I had been having troubles working with Alvin, a member in my team, for a while. I realized that no matter how I tried to guide him or task him to get work done, it didn’t meet my expectations, or turn out the way I had wanted. Over time, I was frustrated and perplexed, and I had wondered if he was fit for the job or the organization.
I noticed that Alvin and I had different thinking and behavioral attributes and we only had similarities in the conceptual attribute. Still, it was hard to connect with him on that level.
It was not until one day, when we mapped out our preferences and compare ourselves on a spectrum did I realize that we were on the opposite ends of each other for almost every attribute. It was then did I realize that if I had wanted to see a change in Alvin’s performance at work, I had to make the change.
I began to change my approach with Alvin. I realized that for Alvin to work well, the red part of his brain had to feel comfortable. I flexed my red preference (his most preferred attribute, and my least preferred attribute) and approached him from there whenever I needed him to get work done. I also began to learn to scaffold my instructions to him, breaking it down into smaller chunks, rather than giving it in one big generic direction. That greatly helped his structural thinking preference.
I had also learnt to scale back on my assertiveness so that he can take the lead once in a while with his ideas.
Over time, Alvin excelled in his work. Learning from example, he too learnt that he could flex to my preference in the analytical thinking.
Today, Alvin is an extremely valuable member of the team, and a daily reminder for me that to be a better leader, I have to always be sensitive to the diversity in my team; and that as much as I would like them to appreciate my preferences, I had to appreciate theirs too.
And that’s my Emergenetics story!
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