Who do you think you are?
We see people not as they are, but as we are.
When I was a child growing up one of the regular features of afternoon viewing involved answering the question: “Which Window would it be?”. It was a popular British children’s television series called Play School produced by the BBC, and pre-schoolers were presented with a film about everyday life and this was accessed by looking through a particular window.
When you think about it, we usually look at scenes of everyday life through our own windows, a view that is affected by our own culture and values. I was once standing with a friend of mine – I’ll call him Steve – at a social event, and we were generally chatting and catching up on life. Observing some friends that had just arrived he asked if I knew how they were, and said something I found quite curious at the time. He said, “don’t you get a vibe about them”. I remember replying that I must be a “vibe-free zone” as I didn’t get any vibes about them at all, and actually, I just wondered what he meant.
Last week I had the opportunity to explore a really helpful set of windows that explain so much of how people interact and misunderstand each other. I spent a few days with Dr Robert Rohm and his wife Alice along with several others that were interested in learning more about how personalities and behaviour styles can help to solve some “relationship puzzles” in life.
Dr Rohm runs an organisation called Personality Insights and his focus is on the DISC theory originally described by William Marston and further developed by Walter Clarke, which explores four different behavioural traits that were identified by Marston as dominance, inducement, submission, and compliance. These traits were based on the four combinations available from having an outgoing or reserved personality, and an inclination towards being task focused or people focussed.
Studies have shown that this model has credible scientific validity as a helpful psychometric instrument for understanding and getting to know people and their behaviour in interpersonal situations. It has also been seen to bring a very helpful insight into exploring different leadership methods and discovering which methods are more suitable for a variety of circumstances in order to help leaders to become more effective.
People who are both outgoing and task focussed are described as Dominant, people who are outgoing and people focussed are described as Inspiring, people that are reserved and people focussed are described as Supportive, and people that are reserved and task focussed are described as Cautious. Of course in the real world, all of us exhibit some combination of several of these behavioural traits, and this model gives us a really helpful way of exploring that.
The more you think about the model and the people that you know, the more it starts to help to understand what drives people’s behaviour. Dr Rohm puts it this way: “It makes sense to check out the airspace you’re flying in to.” When discussing these behaviour characteristics people seem to immediately come to mind, and then that “aha” moment comes along and with “so that’s why they acted like that”.
In fact, Dr Rohm explains that he was first introduced to the model when trying to understand the difficulty he had relating to his 12-year-old daughter, and since then has become an enthusiast in sharing the model with others around the world. He has developed several really useful ways of sharing the model and using it to help understand how and why people respond the way they do.
I came away from the visit with some really useful insights into my own behaviour and that of those I love, and of the those I come into contact with both socially and at work too. In fact, it provides a great way to help understand people and to related to them in a more meaningful way.
It helped me see why I came to consider myself as being a “vibe free zone” when I was chatting with that friend who described our mutual friends saying “don’t you get a vibe about them”. He had a very high S personality and to him, the vibe was plain as day, whereas for me it was more difficult to see. Now I know!
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.
He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.