Ask my wife and she’ll claim I’m a big picture thinker and extraverted– she’ll point out how I love to entertain, how sociable I am, that I’m demonstrative (or over demonstrative at times!), how I love an audience, and how my spontaneity (against her order and planning) drives her mad. She’ll also see the bit in me that’s outcome focussed (claiming it’s a ‘man thing’) because I like to provide solutions to issues or problems when what she’s looking for is for me to listen, be empathetic and supportive.
However when five of our clients were asked during a recent Lumina qualification to describe my personality, or their perception of my personality (I wasn’t there at the time), they all agreed that I was predominantly a people focussed person, with lots of Green archetype in me. They saw me as collaborative, empathetic, supportive – in fact an all-round nice guy.
My Lumina Partners, Gavin and Stewart, who had posed the question, were giving each other curious looks, and in hysterics inside (as my wife would have been)! This is because they rarely see these qualities in me. They get the outcome focussed discipline driven Stevie. The one that keeps harking on about agendas and processes. The one that demands reliability. The one who needs to know where we are going before we set off.
You may be thinking I’m bi-polar or even tri-polar! Perhaps you just think I’m confused or too ready to please the person I meet. However when I was reflecting on the different views of Stevie, it was an amazing illustration why personality profiling had been failing people and businesses for so many years. In fact I’ll take that further …. It was a symbol of why so many management and leadership development programmes had failed so many people for so many years.
In multiple businesses across multiple sectors, we’ve been putting people in a box – stereotyping them – for ease of description or laziness, then sitting back and watching them get labelled for the rest of their careers. This activity does a disservice to them but also means your business misses out on their staff’s qualities.
“That John’s a real Green, People Person, great with the sensitive ones round the office but can’t be trusted to deliver
“Michelle’s the structured one– she always thinks through what she needs to achieve, but don’t ever ask her to come up with new ideas – she doesn’t do that
“That Stevie is the dynamic one or that Stevie is a commander or that Stevie is a people person
The way these three different groups – my wife, my colleagues and our clients – perceived me, reminded me that everybody has multiple qualities, and as complex human beings, we have the ability to tap into many of our traits dependent on what the environment requires. And the businesses that encourage their staff to do this are the ones that succeed first.
So my wife, my partners and my clients were all correct. There are many different Stevies, and the more I talk about Lumina with people, and how it measures all of an individual’s qualities, opposites, natural behaviour, everyday behaviour and over-extended (stressed) behaviour, it helps me to understand this and adapt and pull upon the appropriate Stevie for the appropriate situation – although I’m sure my wife is still waiting to see the sensitive Stevie she yearns for!