready to lend an ear. I perceive listening as their superpower, as lots of people have a huge problem with this incredibly important skill. We usually listen to others with only partial attention and try to offer others our pieces of advice, even if they did not ask for it.
S-people make others feel that they are fully heard and understood. They are great at putting themselves in other’s shoes, showing empathy, and most importantly, listening to the end without interrupting a speaker’s statements. It was thanks to S-style people that I learned to give space to others and started listening, devoting my full attention to others.
Lesson 2: Finding common ground
S-style people have mastered the art of diplomacy to perfection! They are determined to prevent tensions from escalating into open conflict, as their dominant fear is loss of security. They prefer to work with others in a harmonious way and thrive in a friendly environment. Thanks to their superpower, which is listening, they can easily get their minds around even complex issues. So, they can simplify the problem, find more practical ways of doing things, and look at a situation from other people’s perspectives.
It is natural for them to balance the needs of other parties involved, gather their requirements, and create win-win situations. Thank you, S-people! You taught me to actively focus on finding common ground in difficult situations, instead of trying to convince others that I am right.
Lesson 3: Clarity
S-people love an environment with clearly defined responsibilities, processes, and authority. They ask a lot of “How” questions (such as “How do you want me to do this?”, “How are we going to deal with it?”), as they want to make sure that they understand what is required of them. They also involve others in the process and gather their opinions and ideas, because they want to avoid any type of misunderstanding.
S-people require step-by-step explanations of their tasks and use methodical, logical approaches in their jobs. Thank you, dear S-people, for teaching me that in some cases, we need more time to think things through to create a sound strategy or follow the logical steps of a process! Your “How” questions are thought-provoking and help me to clarify my milestones and long-term goals. Lessons learnt from you have helped me to protect myself from making overly impulsive decisions.
Are you ready to enter new territory?
Thanks to the DISC model and other behavioural assessments, I started to gain more insight into myself and discovered my blind spots. I felt like an adventurous explorer, finding new territories and having hundreds of potential new directions to go.
The biggest challenge for me was to go beyond my pattern of thinking and belief system and start putting myself in the shoes of other people. It was a strange, painful, and at the same time fascinating and thought-provoking process. I am grateful to myself that many years ago, I decided to embark on this exciting journey.
I know that my adventure will last until the end of my life, as I am going to explore even more about myself and organise unforgettable trips for others. I will invite on this trip those who are brave enough to enter new territory and understand themselves and others better.
Are you ready to join me in the exciting process of DISCovering human potential?
Are you an ambitious leader who aims to better understand your people, engage them, and help them grow?
Are you an HR manager dreaming of recruiting the right people the first time, and decreasing turnover rate in your company?
Are you a coach, willing to help your clients achieve their goals?
Are you an employee thinking of a career transition?
Are you a person who loves self-development and want to enhance relationships with relatives, partners, or co-workers?