x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Vive la difference when it comes to personality types

A crazy workplace has an employee wondering if the person really fits there. Understanding individual’s differences in natural behavioural types is vital for effective working partnerships and maximised work performance.

I love my job. The place is crazy but I love it. I thrive on the disorganisation somehow. The worse things get, the more useful I feel. Am I nuts? ZB, Abu Dhabi

Dear ZB,

Crazy times call for crazy responses, solutions and people – sometimes.

ZB, I read between your lines that “crazy” means unpredictable and reactive, borderless and open-ended, intangible more than tangible, working in the “unknown” with little or no capacity for planning or even for thinking one day ahead. Disorganisation to you represents freedom to create and to face challenges in new ways. It appears that is exactly what you work well with, whether it is you driving that craziness or others. The way I look at this is that nothing is right or wrong, just different consequences – and it appears the consequences are all good for you.

Your question: “Am I nuts?” tells me you want to know why this works for you but not for others, as many around you seem to become drained, nervous and incapable to work in that environment. This is the very reason for my word “sometimes” at the start of this reply , as the consequences for these people include descriptors such as disruptive, unnerving and an environment unsuitable to work in.

Meet Joe. Joe has a behaviour that works from the inside; analytical by nature. It takes Joe time to hear the messages, process expectations and bring results into fruition. Joe is so slow to act when a change is introduced, simply because he feels loyal to the way things were. His energies would be wondering why such speed is required and why the work could never be completed in a predictable fashion. Yet when it comes to being there to support, knowing exactly where everything is, providing a sense of security, stability and groundedness, Joe is the man.

Now let’s put Joe into an admin support role, supporting you, one who is holding a role to innovate, to face challenges head-on, to come up with new solutions. You are so fast-paced and energised by this environment, yet Joe is not. You are likely to be here, there and everywhere and simply can’t know where all documents are, nor know who the key players are – this is simply not your priority. This is where Joe could step up to the plate for you. He would be your rock. While the environment would be buzzing around him, if you were to give him time every morning for his questions before rushing off, prioritise answering his calls throughout the day and give him time to make suggestions, his behaviour would be your anchor. Be thankful that we all don’t have the same behaviour. Your behaviour and Joe’s behaviour are indeed a complementary match made in heaven.

So to answer your question ZB, no, you are not crazy. Yet you are also not suited for all job types in all environments. Take the time before moving on to any future role to identify that which you need in an environment, and how you can have that without disturbing others around you. For you to be placed into a rigid and predictable environment could be the death of you. Thank goodness we are not all the same.

Doctor’s prescription

Understanding individuals’ differences in natural behavioural types is vital for effective working partnerships and maximised work performance.

Debbie Nicol, the managing director of the Dubai-based business en motion, is a consultant on leadership and organisational development, strategic change and corporate culture. Email her at debbie.nicol@businessenmotion.com for the Workplace Doctor’s advice on your challenges, whether as an employee, a manager or a colleague