Friday, November 5, 2010

It's All About "I"

So, I recently took an online self assessment that coincided with People Skills training that I took today at San Francisco State as part of a professional development course offered through CSU system. The assessment ranked participants on one of four behavioral styles: 1)  dominant, 2) interactive, 3) compliant and 4) steady.

My results showed me scoring literally as high as you can in one behavioral style. For those of you who work closely with me currently and those who know me the longest, it's probably pretty easy to figure me out. But, just for fun, here are the four brief summaries of the beharioral styles*.  See if you can find yourself in these. But, more importantly (hint, hint), see if you can find me:

Dominant Style
Dominants are time-sensitive; so don’t waste their time. Be organized and get to the point. Give them relevant information and options, with probabilities of success. Give them written details to read at their leisure – all on a single page. The Dominant Styles are goal-oriented, so appeal to their sense of accomplishment. Stroke their egos by supporting their ideas and acknowledge their power and prestige. Let the D Style call the shots. If you disagree, argue with facts, not feelings. In groups, allow them to have their say because they are not the type who will take a back seat to others.

Interactive Style (I)
Interactive Styles thrive on personal recognition, so pour it on sincerely. Support their ideas, goals, opinions, and dreams. Try not to argue with their pie-in-the-sky visions; get excited about them. The I Styles are social-butterflies, so be ready to flutter around with them. A strong presence, stimulating and entertaining conversation, jokes, and liveliness will win them over. They are people-oriented, so give them time to socialize. Avoid rushing into tasks. With the Interactive Styles, in general, be interested in them.

Steady Style (S)
Steady Styles are relationship-oriented and want warm and fuzzy relationships, so take things slow, earn their trust, support their feelings, and show sincere interest. Talk in terms of feelings, not facts. The S Styles don't want to ruffle feathers. They want to be assured that everyone will approve of them and their decisions. Give them time to solicit co-workers' opinions. Never back a Steady Style into a corner. It is far more effective to apply warmth to get this chicken out of its egg than to crack the shell with a hammer. With the Steady Style, in general, be non-threatening and sincere.

Compliant Style (C)
Compliants are time-disciplined, so be sensitive to their schedules. They need details, so give them data. They are task-oriented; so don't expect to become their friend before working with them. Friendship may develop later, but, unlike the Interactive Styles, it is not a prerequisite. Support the Compliant Styles in their organized, thoughtful approach to problem solving. Be systematic, logical, well prepared, and exact with them. Give them time to make decisions and work independently. The Compliant Styles like to be complimented on their brainpower, so recognize their contributions accordingly. With the Compliant Styles, in general, be thorough, well prepared, detail-oriented, business-like, and patient.

Okay, so, what do you think my dominant behavioral style is?  Drumroll please.....

Seriously, I scored so high at the top of the chart of an Interactive that it's not even funny. Well, actually it is. And, honestly, it's why the blog format I chose to keep me motivated on my weight loss goal has worked so well for me. I'm a people pleaser, plain and simple. I need my little bits of encouragement. My star stickers and applause at my Weight Watchers meetings for every weight loss milestone. The "Atta Girl's" I've been thriving off, thanks to all of you who have been supporting me during my 8 months of weight loss. And, in turn, I enjoy giving the "Atta Girls" right back to my "girls" who are battling the bulge right alongside me.

It's the energy of the interaction that keeps me going. But, it's also the same social tendency that had me tipping the scales in the first place!

Perhaps the funniest part of today's session was when the instructor showed us four comic strips. One of the comic strips featured was one my co-worker was convinced was indicative of my Interactive style. It was a comic that showed a woman with stacks of sandwiches on the counter all around her. In the comic, she shares with the man -- presumably her husband -- "Aren't you pleased? I made you a sandwich for every day of the year!"

My colleague said that's the Interactive Style because she's a people pleaser. In her defense, others in the room agreed. However, I argued that the Interactive was the next comic over; the one with the person saying, "Wow, it says it's new and improved, it must be great!"

When the instructor shared with us what I knew, that the sandwich-maker was the "Steady" personality style, she asked for an "Interactive" to share why this wasn't indicative of their style. Promptly, I raised my hand and said, "An Interactive would NEVER take the time to make all of those sandwiches!" The leader, an Interactive herself, said, "Exactly! An Interactive would say, 'Heck with that, let's go out to dinner!'"

And therein lies the explanation of why my tendencies for socialization and eating out got me into my weight gain mess originally. And, it's also why the blog format for my personality style has helped me take the weight off.

Immediately after the training session, I got in the car to battle the traffic to head back to Benicia for my son's soccer team's final practice, which is traditionally the parents vs. kids soccer game. And, yes, as Interactives tend to be, I was a little late. About 15 minutes, to be exact. I'll blame it on the Bay Area traffic, but my colleague knows we were also roaming around San Francisco State in search of the perfect snack and beverage for our car ride home. A pork bun and large Diet Coke later, we braved the traffic and I arrived about 15 minutes late to the parents vs. kids soccer game.

I was so ready for the competition. My husband worried that I would land myself into the ER. I assured him I would be fine and requested, as a good Interactive should, "Please take pictures for my blog."

Not to brag (yeah, right), I scored the first goal of the game. It was definitely a team effort, but I sealed the deal and did a somewhat reserved victory dance that, nevertheless, mortified my 10-year-old son. It was obvious to me that my Interactive, people-pleasing self was very much satisfied by my success. But, we were dealing with 10-, 11- and 12-year-olds and I knew it was more important that they win.

That didn't stop me from assisting in one more goal for the parents. I kicked the ball to the mid section just before the goal (don't know the right terminology, but those details aren't important), at which point one of the father's of one of the kids headed it into the goal. Nice!

But, the kids came back with three goals, two of which were scored by our son, Will. Guess that's the next best thing to doing it yourself, right?

Our son attributes my goal-scoring skills to him. I see it a little bit differently:-)

So, the last couple of weeks have been tougher to stay on track on my diet, primarily because of Halloween and social engagements over the past two weekends. I've gained .5 pounds over the past two weeks, leaving me with three pounds more to go before I reach my 40 pound weight loss goal.

Until next week,

* See how compliant I'm being by noting the following attribution: Copyright © 2010 Alessandra & Associates, Inc.?