by Donald Burns, CDMP, CMEC, CHt
Let me be clear on something. I will use the term high or low of a behavioral trait. Any behavior taken to extremes can be bad. That does not mean that people who have a higher trait or a lower trait are better than anyone else.
Besides, it is the the composition of all your behavior traits that make you who you are. I call that your Behavioral Matrix.
Combine that with the variety of life experiences out there that shape how we interpret data from the world, and things can get complex. We are purely looking at this as a means to understand what makes ourselves and others tick just a little bit more.
Okay lets’ jump into the fire with the first of the four corner stone behavioral traits: dominance
Dominance – The Take Charge Trait
If you had a group of people sitting around not doing anything, you can bet that the person who is high dominance is going to take charge. They can’t help it, they are wired that way. I call it Natural D Drive.
Why might you want someone with high dominance? To take charge and get things done! High D’s live on getting tasks done! Period. They want results. They do not like long stories, just tell them how you are going to do it and please for the love of God, do not repeat yourself with a High D (unless you are trying to drive them crazy). I am always careful when hiring team members who are very High D, too much and they can just be steamrolling jerks (any trait taken to extremes can be bad…remember). Now can a person with Low D still lead? Of course! Now will they be the first to volunteer? Probably not. Any trait can adapt for a short term situation. The problem we get is long term, because they are just not naturally wired that way. They start getting stressed and then they come apart. You have just had your first experience of the wrong person in the wrong position. Now usually performance starts to decline here too and sad, most companies usually just get rid of the person.
A better option would be to move them into a job that is in better alignment with their natural strengths or how they are naturally wired.
When I do a job model first to make sure I get the best “fit” for the traits required I hit a home run 96% time. Now I am not a betting guy, but those are pretty good odds.
Let’s look at a list of D Traits….
The High ‘D’ Drive or High Dominance Profile
General Characteristics: Direct. Decisive. High Ego Strength. Problem Solver. Risk Taker. Self Starter.
Value to Team: Bottom-line organizer. Places value on time. Challenges the status quo. Innovative.
Possible Weaknesses: Oversteps authority. Argumentative attitude. Dislikes routine. Attempts too much at once.
Greatest Fear: Being taken advantage of.
Motivated By: New challenges. Power and authority to take risks and make decisions. Freedom from routine and mundane tasks. Changing environments in which to work and play.
Ideal Environment: Innovative focus on future. Non-routine challenging tasks and activities. Projects that produce tangible results. Freedom from controls, supervision, and details. Personal evaluation based on results, not methods.
Remember a High D May Want: Authority, varied activities, prestige, freedom, assignments promoting growth, “bottom line” approach, and opportunity for advancement.
DO: Be brief, direct, and to the point. Ask “what” not “how” questions. Focus on business; remember they desire results. Suggest ways for him/her to achieve results, be in charge, and solve problems. Highlight logical benefits of featured ideas and approaches.
DON’T: Ramble. Repeat yourself. Focus on problems. Be too sociable. Make generalizations. Make statements without support.
While analyzing information, a High D may: Ignore potential risks. Not weigh the pros and cons. Not consider others’ opinions. Offer innovative and progressive systems and ideas.
D’s possess these positive characteristics in teams: Autocratic managers – great in crisis. Self-reliant. Innovative in getting results. Maintain focus on goals. Specific and direct. Overcome obstacles. Provide direction and leadership. Push group toward decisions. Willing to speak out. Generally optimistic. Welcome challenges without fear. Accept risks. See the big picture. Can handle multiple projects. Function well with heavy work loads.
Personal Growth Areas for D’s: Strive to be an “active” listener. Be attentive to other team members’ ideas until everyone reaches a consensus. Be less controlling and domineering. Develop a greater appreciation for the opinions, feelings, and desires of others. Put more energy into personal relationships. Show your support for other team members. Take time to explain the “whys” of your statements and proposals. Be friendlier and more approachable.
This person’s tendencies include:
- Getting immediate results
- Causing action
- Accepting challenges
- Making quick decisions
- Questioning the status quo
- Taking authority
- Causing trouble
- Solving problems
This person desires an environment which includes:
- Power and authority
- Prestige and challenge
- Opportunity for individual accomplishment
- Wide scope of operations
- Direct answers
- Opportunity for advancement
- Freedom from controls and supervision
- Many new and varied activities
This person needs others who:
- Weigh pros and cons
- Calculate risks
- Use caution
- Structure a more predictable environment
- Research facts
- Deliberate before deciding
- Recognize the needs of others
To be more effective, this person needs:
- Difficult assignments
- Understanding they need people
- Techniques based on practical experience
- An occasional shock
- Identification with a group
- To verbalize the reasons for conclusions
- An awareness of existing sanctions
- To pace self and relax more
Now Low D’s will usually be the flip side of High D’s…..
Want a couple good examples of a High D’s: Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada based on Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, Donald Trump and Oprah.