Have you interviewed for a job lately?
If you’re like a lot of my friends, the answer is yes.
And you’re probably been hit by the same question that most hiring managers ask: “Tell me a little about yourself.”
Ah. The big one. Where to begin?
When I’m hiring someone, one of the most important things I want to know is what that person’s work style is. How do they behave with groups? Under pressure? Left to their own devices, where would they start in a project?
You come up with the big idea—the party theme, the reason for having it.
You get everyone excited—call your friends, get people on board
You make it happen—call the caterer, the DJ
You make sure it works—check to be sure you bought ice, vet the DJ’s playlist to be sure it’s not lame.
If you could only pick one of these, which would you most like to do? Which would you be least likely to do? This is the type of question I ask to try to assess a work style.
The question of styles is answered by dozens of frameworks, including Meyers-Briggs, Kolbe, the Predictive Index, DiSC … the list goes on. My favorite, by far, is taught by aPriori International and my friend (and kickass coach) Travis Carson. It’s called Market Force.
In Market Force parlance, I’m an Influence. (I’d pick number two on the list above). Here’s what they’d have to say about me:
“The Influence is one of the easiest styles to pinpoint because they’ll be the antsy one at the end of the conference table, itching to end the meeting and talk about what happened in the game last night, especially if the meeting is dragging on. It’s not that the Influence doesn’t pay attention or is lackadaisical, they just have a lot of energy.”
Ha! Energy. My mother often tells people that when I was little, she’d just put her head in her hands and cry because I was such a busy little kid, she just couldn’t entertain me or keep up with me. But all that energy turned out to be a gift. She even goes so far as to tell harried parents of overactive kids, “Don’t worry, my daughter was worse! And she turned out OK.”
Here’s a bit more: “You’ll need to get them to focus that energy on a project. In doing so, watch for the Influence to go at it from a relationship perspective. They like team and social environments because that is what keeps them motivated.”
Right again. Take the people, the interaction, out of the project and you’ve taken most of the fun out of it for me.
More: “The Influence can take a project and run with it, and usually can do so without a lot of details. They use their energy to figure it out and are certainly ‘commit first, then figure it out’ types. If you want a project to get off the ground as soon as possible, hand it to an Influence.”
Yep, there’s the Firestarter in me. I make things GO.
But it’s good and bad: “Something to consider about the Influence is their propensity to over-task themselves. When they do, the response is to retreat and subsequently, neglect the request. Although cognizant of it, they’ll use their sharp verbal skills and, aptly enough, influence, to find their way out of a tight spot. They want to work fast and have no problem letting the discussion drift off into disparate subjects. Keep them focused but make sure they’re having fun and are in action as often as possible.”
You know what makes Influences crazy? Slow drivers. You know what makes us tick? Mood. We can smell it from a mile away. If the project’s not fun, if the mood is sour, we’re onto it and either working passionately to change it, or disengaged.
So, tell me about yourself.
Take fifteen minutes to figure out your own style (check out aPriori’s blog posts, mini-articles about each of those styles). I find that by learning more about my style and my natural reactions to stress and challenge, I’m more effective because I see the big picture—strengths, flaws and all. GO.