Driving to work, I could feel the knot in my stomach begin to tighten. I had to work with Dwight (not his real name) that day. Just the thought of working with Dwight sent anxiety through my mind and body. Dwight had a personality oriented toward dominance; he seemed like a bully to me. He was so forceful in his opinions that I thought Dwight was just rude. Besides that, Dwight always questioned my projects and ideas. Dwight was in a position to make things go well or badly for me – I rarely felt like I had Dwight’s support.
We had a difficult time working together. Actually, I had a difficult time working with Dwight. I’m pretty sure that from Dwight’s perspective everything was just fine. After all, Dwight always found a way to get what he wanted!
That all changed in a moment when we faced the untimely passing of a mutual friend. We talked freely about our friend, our experiences with him, and our respect and affection for him. I discovered a compassionate side to Dwight that I’d never experienced before. Somehow, Dwight came to view me as someone he should take seriously.
In this shared experience, we found a new way to connect with each other through our differences. From that day, our working relationship changed. Dwight became more friendly toward me and more supportive of my work. Likewise, I gained a new respect for Dwight’s competence, insight, and ability to get things done.
Now, I am not suggesting that to work effectively with Dominance personalities a traumatic experience is required. I am asserting, however, that you must find a way to connect through your differences.
Why You Need to Work Well with Dominance Personalities
It’s important to work well with Dominance personalities because they are likely to be supervisors and bosses! If not supervisor or boss, they are likely to be in positions of influence within your organization. Achieving positions of authority, power, and influence come naturally to Dominance personalities. In fact, others often consider Dominance personalities as “natural” leaders or “born” leaders. What causes others to defer to dominance personalities as leaders?