More than a hammer.

Why can’t everyone accept me as I am? My dog does.  Why can’t everyone else?  It’s not that everyone can’t accept you and your foibles, it’s that you can be more effective if you adapt your approach.  While it may not be obvious if someone is meticulous versus flying on a wing and a prayer, it pays to take the time to read someone before advancing forward.  If we want to be more effective, we need to adapt.

If your assistant is an extrovert, it’s not a good idea to stick them in a windowless cubicle in a dim dark corner of cubicle-land.  If your four-year-old child is an introvert, they may not want to sing in the Christmas Concert (I know this from experience). If your boss is skewed toward Consciousness (C in the Everything DiSC Assessment style), he isn’t going to be happy if you come in with a proposal without any facts and figures.  He wants to be able to analyze the data.

If all you have is a hammer, every job requires a nail.  It’s not going to work with a plumbing issue.  You’re going to need to add some tools to your tool chest…or a kitchen utensil to your utensil drawer (a whisk won’t work with over easy eggs).  Let’s check out some possibilities.

1. Assess.  Take the time and invest in figuring out your style.  Whether it’s Myers-Briggs, Everything DiSC or Hogan (all personality assessments), we all walk around with different drives, comfort zones and styles.  Knowing yourself first will help you interact with others. The important thing to take from any of these assessments is that what you feel comfortable with may not be what your spouse, co-worker or boss is comfortable with.  It starts with you knowing.

2. Listen.  This is especially difficult for us extroverts.  Bite your tongue and just listen.  Let them tell their story, their version of events, their tale of whoa.  Ask a few clarifying questions but relax and be “all ears.” Many of you  (most likely introverts) reading this are perfectly fine with sitting back and listening.  Thank you.  We appreciate your patience.

3.Thick Skin.  You’re going to need one.  You can’t get your feelings hurt if someone wants more information, facts and figures.  If someone’s tendency is to challenge ever decision or course of action, realize that we need this type in the world and let them be the devil’s advocate.  About 25% of the population is a “D” or “Dominant” style.  They can come across as blunt.  To. The. Point.  It’s the way they operate.  Ditch the small talk and get to the point.  Don’t take it personally.

4. Curb.  Sometimes you need to curb your enthusiasm.  This hits close to home for me.  I tend to be “blue sky” on everything, including on  deciding what restaurant to eat in.  I’ll be throwing out 5 choices and three types of cuisine and my seventeen-year-old son will just turn to me and say “I don’t care, Mommy, so decide.”  This could be a buzz kill for me but I’ve learned to adapt.  Curb your enthusiasm and make a decision.

5. Speak up.  This is for those introverts out there.  Sometimes your going to need to eat your Wheaties and speak up.  If your spouse wants the two of you to go to Miami for the weekend and you’re concerned about the budget, speak up.  Next thing you know there will be a Rolls Royce and champagne at the airport and you will be stressing out over getting a second mortgage on the house.  Make sure you speak up.

6. Confront.  As in, confront the conflict.  This can be difficult for many of us.  We don’t want to rock the boat.  We want everyone to like us.  We are worried about judgment, hurting other’s feelings and losing respect.  If you confront an issue in a compassionate way, you can end up being the hero.  Avoidance causes resentment, confusion and frustration.  Be the hero and confront with compassion and grace

We are all different.  We all walk around with our own motivations, fears and modus operandi.  If we can embrace someone else’s approach to the world, similar to respecting someone’s cat allergy or vegetarianism, we’ll be much more effective.  Adapt your utensils for the situation at hand.  It might take a spatula or a whisk…or a plumbing wrench.

How do you adapt to others?

What do you think?

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