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I cannot figure you out! (Stereotyping)

June 29, 2011

My team attended a Personality Development Seminar based on DISC profiling. One of my colleagues told me that her adaptive style and natural style turned out to be the same, she is a high D (dominant) and I (influential) type, in both her adaptive and natural style. Then she turned to me and said, ” how about you? What is your DISC profile? until now I cannot figure you out..”.

Most of the times, people tend to try to “read us” and put us within stereotyped roles. She cannot figure me out, because she was trained, as Human Resource person to look at body language and intonation, to gauge personalities and behaviors. So, when someone is an outlier and does not fall right into place into a certain category, they would be lost and say “I cannot understand you, I cannot figure you out”, when the real issue is, they did not take enough time to know you, and tried to make you fit into a certain stereotype.

Most oncologists seem to do the same stereotyping when talking to their patients. Once they receive the pathology reports, they would just throw you into a certain category of patients (Stage 1, 2 , 3 or 4). Whilst a typical Human resource person, would just categorise you as a type D, I , S or C.

The other team mate, tried to make a wild guess and said, I believe Lanie is a type S (steady) and C (compliant). While my manager, thought I am a High (I) influential type. I just smiled at all of them. Now, I know why team mate #1 said, she cannot figure me out. Actually, my natural style is high D- dominant, medium I – influential. But my adaptive style is S- steady and C-compliant. Why? its because my manager is a type S and C, so I had to adapt to her style, so we can work well together. I use my natural dominant style in situations that requires it (e.g. crisis management). I had to admit that when I was younger I tend to over-use my natural D style and had burnt myself in the process. Now, I have to learned how to control it and use it only in situations that requires it. I ended up being happier and much easier to approach in the office. My manager seems to appreciate it and she is also confident that I will not be a doormat and will not be pushed around , but still able to influence people in a positive way.

DISC profiling is about knowing and understanding the other person, so that I can learn how to work well with him/her. Its not about ego tripping and expecting people to understand me and adjust to me or worst throwing people into stereotypes– cause you never know if that person is actually using her/his natural style or adapted style.

Why am I writing about personality types in a cancer blog? It is because Cancer apparently has a personality read this

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