I am pretty reserved and definitely task-oriented. I care about people, but I expect people to behave logically. When I work, I focus very intently on the work in front of me. Distractions and interruptions frustrate and annoy me.
My wife is outgoing and more task-oriented than people-oriented. She likes to move fast. She tends to make decisions on-the-fly and to work in a stream-of-consciousness fashion. She finds it easy to jump from topic to topic or from task to task.
My oldest daughter is much like me with a female perspective. She is a bit more sensitive than I am, but not much. She recently told me that she often does not like people because they do things that do not make sense. We have a running joke between us that one of us hurt the other’s feeling (Yes, feeling is singular and not plural.)
My youngest daughter is a lot like my wife. She moves fast, talks fast, and decides fast. She is different from my wife in that she tends a little more towards the people-oriented side of life. She loves to laugh, have fun, and play. She often leaves clothes on the floor or dishes on the counter because she “forgot” about them in moving on to the next thing.
I struggle with understanding the three female perspectives on life that live in the same house with me. I struggle to shift mental gears when either my wife or my youngest daughter makes a request of me with an “oh, by the way…” start while I’m working on a project that requires focus.
My wife struggles to find ways to communicate with me that respect my need to stay focused on my current task-at-hand without interruption. She struggles to slow down and allow my oldest daughter the time she needs to process requests before answering. She also struggles to restrain her frustration when my youngest daughter fails to follow-through on a task.
My oldest daughter struggles to understand and value her sister’s more light-hearted perspective on life. She has to guard against her own perfectionism when she comments on her sister’s singing. She also struggles with her mother’s intensity and drive when tasks need to be finished in a short period of time. To her, her mother looks angry, and she often responds accordingly by withdrawing from rather than engaging with her mother.
My youngest daughter struggles to allow me to work without interruption. She finds it difficult to stay quiet or to work without music when I am working on business matters. She can run afoul of her mother with her occasionally too quick wit and mouth. She really gets frustrated with her sister’s performance expectations.
In a nutshell, that is my team, my family, my work unit. And somehow we have to find a way to make this work.
We all understand the DISC model of human behavior. We all work to understand each other’s perspective. We work (almost) every day to apply what I have learned professionally to our family dynamic. It’s still hard work.
How different are we from your family or your business team?
I would guess, not very.
We are all similar, and yet we are different. We have different levels of maturity, different levels of knowledge, different levels of skill, and different perspectives on the “right” way to do things.
Still, we have to find a way to make this work.
All the knowledge and skills in the world don’t make a difference in the functioning of a family or a team without a desire and willingness to make it work. As one of my mentors taught me, “commitment and compatibility are two different things.”
As you move forward in your business and personal life, I encourage you to focus more on commitment than on compatibility.
After all, we have to find a way to make this work.