Hello, I'm changing employers and having been requesting feedback from current colleagues. A surprising but consistent comment is that I can be intimidating. I'd appreciate any actionable advice on how to deal with this as I completely do not want to be that kind of person.

I'm a publishing operations manager and the majority of the work is change leadership to leverage professional project management and analytics in transition to increasingly digital product. I've been told that two things are playing against me. One is that I come across as having conviction from a firm grasp of the subject matter and two, my audiences are often insecure in their own relationship to the new processes and technologies. The combination is evidently intimidating.

Thankfully not in a loud, bullying way, but more like, "You seem so in control of the details that others are afraid to ask questions." Maybe. But another, very serious, comment is that my body language can be such that it's rarely unclear what I'm thinking. I also find myself feeling very impatient with others who I perceive to be intellectually lazy. Yeah, probably I broadcast that. 

On the one hand, it can't be too terrible as I'm doing ok progression-wise. But letting those emotions, presentation style, whatever, get in the way is totally not what I want. And honestly, I do like people and try to be sensitive to their perspective and incentives. I'm not a Vulcan science guy, I'm an educational professional who happens to love the details of how computers and projects work. I'm sorry to realize that I'm probably a worse teacher for this-- a common adjective can be "professiorial", which isn't quite the best.

I just took the DISC and graded me as a "Promoter" and did highlight some of these concerns, like the dangerous interplay of high standards and seeming self-righteousness or combining being fidgety, discontented and critical. To me these behaviours come from always wanting to achieve the best and I hold myself to these standards too. But any specific advice on how to avoid the negatives would be very appreciated!

Thank you.



tlhausmann's picture
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Refer to "How to Use the Disc To Be More Effective Every Day" cheat sheet.

To achieve the results you Mark, Mike, Wendii, and Dani, convey in the must communicate in a way that others understand you. PM me if you wish to discuss further offline.

Kevin1's picture

Hi there,

I find that the The High X Manager Simple Downfall (DiSC) series is incredibly good at highlighting where our natural tendencies cause us to appear less than collaborative with our peers, customers, etc.

The Promoter seems to be High I, Moderate D, and from here you appear to be getting much of your described impatience.  There are lots of tips in these casts for slowing down, and giving others the time they need to catch up.  If you are far more knowledgeable than those you are talking to, then slowing down for them seems to be something critical to your success.  

You may also want to review the casts on Disagreement.  I say this because if you are being labelled as intimidating, then you may be engaging in behaviours such as aggressively stating the one true answer and appearing to be closed to any other possibilities, ideas or alternatives (this is just speculation as to the behaviour that is causing the label).   Casts like 'How to disagree in Public' are great for helping with phrasing points of view in less threatening terms.

Also a complete guess at another behaviour that may be contributing.  Have you listened to 'And not But'?  It is also really good for reducing the 'superiority' in your communication and allowing others to feel included in the outcomes.

Hope that helps.

Kind regards


mike_bruns_99's picture
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In addition to the excellent advice above, "The Effective Relationship" series will give you excellent guidence.

Listen to the "I am a D, my direct is an S" podcast.  This episode was released for free late last year.  The entire series is a bargain for the money.   

rgammon's picture

Thank you for the quick responses! There's a lot here. I've been listening to MT for several years but hadn't dug into the site for quite a while. I've come back as part of my "First 90" prep for a new opportunity and wow, there's a lot of great stuff here. You in the community are clearly a big part of that. Thank you for the good leads!