I recently attended the Agricultural Media Summit on behalf of a client. Some of my favorite aspects of this show are the professional development classes that are offered throughout the three-day event. There are more than 25 sessions, and topics cover a number of interesting subjects, such as:
- How To Evaluate Your Social Media Plan
- Building Brand Awareness and Reputation
- An Open Discussion about Ethics in Journalism
- Effective Interviewing Techniques
How To Network & Lead As A Young Professional
A session that really stuck out to me was titled “It’s Not You, It’s Me: How To Network and Lead as a Young Professional.” The workshop was lead by Ashley Fischer from Beck’s Hybrids who gave great insight into a question that continues to evade many: how to best work with your colleagues.
No matter how small your office, you will work with people who are different than you. While this can initially seem like a challenge (imagine a super organized Type A colleague trying to finish a project on a deadline with a fluid, creative Type B), Ashley quickly pointed out that these differences among colleagues should be explored and celebrated.
Personality Profiles: The DiSC Theory
Ashley began her discussion by introducing the DiSC personality profile. She explained that by answering two simple questions most people find that they fit into a central category of either:
- D (Dominance)
- i (Influence)
- S (Steadiness), or
- C (Conscientiousness)
She asked the group to move in the room according to their answers to the following questions:
- Are you active or thoughtful?
- Are you questioning or accepting?
By moving into small groups (active and questioning in the front left, active and accepting in the front right, thoughtful and accepting in the back right and thoughtful and questioning in the back left), we found that the room divided almost equally between the four sections.
- The D group is made up of those who describe themselves as “active” and “questioning.”
- These personalities are fast-paced, outspoken and skeptical of most recommendations.
- The i group is made up of those who describe themselves as “active” and “accepting.”
- These personalities are also fast-paced and vocal about ideas, but tend to accept new recommendations easier and want to please those around them.
- The S group is made up of those who describe themselves as “thoughtful” and “accepting.”
- These personalities are more cautious and reflective, while still concerned with making sure everyone feels like their opinions are heard.
- The C group is made up of those who describe themselves as “thoughtful” and “questioning.”
- These personalities take more time evaluating an idea, analyzing the recommendation and considering the tiny details that generally get overlooked by the other groups.
After answering the proposed questions, I fell into the “i” group.
I was unsure, at first, how answering only two questions could fit me into a category that was aimed at defining my entire personality. But I quickly found after meeting with my fellow “i” group members that the assessment was right on. I enjoy collaboration and want everyone’s ideas to be heard, sometimes even before my own, while putting an emphasis on efficiency and enthusiasm.
Collaboration with Colleagues
Ashley helped show that while there are four different personality types that most people fit into, there are some clear overlaps.
- The D’s and i’s value productivity,
- The D’s and C’s value curiosity,
- The i’s and S’s value teamwork, and
- The S’s and C’s value accuracy.
After examining the ways in which we were different, we were all hit with the same key message: focus on the ways your different styles can complement one another. Take some time to meet with your own co-workers, find out what category you fall into, and where the office fills out. Work together to find overlapping values and expand upon those by building team strategies that include everyone’s strengths.
Strategies can include establishing open lines of communication and allowing everyone to do what they do best: identify your best skills and your co-workers assets and divide up projects based on who excels in certain areas. Working as a united team internally helps to better relationships not only among co-workers but also with the clients or vendor partners that your office interacts with or relies upon.
Though our session was a short 45 minutes, the class helped me to realize that every person values different working styles and there are effective ways to work with every type. By getting to know how my colleagues work, I feel I can better connect with them and, ultimately, create a better outcome for our clients.
Success @ Creative PR
The mission of the Success @ Creative PR newsletter is to help you succeed in your communications career by giving you valuable tips, trends, tools, insights and inspiration that will help you throughout your career. Click the button below to subscribe: