Thrusting

We had a department offsite yesterday. A lot of it was about team bonding and working better together, which was informed by some testing each of us was required to do leading into it.

I’ve done a million tests like this in the past. I must have done the Myers-Briggs half a dozen times alone, but there’s a wide variety of alternatives to it. This test was designed to figure out your team management profile – basically, what your work style and personality is, and how it interacts with other roles.

For the record, I was classified as a thruster, which I joked also happened to be my Tinder tag. You have secondary and related roles. Generally, all roles are related – represented on a wheel, the segments would be neighbours. That wasn’t the case for me, and I had a what they call a ‘split wheel’ profile.

My primary was Thruster-Organiser, which basically is analytical and driven and likes variety in their role. It’s probably the most upfront of all the roles. My secondary was on the opposite side of the wheel – Creator-Innovator. It is, as it suggests, a role that likes to find innovative solutions. My final related role was Assessor-Developer, which is a role that maps out and executes.

The test took me about ten minutes to complete, and I wondered how accurate it would be considering its comparative brevity. Reading the profile, however, I was surprised at how much I recognised in myself – and which others did, also. (For the record, I’m an INTJ for Myers-Briggs, though borderline I/E).

There were 39 people in attendance yesterday across the Digital Marketing team. We had to complete a variety of tests as teams to explore and understand the different working styles. It was interesting but surprisingly exhausting – though nice to out of the office for a change.

At the end of the day off we went to a nearby bar for drinks and casual discussion. I was finishing off my second beer when a woman approached me. She was one of the management team and experienced exactly the same thing late last year. Yesterday she was one of the observers, tasked to look in and watch the teams in operation.

I suspect she’d had a couple of chardy’s by the time she got to me. “You,” she said provocatively, “were my big surprise today.”

I possibly arched an eyebrow at that. I don’t really know the woman and our work doesn’t overlap. I knew as little about her as she did about me – except she’d had the opportunity to observe me in action earlier in the day.

She reminded me how she had been an observer for one of the team tasks I’d been involved with. “You were great,” she said, and while it was nice, I had an internal shrug of the shoulders. I recalled the activity she spoke of, which echoed most of the other activities I took part in. I was analytical and logical and, true to my proscribed role, tried to break the task down and organise it into rational parcels of work.

Because that’s how I see things, it means I’m often much more pro-active and decisive than many others, who have other attributes. My attributes are ideally suited to leading something like that, but others have attributes better suited to components of it. In the past, I’ve often found myself taking the lead to the point now that I restrain myself because I don’t think that’s the object of the exercise. I say my piece and try to guide and suggest, but I don’t take over – and every time think after how much more efficient it might have been had I done it all myself (another signpost in my profile – like to do things my way; I’ll figure things out alone and tell people after).

So she told me I was great as if it was news to her and I thought, great but, y’know, it’s not news to me – I’ve been great for twenty years.

I didn’t linger to carry on the conversation because I saw no point to it, but on the way home I thought about outside my boss no-one knows my background or what I’ve done in the past. Activities, like they set us today, were a piece of cake because they’re well within a set of capabilities that have been tested at the highest level over a long period of time. That’s who I really am, and if anyone knew then, no-one would be surprised.

There was a corollary to this. I was surprised to find in the course of the testing that I rated highest for creativity. I know I’m creative, but on the scale, it sits on I now I’m quite proficient on the other side of it (Practical).

But then I have all these ideas, and I want to make them happen. I used to be very democratic with my ideas because I had so many of them, and all I cared about was that they are given life. My perspective has changed in recent times because others have re-branded my ideas as their own. And because I don’t have the luxury anymore of being democratic with them. I need them to leverage other opportunities, and I don’t want to give them away.

My boss, I think, sees me and my ideas as a bit of a meal ticket. He’s great – a very decent human being and extremely efficient at his job. He just grinds through the work and we make a good team. He’s not creative like me, though. He’s looking for things to execute, and I have the ideas and the systematic thinking to back them. He tells me to parley my ideas, and I’ll be rewarded for them. I respond by telling I’ve had two years’ worth of ideas (and an operational chatbot to my design) and that I should be rewarded now so that I can deploy these ideas from a position of greater authority.

I think there’ll be opportunities. I think the people I work with recognise what I’m capable of (and much more too, fellas), but I have to be strategic with my ideas now. I need the recognition for my creativity, and that needs to be parleyed into dollars and position sooner rather than later.

I’m not giving things away anymore. Time to thrust.

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