Priorities at Work: Yours Aren’t Mine!

prioritiesWhy do you approach your work a certain way? Why do co-workers approach work in ways that seem counter-productive to you? Our approach to work is guided by our personal priorities. Each person has priorities that rise to the forefront in thinking and behavior.

We find it easier to work with co-workers who share our priorities. After all, “they get it!” We may find it challenging and sometimes unpleasant to work with colleagues whose priorities differ from our own: “They just don’t get it!” If we had a way to better communicate our priorities to others and to better respond to the priorities of our co-workers, it would make our workplaces better! Communication would flow more freely and helpfully, productivity would increase, and people would be more fulfilled in their work. All of this would most certainly lead to a better financial bottom line. So let’s take a look at how to communicate better so that our workplaces and work outcomes are improved.

Priorities at Work: DiSC Helps

At WellSpirit Consulting we use DiSC concepts and self-assessment tools  to help our clients understand priorities at work. In DISC, there are four primary emotions and behavioral responses: Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C). Everyone exhibits a primary style, and usually has attributes of the others to a lesser degree. These self-assessed styles are simply ways to articulate your preferences—not a label or cookie-cutter type of description that puts you in a box. “D” people prefer results, action, and challenge. “I” people prefer enthusiasm, action and collaboration. “S” people prefer support, stability, and teamwork. “C” people prefer analysis, accuracy, and challenging assumptions.

Observe your own behaviors. Where would you generally place yourself: D, I, S, or C? Next observe your co-workers. Where would you place each: D, I, S, or C? After you determine your priorities and get a general idea of the priorities of your co-workers, ask yourself, “How can I adjust my behaviors to better appreciate and support the priorities of my co-workers to achieve our common goals?” Then ask yourself, “How can I better communicate my priorities to my co-workers so they can appreciate and support how my priorities help us achieve our common goals?”

Priorities at Work: Know Yours, Honor Theirs

Finally, relate to your co-workers based on the new perspective that you gained from observing and adjusting. It may be uncomfortable at first. After all, you are modeling a way of interaction that appreciates and supports the priorities of others—not just yourself. This is leadership that cares for others—a true expression of collaborative work and team approach. The next time you have the opportunity to participate in a DiSC workshop, remember that as you become more self-aware through articulating your preferences and priorities, you are gaining skills to be a better communicator to those who are not like you. You are actually learning to lead others to better results and the company or organization to a better bottom line.

About the Author

ReneeDr. Renée N. Hale is Lead Consultant at WellSpirit Consulting Group, Inc. WellSpirit Management Consulting provides custom company/organizational management solutions, individual leadership coaching and stand alone workshops.  Located on the 84th floor of the Willis Tower, Chicago. Call (312) 283-8020 to schedule an appointment today. To join the Business Worth Living  community, use the sign-up form on this page to receive our weekly Business Worth Living newsletter.