Over the years I have attended a number of workshops identifying various personalities and their communication styles in an effort to improve the way employees work together in the business environment. The first one was fascinating as well as entertaining.
We were given a list of questions with multiple choice answers. Each question and answer held a point value in its unique category. Once we answered all our questions, we plotted the results in four quadrants to come up with our “primary drivers.” Our instructor requested a show of hands for those scoring highest in each category; Driver, Cheerleader, Supporter, Thinker, then asked us to move to a table designated for our primary personality trait. This is where it got interesting. Each table was told to work together to come up with ideas to build better communication and teamwork with a segment of our company we all interact with. We were tasked with creating a presentation for the room summarizing our ideas over the next 45 minutes.
The room was buzzing with activity and at one table the team was laughing and having such a good time that you had to wonder if they were getting anything done. When the facilitator called time, he asked everyone to note how much fun the Cheerleaders, who finished early, were having. He held up their presentation showing us the abundance of color and smiley faces adorning their work. He then drew our attention to the Driver’s table where a subtle power struggle was ensuing over who would present their very polished and professional list of specific recommendations to be implemented. Next he held up the Supporters presentation. Their list of ideas contained many gentle and considerate thoughts that began with “ask them if they’ll please” and “thank them when they” phrases. He asked us to note how concerned this group was with the department’s feelings, not wanting to offend them. Lastly he turned to the Thinkers who had spent the allotted time quietly discussing each other’s input, weighing and analyzing the validity of each item in preparation for assembling them in order of importance. They were nowhere near ready to offer a presentation.
Everyone in that room was a valued employee whose talents and gifts were key to our success. I’m sure there were some who were embarrassed by some of the traits that came along with their personality style when compared to others. The point was that removing the balance and isolating us with others who shared our talents limited the results. The same is true in our personal lives. When we start comparing ourselves with others we risk becoming puffed up and full of ourselves, particularly if we are choosing an area of our strength or gifts. What seems to be more common to me is the opposite – people feeling inferior because they don’t measure up in every area.
That first seminar and the ones that followed, as well as the multitude of books on the subject must be a result of the wisdom gleaned from Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth back in 55 AD, which says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 1 Corinthians 12:5-11
So, any time I feel like I don’t measure up or question whether I have anything worthwhile to contribute, I hope I’ll hold onto Psalm 139:13-16, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because!e I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
Who am I to question or second guess God- who created me to be who I am? I vote that we all exercise the talents and gifts that energize us. By trusting God’s equipping we can activate our gifts, motivating and encouraging us to make a difference, thereby glorifying God!