Management in my company makes meel feel like in order to move up the ladder, or even around, it's not what you know, but who you know.

I feel that I'm a type D based on what I've heard so far. My problem is that I'm not one for chit-chat. I'm there to work and I get my job done.

Any suggestions on how I can build my network if I'm not one for conversation? (I've been trying to use MT's suggestions for conversation, still need practice)


stephenbooth_uk's picture

DISC is about propensity, not about limitation. It's about how you act when you're not thinking about how you're acting. Just because you're a high D doesn't mean that you can only display D type behaviours. Those might be the behaviours that come naturally to you but to be effective you need to display other behaviours as well. I would recommend taking a DISC test (I believe that M&M have recently started selling one again recently) to get a better idea of how High and D you are any where you on your i, S and C.

Unfortunately, it's hard work. I'm a High C/High D and additionally have a disability (Dyspraxia, a family of disabilities with similar symptoms) that is known to impact social skills (difficulty reading body language and subtle physical and verbal cues plus physical contact (e.g. a handshake) being anything from mildly uncomfortable to actually painful). By knowing the issues I have in the more social and people focused (High-I/High-S) areas of my life I have made myself deliberately try to display the behaviours that are more focused on developing my people/social skills. It's hard, but it seems to be working. One of the hardest things for me has always been not interrupting people, I've thought they were finished when in fact they'd just paused for breath or to frame what they're going to say next. The only way I've found to prevent this is to, when I think they've stopped, recite a US army marching cadence ("Cindy, Cindy, Cindy Lou, Love my rifle more than you. You used to be my beauty queen, now I love my M16", I read it in a book and found it amusing so it stuck in my memory) in my head which gives a 1.5 to 2 second delay in which time, if they just paused, they've started speaking again but if they haven't then I'm clear.

Maybe you need to force yourself to 'chit-chat'? The first time will probably feel horrible and you'll probably think you came across as an idiot but start small and build on it. Maybe take up a hobby that will force you to communicate with others? A number of people here have mentioned Toastmasters as a good way to improve speaking and listening skills, they might be an option for you. Perhaps take a language evening class, that way you have to talk to people and you're learning a new language, or even a class in something like photography or wine tasting, something where you'll have opportunities to talk with people outside of a work environment. If you're so inclined, maybe volunteer to help out on a political campaign, forces you to talk to people and provides a good opportunity to network with people you wouldn't normally meet.

Have you listened to the casts on how to develop your network? As I recall there's some good advice in that; e.g. at an event if you see someone you don't know who is standing off to one side walk up to them, stick out your hand and say "Hi, I'm ... from ..." (the 'from ...' can be your company or home town, whichever you think is appropriate to the event). Hopefully they'll respond with their name and where they're from so you'll have at least the startings of a conversation and if you know anyone else there you can introduce them (a good ice breaker is to ask who else they know there).

It's hard work to act other than your natural inclination, but it can be rewarding and vital for success. Sorry, but if there's a short cut I don't know it.


US41's picture

[quote="thelowside"]Management in my company makes meel feel like in order to move up the ladder, or even around, it's not what you know, but who you know.[/quote]

Your company is not making you feel that way. It's just a fact that relationships are the key to success - not accomplishing tasks.

Try that podcast out for size. That's the one that started me down the path of using Manager Tools and becoming an MT Evangelist.

[quote]I feel that I'm a type D... I'm not one for chit-chat. I'm there to work and I get my job done. [/quote]

Maybe you are just kind of a high-D... just a little. Maybe.


Learn to chit chat. Chit chat is a behavior - a choice to listen to other people talk about things in which you might not have any interest. Learn to listen to them and learn about their personal lives.

Those two podcasts will teach you how to look like you are listening - which you should ACTUALLY be doing when people try to talk to you about stuff that isn't work. Make time to surf around the office and say "Hi!" to people. Get to know them. Learn their kids' names. Learn about their pets. Learn what college they went to. Make notes about them in Outlook. Review those notes before you engage them. Ask after the health of these people.

[quote]Any suggestions on how I can build my network if I'm not one for conversation? [/quote]

Consciously choose to become one for conversation. You might be a high-D, but you can push up the I within from a 1 to a 4 and get somewhere with people. Raise your eyebrows. Smile. Nod. Vary your vocal tone up and down.

Choose to care about the people instead of just the work.

This probably all sounds terribly harsh to I's and S's reading it, but since we are both D's, I'm probably speaking your language. Kick your own rear into gear and achieve the task of learning to manage your behavior to the needs of others instead of just yourself and success will fall in your lap.

To guys like us, the stuff that isn't work that people share sounds like "stupid stuff that comes out of people's faces who need to be fired for slacking off." That perspective is amusing to you and I. To 75% of the world, it's as if we are evil monsters who would burn the world to save a dime.

Listen to all of the members-only podcasts. (No need to wear a Members Only jacket and white sneakers).

Listen to the four DISC models one at a time (not just the D!!!!) Listen to the other types 3x each until you have them down. Then remember that it isn't about making them behave the way you want. It's about you changing your behavior for them. :-O

This is just another task. You can do this.

ccleveland's picture


ashdenver's picture

I'm a high D as well.

Since you're a performer, make yourself noticed that way. If you have an idea, write it down and pass it along to "those you should know" to see if it can be acted upon. The more you're able to show "those you should know" how talented you are, how well you know your schtuff, how effective you can be, they're more inclined to seek you out to ask for your input, to join committees (I know, ugh), to help solve problems. During the course of those activities, you can get to know these folks.

I would also suggest volunteering for things. Obviously social things are better -- the Halloween contest, the Christmas party planning -- but even product/project roll-outs are good too.

I have bat-ears - I can hear conversations from far distances, especially in the office. I hear people confused about something and I chime in with a suggestion or resolution. I hear people talking about dogs (my passion) and I chime in. I hear people talking about vacation (another passion) and I chime in. I haven't gone out for lunch with coworkers in months but I have a fairly high profile. Why? Cuz I seem to know lots and lots. I'm the go-to person when Tech Support is out. Tech Support directs folks my way. Even managers direct sales people to me to answer questions. It's this "I'm here to do my work and be darn good at it" that's gotten me noticed and socialized.

One other thing ... any time you have kudos to share (from external or internal sources), pass them along to your boss. Around here, when I do that, the boss replies to me with an "Atta girl" but copies the entire leadership team (ALL the senior management) which raises my profile as well.

When you learn new things, pass them along to your team and copy anyone else you think may benefit - even in other departments, on other teams - and include your manager. "Hey, I just found this neat work-around for the widget! I've posted it in the Share drive for future reference."

Unfortunately (!) this socializing and networking within the company is part of the job (if you want to ascend, that is.) If you're there to do your job/work, consider the socializing aspect another task to accomplish during the day.

Mark's picture
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US41 and Ash-



thelowside's picture

Thank you everyone for your replies. Although I've listened to 90% of the MT podcasts, I didn't feel the one about being in a stalled technical career applied. To my surprise, this is just what I needed!

Now onto my next problem.. Seems my name has been tossed around as being "highly promotable". When my manager brought me up in his team meeting with his boss, all the managers had good things to say, except for one person. This was a manager that I had a somewhat argument via e-mail (sad but true). He basically wanted me to do something that I knew would not work, and I resisted, and then after I did it, he found out I was right. But the way I went about it was probably less than desirable in his eyes. (We can call it a DISC conflict).

This was the first time I've interacted with him, and the last. I'd like to find a way to earn his respect and confidence so that when my name is brought up again, he feels differently about the type of person I am.

My boss told me this situation and said one thing I needed to work on was my communication style to upper management. Not the feedback I was desiring..

Thanks for your help!


WillDuke's picture
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The event with the manager has passed. Unless it was very recent, I don't think you'll get anywhere by resurrecting it.

Stick with what you're doing on Stalled technical career. Follow Ash and US41's tips. Focus on your communications. Pay attention to people's DISC profiles and communicate accordingly.

Do good work. Eventually that old anomalous event will be forgotten in the midst of all the current great work you're doing.

Mark's picture
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I disagree with Will.

Results rule, but it would be absolutely reasonable here to create a relationship with him by apologizing, and make time to get to know him. Relationships DO MATTER when it comes to promotions...and it's ALL that matters at the highest of levels.


WillDuke's picture
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I'm with you on the relationships Mark, but how far back would you go for the apology? If this was 2 years ago, would you? I was thinking that you wouldn't want to resurrect it if it was dead and gone.

I guess if it's still on that manager's mind, then it's still relevant.

I love learning! Thanks Mark!!!

bffranklin's picture
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I'm a firm believer that much like thank yous, it's never too late for an earnest apology.

WillDuke's picture
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I agree about earnest apologies. I learned a lot from M&M's cast on them. I used to do the "I'm sorry if..." thing. I don't do that anymore. I thought I was being clever. But as M&M say, I'm not that smart, and they're not that dumb. :)

Along the same line about them not being that dumb, my concern in this situation was that Chad's sincerity might be suspect with the apology coming much later down the road right after this manager's negative comments might interfere with Chad's promotion. Basically leaving the manager to wonder if Chad is just apologizing to get the job. I think Chad would just have to make sure to craft and deliver a very sincere apology.

Either way, I definitely agree that relationship work with the manager is definitely called for.

US41's picture

I don't know - I think it might depend on how he handles it. If he makes a simple apology without any fluff nonsense around it explaining himself, it will be better than no apology.

His choices:

(a) Apologize and have the other person wonder about his motives

(b) Not apologize and have the other person still ticked off

Choice (a) seems like the lowest risk to me.