I recently took the time to reflect on my 20th year in marketing, and I realized that I'd had a full and exciting career. As with most people, it's filled with ups and downs. I've realized over time how much of those challenges have come from working with different personalities - most I did not initially understand.
Perhaps you've had a similar experience. Whether you have spent 20 years with one company, two years with ten companies, or you've been an entrepreneur, you've likely encountered numerous personalities along the way. In the worst-case scenario, it was very challenging, and maybe even a hostile environment for you.
I understand how it feels. In my career, I have received both good and (in hindsight) terrible advice from people trying to help me deal with difficult personalities and work environments. Here's a couple of examples:
“Put Your Head Down and Just Work" – Just come in, do your job, and leave. While that may feel safe and stress-reducing at the moment, I've learned it can lead to missed opportunities for growth, leadership, and ultimately promotion.
“Don’t Expect Anything but a Check" – I agree that you should absolutely get paid for the value you bring to an organization. I also agree that your self-worth should not come from where you work or what you do. However, your work or your business is where you spend 40 or more hours a week. At a minimum, it should be a place you can tolerate. At best, it's a place where you can exercise your gifts and be your full self.
Here are two concepts I've implemented that have helped me continue to grow professionally and personally:
Be Observant – As a Maxwell Certified DISC trainer, I now truly understand that everyone is different and the depths to which those differences and similarities exist. While everyone you encounter is unique in their personalities and giftings, most will exhibit similar personality traits. For example, every team usually has a hard-charging "just get it done" guy or gal. Then there is the one that can be counted on to lighten the mood in an intense staff meeting. Or better yet, a quiet team member that can always be relied on to come through on big projects. Think about your current and former colleagues. I bet you will find many similarities.
Know Yourself – Maybe more important than recognizing the personalities around you is truly knowing your own. Understanding who you are, your strengths, how you handle pressure, and how you are wired to interact with others empowers you to no end. In terms of DISC, I am a high "S." I now better understand how my personality could potentially conflict with others but, more importantly, how I can better communicate and work with others. This knowledge has made me exponentially more effective at work and a better communicator at home.
If you have never had a DISC personality assessment or can't remember the last time you had one, I encourage you to take one. The Maxwell version of the assessment provides not just readout, but an in-depth analysis of your personality type, work style, communication tips for relating to other personalities, and an application/growth guide. Click here for more info.
B2B Marketing Strategist Jerome Simmons