How have you learned to iSC your way to compromises? How do you avoid being perceived as a bull in a china shop? How do you temper your results oriented behavior?

- poncho

trandell's picture

For me (7-3-2-3) the key was developing my self-awareness and self-control. I used to react too quickly to people and situations. That left people feeling I did not really listen. Now I intentionally pause when in conversation or when considering a situation so I can get my brain caught up with my mouth and I am a better communicator and decision maker for it.

People know I am all about results, but I stopped having to beat them over the head with that. The recent "Urgency" podcasts were very helpful to me. Setting clear deadlines and following up on them makes it clear I want to see results without being a jerk about it.

When it comes to perception, you have to remember it is formed by what you are displaying. Keep the dark side of your D in check and use the power of the D to your advantage. Show people the strong, results-oriented, leader you want to be seen as.

fcch_mngtools's picture


I think I'm a "D". When I start up with new teams (projects) or especially when I change offices or companies, I explain to the group how I work.

I also explain that I don't expect them to (always) work the same way.

The BIGGEST problem I had when I started working was that people felt that they couldn't approach me. Well, .. they know that they can't when I'm moving through the office, but that they can at almost ANY time when I'm in my office.

To help this, I also arrange my office in a certain way (sounds dumb eh?).

Well, think about it. If you expect the crew to come in and exchange with you, how does your office arrangement facilitate (or turn off) people? I don't sit back in the office with the main bureau looking like a physical barrier between me and "visitors".

Anyway, ... back to you question. Communication and body language. I slow down, my movements, my speech, ... even how fast I walk. The team quickly picked up on all these subtle signs and know when they could/should approach me and when they feel more comfortable standing back a bit.

I'm a bit famous for doing the 5 minute standup and opening with "Ok folks,... Today we will be a bit exciting :twisted: "

Mark's picture

I put my hands in my trousers pockets some times.

Gentlemen aren't supposed to do this, so it's hard for me... but it keeps my hands from waving, and pointing, and stabbing, and invading others' space.. and it's become an anchor for me to ease off and cool down and listen.

I once shared this with a High D manager and he wrote me a note that the 5 minutes we spent together (him learning about trouser pockets) was more valuable than the last 2 years of professional development he had.

Works like a charm.

It's all about adaptability, no matter what your default is!


trandell's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]I put my hands in my trousers pockets some times.[/quote]

That is a great tip I need to try.

I like this variation on the "count to ten" idea from


Mark's picture

That's great, but no true D is ever gonna get to 10.



poncho_57's picture

No true D is right. I can hear my internal dialogue now. How did the count to 10 thing go? Close the mouth. Breathe. Oh the heck with it this meeting is getting too far off topic. Open mouth and ... bull in a china shop.

Just teasing:) Thanks for the tip. I'll try it next time.

Breathing silently,
- poncho

juliahhavener's picture


The hardest lesson I have learned in life (and the one that has served me best) is to pick my battles wisely. I have erred in this, and really have to just stomp on my tongue on occassion, but I've found it incredibly valuable.

The reality is that many of the things that annoy the hell out of me are really, truly, and utterly irrelevant to effectiveness. If I stomp on it long enough to get out of hearing range, or take it to mind-chatter, I can survive the bleeding tongue long enough to get past it. Sometimes this takes longer than others. It's just terribly important that you not allow the annoying little things keep you from solving the true issues.

If it's important, I'll at least be able to address it tomorrow (or later today) without creating more problems than I solve. I'm almost hyper-sensitive to how other people may or may not perceive me these days.

poncho_57's picture

I appreciate the insights about your approach. I recently became more aware of how I was being perceived. I've responded by making some changes to my intensity level. Stomping on your tongue is a very colorful description. It really feels that way to me at times.

Some advice I received regarding how to deal with frustration in meetings:

Remove your consciousness from the here and now. If you are in a meeting, try to picture the room from the ceiling. Like a security camera. Looking down, survey your body language. Survey the body language of others in the room. Turn up the volume and listen intently to the speaker.

This tip works for me. I think it works because:
1. I get distracted a bit while I visualize the room from the ceiling. This prevents me from interupting.
2. Looking down on the room puts everything in a big picture context.
3. Awareness of my body language and that of others relay the undercurrents of my peers.

Has anyone ever heard of/used this technique?

juliahhavener's picture

I haven't heard of it before, but I [i]like[/i] it. I will have to try that the next time I have a Day o' Meetings (like today).

mauzenne's picture

I've found that I can be more effective by setting a goal that is somewhat out of character ... building a relationship. So while my natural tendency to be direct (abrupt) and driven (impatient) is moderated a bit by my self-imposed objective of building a relationship.

I've also found that this is only effective for me if I set a goal to build a relationship with a *specific* person. A broader objective of "building relationships" doesn't engage my brain quite as well. And then, of course, I engage my normal High D behavior.

Mark's picture

The best High D moderation technique I know of is to shut up. I use this all the time, and it's quite helpful. ;-)

Marshall Goldsmith says to watch the room and turn the volume DOWN... and that works very well for me also.

You don't have to become perfect overnight. Just stop pissing people off by cutting them off, starting with, "Yes, but", or not even acknowldging their comments.

Smiling is good, too.

Mark, who works at this stuff a LOT.

juliahhavener's picture

Hey, Mark?

Nice to have you home.

fcch_mngtools's picture

Ah ... the infamous "Yes, ... BUT".

In my office, ... for a scheduled meeting (be it a stand-up or a monthly sitrep), you must PAY 1$ per MINUTE that you are late.

I also have folks pay 10¢ everytime they say "BUT" in a departement meeting.

(it all goes to the social club)

quenfis's picture

During my last counseling session with an employee, I used the Shut Up and Smile routine. It was tough at first, I was a bit crawling in my skin towards the beginning. By the end of the session, I could tell that the employee felt much more at ease with the situation. He was also much more receptive to the behavior changes he needed to make in order to remain in good standing with the company.

My boss mentioned that he overheard the employee tell another that it was like a different person in the meeting (referring to me). He wasn't sure what the change was exactly. He just knew that it was a lot different than our other encounters.

So MT is working for me thus far. I felt a lot less stress after that meeting, and didn't wander home with that feeling of, "I shouldn't have said that."

Steve Howell's picture

I find shutting up works some of the time, but it depends on the speaker. Having practiced a bit I find that I am able to listen to nearly all of someone's speech without my internal dialog drowining them out entirely.

If I find it too difficult I lean forward and fix my eyes on the bridge of the speaker's nose then let my internal dialog rant on on whatever topic it wants to. I tune back in when the speaker stops. I can usually keep up with the drift of the conversation. Works particuarly well on my high I directs. They get to expound all they want and I get to think out my next strategy for getting better results.

I still need saving from my high S's though, they seem to need 2 way interaction, and get very concerned if I stop talking.

I have had some success with high C's, they usually make their point and just sit quietly - unless they are reporting on some data they have gathered, in which case when I notice my high I's starting to glaze over I know its time to give up listening and bring the conversation to a close!

rwwh's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]I put my hands in my trousers pockets some times.[/quote]

I'll keep that one in mind when I see people ducking for cover as soon as I start speaking.

Mark's picture

Glad to be back. We have...demanding... clients.

I will be blogging about Marshall Goldsmith's FABULOUS new book soon, "What Got You Here Won't Get You There". In it, Marshall says that sometimes all we need to do to get a lot better faster is to stop doing whatever it is that doesn't work.

For a High D, that's yelling, or cutting someone off.

But lots of folks miss that EVERYONE else has their own weaknesses, too. High D's errors are just NOISY.

High I's need to slow down and get their data right before promising the moon.

High S's Need to speak the hell up.

High C's need to take a risk.

If any of these things seem hard or impossible to do, you're looking in a mirror.


Mark's picture

Thanks Julia.

And if anyone wants a laugh on me, consider this: I was reading Mike's post about focusing on [b]specific [/b]relationships, and I thought, "Wow, good thought, I need to reinforce that for the D's.. who said that?"




juliahhavener's picture


Classic. What is that, all go, no slow?