I spent the last two days taking a work-related class on my communication and how others perceive my communication style. I like bettering myself, and I found this class quite interesting. Before the class, each participant takes a survey on themselves and then sends the survey to five people that they work with. According to the results, people are placed as either controlling (assertive and reserved), analyzing (receptive and reserved), advocating (assertive and responsive), or facilitating (receptive and responsive). Below are my results:
Controlling: Achievement, “I win”
Analyzing: Security, “I’m right”
Advocating: Recognition, “I’m noticed”
Facilitating: Relationships, “I’m liked”
I very much thought that I was going to be a facilitator because I like the world to be a happy place where everyone always gets along. I think at one point in my life, I was probably the most receptive and responsive person you’d ever meet (bottom right of the graph). I put little value in my own thoughts because I wanted to go with the flow. Just easier that way.
I think that as we age, we begin to appreciate our own perspectives. I pick my battles. I would still rather that everyone was happy all the time, forever and always, but I am not afraid to challenge you, particularly if I have facts that support my decision. I am also less willing to trust a statement at face value without researching an issue for myself. I think this is one of the reasons that I have felt weighed down since taking my current job. I’d still like everyone to be happy, but acting as a representative, I need to defend my people: I am the wrinkle in a lot of otherwise smooth plans.
That is not to say that I will always challenge someone if I do not agree. If I don’t care enough about the issue, I let it slide. Our instructor was very good about repeating that there are no good or bad styles, and one style is not better than another. The class is an exercise in understanding your own motivations, and understanding how to classify people you work with so that communication can be more successful.
Additionally, people tend to exhibit the qualities from three of the quadrants, but have a very difficult time working with the fourth. In my case, I am primarily an analyzer, but also a facilitator, and sometimes a controller (when I need to be). Advocating styles make me roll my eyes. This is quite funny to me because when I plot a point for Nick according to a short questionnaire, he is an absolute advocator. Oh well. The instructor said that opposites do attract. I certainly could never work with Nick, but I don’t have a problem loving him.