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Have a Spock on your team, and you're Captain Kirk? Here's how to bridge the divide

| Laurie Brown |

Ever called a meeting to "brainstorm" your next project, and been greeted with a frozen, deer-in-headlights panicked response from certain team members?

While the most creative, imaginative people will light up at the mention of this type of assignment, your logical, analytical people may struggle with this sort of task without more detail and clarity.

They depend on data and facts to make decisions. And time. Spontaneity is NOT in their comfort zone. 

It all comes down to the different personalities on your team and how everyone prefers to work. 

If you tend to be a straight shooter, or even a bit of a charmer as a manager, getting your logical folks on board—often, your engineering, technology, and accounting types, though they are certainly NOT limited to any area of your team—is NOT always easy.

Especially when you need something done fast. Without a whole lot of information.

It's not that your team doesn't care about the tasks at hand or doing a good job, because they do. It's just that every personality approaches things in a slightly different way, especially when it comes to conversations and processes. 

The more you understand the individual personalities and communication preferences on your team, and how to leverage those differences for good, the more effective your team can be. 


What you can learn about your team from DiSC profiles: C's or Owls

To get the most out of everyone's different approach to processing and communicating, first, you have to understand them. What makes them tick and how does their personality shine through at work? This is an opportunity to help your people grow and thrive, which gives the whole team a boost. 

Even though it may seem like a challenge, having different personalities on the team is actually a good thing. A more diverse, well-rounded team can use the strengths of everyone's personality to get things done and achieve major goals. 

We love DiSC profiles, which allow business managers to learn more about their team's preferences and dislikes—as well as their own! In earlier blog posts, we dived into the first three DiSC profile personalities: D (dominant, direct "eagles"), I (interactive and influential "parrots"), and S (steadfast, peace-loving "doves").

The final letter in DiSC, the C's, is our fourth and final group. C's are all about compliance. We liken them to owls. 

So, what makes an owl tick? They:

  • Are reflective and task-oriented. 
  • Love information, data, logic, and details.
  • Appreciate fact-based visuals like graphs and charts.
  • Prefer to make informed decisions. 
  • Do NOT like ambiguity, conversations filled with what they see as "fluff," and above all, GUESSING. Anything. (Shudder.) 

To spot an owl, look for people who ask questions directly and provide information in a straightforward way. 

They prefer to take more time to respond to questions and ideas, and/or offer a solution. To be put on the spot, given incomplete information, and pushed to provide an answer… Well, let's just say it won't end well.

Since they don't like ambiguity, owls tend to be upfront and show little reaction, which sometimes leads their colleagues to believe (incorrectly) that they don't have feelings. Of course, they do, they just don't show emotions, particularly at work.

They tend to speak at a lower volume with precision and detail. 

How to approach the owls on your team (without alienating them) 

If you're an eagle, for example, a direct, dominant leader who likes things done right away, and you're working with an owl, try to remember their preference for facts over spontaneity—AND, that their processing speed does not move at the same rapid pace as yours.

By being cognizant of their preferences, you can build on their skillset while also ensuring they feel comfortable and supported

Let's take that brainstorming meeting as an example. Your request could go something like this:

"Hi Kate, I'm asking everyone to bring three ideas for the new project to our meeting this afternoon. Could you please take a look at the latest figures and outline a few possibilities based on our current earnings and customer demands? We can combine your analysis with other creative ideas to make it happen."

An owl will appreciate this heads up, so they have enough time to gather the facts and analyze the situation before being put on the spot. Remember, they love to work with facts, graphs, and data, so allowing them to do so will benefit the whole team. 

When in doubt, err on the side of concrete ideas or direct questions. The more opportunities they have to work with facts and data, the better. 

If you're an owl yourself, the same idea applies. Don't be afraid to base your communications on fact and logic, but try to keep in mind that not everyone will do the same. 

If you can deliver the numbers and rational reasoning, build up a tolerance for some of the small talk that puts other team members at ease (without rolling your eyes), and allow them to bring their creativity, you can collaborate from there. It is possible!

We know it can be tough to navigate different personalities at times. We've all been there, where we just want to get a project over the line but varying opinions and approaches are holding us back. By using these differences to our advantage instead of our detriment, we can accomplish everything we want to and more. 

If you're ready to learn more about healthy team communication and how to best support your team, let's chat! Book a discovery call today.