At Luck Companies we use a personality profile called Insights. Our results help to put language to our development plan, give us context to provide and receive feedback, and help us recognize the value each person adds to the conversation. Like many personality assessments, Insights provides you with results that place you as a specific type. The “type” is not meant to box you in, but provide you with your preference, or home base. All the types are along a spectrum, meaning you have the ability to show any of the qualities from any of the types.
For instance, I have the ability to be empathetic, but my fast ball is to be direct. I know what it would look like to be detail oriented, but since it is hard for me to do, I typically choose not to be. Being specific is challenging for me- I prefer stories with drama and exaggerations, so that is how I tell them. The same goes for research. I went to college- I know how to research, but if the answer doesn’t pop up in the first two lines of my Google search- I will either make up an answer or figure out a way around the problem.
Similarly, I have been doing the same arm and leg routine at the gym for about 11 years. I know my routine and it appears to work. So each workout is strengthening the same exact muscles in the same exact way. Now, as a fit young professional, I know the advice is to mix up workouts so your muscles do not get accustom to a specific way of moving. So, why don’t I mix it up? I don’t know how. In SLII language, I am a Disillusioned Learner (D2), and now that I am 27, I am frankly embarrassed to ask for help.
And I have only been in that workout routine for 11 years. I have been defaulting to my personality preference for almost 27 years. Those are some hard habits to break, and chances are… I don’t even know how to start flexing that empathetic, detailed oriented, specific, or research muscle. And it seems harder to ask for help on my personality then it would be to ask for help at the gym!
I am certainly not interested in walking around with one really large bicep and really tiny chicken legs. I want to make sure I am choosing a well-rounded workout just as I am choosing to have a well-rounded personality that can adapt and connect with anyone around the spectrum of personality.
But the problem is, I do not always know HOW to do it. Telling someone “You need to be more empathetic” is one thing. I can try to do that, but chances are, just having that goal will not help me to succeed. I am a Disillusioned Learner (D2) and really need high direction. Tell me to say good morning when I see a coworker, which will help people feel comfortable. Now that is a tangible addition I can make. Let me know I have a habit of checking the time while in conversations, which makes people feel they are a task on my to-do list, is a habit I can raise my awareness around. Inform me that people feel I only connect when I need something, and maybe I should do a few more desk drive-bys to “just say hi.” These are tactical and valuable pieces of feedback I can incorporate into my life to start flexing that unused, very weak empathetic muscle.
So if we are going to give feedback with the goal of helping someone start to develop a routine that will strengthen that currently weak muscle, let’s commit to giving feedback that is specific, tangible, and actionable. That way we know how to strengthen it- not just show up at the gym, walk by the mirror a few times, move a few weights around, check your phone incessantly, and then leave without breaking a sweat.
How do you choose to flex muscles that do not come naturally to you?