Why Can’t Everyone Be Just Like Me?

Why Can’t Everyone Be Just Like Me?

Why do people do the things that they do? Does my husband labor over a detail to make me suffer or is perfection something that he feels is achievable? Does my son bring home papers from school after the events have all passed just to annoy me, or is he trying to meet some need of his own, something far more important to him than paying attention to details? We find the answer partially in our preferred behavioral approach.

One model of behavior that attempts to help us understand this is called DISC. The
DISC model identifies four styles of people.

The “D” style stands for dominance. Being a confessed “D” style, I have found myself
on more than one occasion getting out of my car to direct traffic. Taking control of
situations (and people) is characteristic of a person with this style. The “D” person
moves quickly to take action, but quick decisions occasionally cause trouble.
Recently, I deleted a clients voice mail message after thinking I had heard `enough’
of the message, only to find out later that the client had left a home number at the
end of the message.

The “I” style stands for influencing. These folks are far more focused on people than
tasks. The most verbal of all four styles, the I is a persuasive communicator. Always
the optimist, the influencing style can have a problem with personal organization
due to their extremely full calender and wide range of personal interests. My son is
a very strong “I” style, and will often point out the positive in any situation. Once he
come home with a spelling test that had thirteen words spelled incorrectly. I gasped
as I looked at the test which had a note from his teacher requesting that I call
her.Sensing my concern, he patted my knee and said “Don’t worry mom, it was a
really good try.”

The “S” style is the steadiness style. This style is very relational, but in a more
reserved kind of way than the “I”. The “S” folks are very loyal, family oriented, and
they are systematic organizers. They are the most naturally team-oriented of all the
four styles and are always concerned how decisions and changes will affect others.
My mother has lots of the “S” dimension in her style. She has the most organized
closets and drawers in her home that I have ever seen, and her pictures are in
albums! She has a drawer in her kitchen with all her spices and the top of each
bottle is labeled for quick identification. By contrast, my closets look like they have
just survived a small earthquake and my pictures are in various boxes and bags in
several locations throughout my home.

The “C” style is the conscientious style. A person drawing from this behavioral
approach will be very concerned with accuracy, quality, and doing things right. This
style is most concerned about following procedures and rules. The “C” style tends to
be very analytical, task oriented and reserved. While the “D” and the “C” are both
task oriented styles, the “D” wants to get results, but the “C” wants to do it right! My
husband has a very strong “C” style, and he balances the books (thankfully) to the
penny- he has been known to spend a few hours looking for a few cents that do not
add up. Me? Wnen things get really bad with my checkbook, I just close the account
and open another with another bank. Fortunatly with all the mergers in this
industry, there is always a new bank in town with whom to do business.

So whose approach to life is right? Of course, we each know that if only the whole
world was things the way we see them, all would be well, right? But, don’t we need
each other because of these differences? Don’t these different approaches add
richness and enable us to accomplish more?

The key to making it work is really understanding and respect. As we understand
that our children, spouses, parents, and co-workers really do see the world
a little differently, we then can understand that they approach life to meet their own
behavioral needs. When we develop a respect and appreciation for our differences,
we will begin to realize that different does not equal wrong; it just equals different.
We can celebrate our own uniqueness and the uniqueness of each person in our
personal and professional life.