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How do you not use your behavioral pattern as a crutch or an excuse?

This is a question that's floated around for a while, so wanted to bring it to this community.

As talent optimizers, we know tools like behavioral assessments can help us better understand our needs and drives in the workplace. They're meant to shed light on how we're kind of naturally wired so we can find the right job, better manage our interactions with others, and (for people managers) tailor how we manage people.

How do you address someone who uses their pattern as a crutch or an excuse? For example, someone who dominates a meeting and blames it on high dominance. Or someone who interrupts others' work with questions to talk something out and blames it on high extraversion. Or even making mistakes and blaming it on a low degree of formality.

Curious what your approach would be if this was your employee vs. your manager vs. a colleague, since those are each unique working relationships.


  • I think this is a great question and does actually happen. I love the Manager Development and Personal Development Reports. I think some of the self- coaching tips are "spot on". For example, I have a high "A" and one of my self-coaching tips (from the PI report) is to practice listening and consider how my message will be received before speaking.

    I think using some stories or scenarios about individuals who are self-aware can be a helpful during trainings. We also use a tag-line phrase that says "data not drama" - this gives us permission to say to an individual "Hey your high dominance keeps highjacking our meeting, can you adapt it down a little during these meetings." I have actually seen this work between two gentlemen and it was all about the data and not a personal insult.

    The self, others, and situational awareness is so vital and I think many times it takes several conversations / trainings before individuals really get it.

  • @[email protected] I really love that saying "data, not drama." And how your colleagues are able to use that awareness of high dominance, etc. to be able to say, "Hey, your high dominance is keeping us from having a productive meeting." That's so awesome you can do that, and I'm sure really helpful in keeping it from being personal (WHY YOU DO ALWAYS DO THIS, JOHN?!) by focusing on the data. :)

  • When companies are introducing PI to their business, the messaging by senior leadership on its use and benefits is key. Part of the messaging should encompass what the BA measures, and what it means in terms of behaviors and needs. Our natural behavioral style is neither good nor bad, but it may be appropriate or not to the situation at hand. If someone uses their BA as an excuse for behavior that is misaligned with the need of the situation, it presents a coaching opportunity for the manager and their employee. It might sound something like "I know that you're naturally inclined to be direct in your communication style, but this approach is not being well received by your direct reports, and is getting in the way of your team's success. Let's talk about the best approach/style based on the needs of your audience." This is a good opportunity to use the team workstyles, or the insights sheet to create self and situational awareness.

  • That first sentence is really key. If you witness your leadership using their behavioral pattern as a justification for bad behavior, then others will follow that lead. But if the leadership models appropriate usage of self-knowledge, it can have a dramatic affect on the rest of the org.

    Frankly, someone using any excuse for known, unproductive behavior rather than seeking to correct it is a problem.

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