Change is Personal

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We have recently experienced an enormous amount of change in a relatively short period of time.  Did you know your subconscious mind is programmed to resist change, to see change as dangerous or a threat?  While your body is hard-wired to fight these transformational moments, change can be further challenged by your unique personality.

Let us consider working from home as an example; especially since many offices are proposing a permanent change to this model.

My daughter commuted 45 minutes and spent her working day at a desk, in a large corporate building.  She was surrounded by people. Suddenly she is re-established in a home-based office with little time to prepare for the significant adjustment.  Just the other day her manager commented on how quickly she has adapted to the shift.  A colleague, on the other hand, wakes up with good intentions but finds her day quickly gets away from her, without accomplishing the full list of tasks she had committed to.

Why is one individual adjusting so much differently than the other? How can knowing our temperament assist us with change? 

How many personality types are there?

Any personality assessment tool can be narrowed down to four categories.  Even Myers Briggs, with 16 personality results, can be narrowed down to 4 categories.  While we have all 4 descriptors within us there will be one dominant category, for some people two, which will drive every decision made.  Your dominant personality type dictates your motivators, stressors, how you handle change and personal success.

For the sake of this article I will refer to the 4 personalities as Inquiring Green, Resourceful Orange, Organized Gold, and Authentic Blue.  Knowing which colour is in the driver’s seat does not make your personality type superior or better than another’s.  It does, however, help you to make decisions which are in your best interest.  When it comes to change, knowing your driving colour allows you to: understand your triggers; identify where your stress may be coming from; help you to increase your tolerance; and provide you with an opportunity to tap into your own innate strength. 

Inquiring personality types do not like surprises! 

Inquiring Greens are driven by competence, their own and that of others, and are affected by time required to process decisions needing to be made.  Inquiring personalities may struggle with a quick move to a homebased office because they do not feel they have had adequate time to process or to prepare for this move, to weigh in on all of the options, in order to maintain their current level of performance.

Signs an Inquiring personality may be struggling with change include:

  • indecisiveness
  • uncooperativeness
  • aloofness, sarcasm, and a refusal to communicate (slow to respond)
  • critical of themselves (perfectionism) and others 

As a manager you can support your Inquiry personalities by providing:

  • give them time to adjust to their new routine and find the opportunities which lay within
  • a chance for them to find their own solutions to any challenges which arise
  • clear expectations, with high expectations of quality
  • trust in their ability to figure this out
  • continued support (if they had a support team in the office continue to offer this support personnel)

Inquiring personalities thrive with personal autonomy and in a very short period of time they will create their own structure.

Resourceful personality types thrive on variety and freedom 

While Resourceful Oranges do not intentionally break the rules, they are not bound by the same restrictions many of us face.  They adapt quickly to crisis and change and are motivated by the excitement of unpredictability.  Resourceful personalities welcome the freedom from a structured workplace environment.

Signs a Resourceful personality may be struggling with change include:

  • rudeness, defiance, or lying
  • breaking the rules intentionally
  • becoming physically aggressive
  • abuse of stimulants

As a manager you can support your Resourceful personalities by providing:

  • the freedom to action; AVOID micro-management
  • provide competitive challenges, with tangible rewards
  • keep the lines of communication open
  • provide clear outcomes and deadlines to be followed

Resourceful personalities thrive when given the freedom to create a flexible schedule.  They do not spend a lot of time thinking about change they just do it and in a very short period of time they will create their own structure! 

Organized personality types need structure and familiarity 

Organized Golds are individuals who need clear and organizational compartments for all areas of their life; experiencing stress when faced with unpredictability.  They thrive on structure and familiarity and a home-based office sees their worlds colliding.  Organized personalities find themselves in conflict and under stress as they strive to balance work and home from the same space.

Signs an Organized personality may be struggling with change include:

  • anxiety and worry
  • psychosomatic problems
  • complaining and feeling sorry for themselves
  • judgments about self and others 

As a manager you can support your Organized personalities by providing:

  • structure and support to set up their home-based office
  • time to adjust; clearly explaining the benefits of the proposed change
  • direction and permission to govern company policy themselves
  • permission to adhere to a predictable workday
  • tasks and tangible rewards for achieving goals in a timely manner

Organized personalities will struggle the most with this change.  They are conservative and thrive when things remain unchanged.  They will find their way. However, they will need time to create their own sense of structure; dictated by clocks and planners.  Schedules will allow them to separate their work from family.

They will need to maintain contact with the office as they reconstruct a sense of purpose within these new confines.  Online meetings, timelines, and notes of appreciation will go far in keeping your Organized employees focused and on task. 

Authentic personality types need to maintain relationships 

Authentic Blues are flexible and adaptable but it is important to remember they are driven by relationships and connection to others.  Much like the Resourceful type, Authentic personalities intuitively, and creatively, adapt to change and can be leaders when it comes to supporting others through the change.

Signs an Authentic personality may be struggling with change include:

  • withdrawing, daydreaming, and trancing out
  • passive resistance, and attention-getting behaviour
  • lying to save face
  • a range of emotions from crying to screaming

As a manager you can support your Authentic personalities by providing:

  • the freedom of action; they thrive with personal autonomy
  • provide support and recognition throughout the change
  • keep the lines of communication open
  • recognize their contributions with individualized incentives

Authentic personalities thrive in just about any situation.  While they can appear hesitant at first, they quickly can see the importance and rally around the change. They need to maintain external contact with others via text messages, phone, email, virtual meetings, and thrive with token communications such as cards and notes. 

It takes all 4 personality types to create an effective team.  The Inquiring Greens bring vision, research, and systems; the Resourceful Oranges simply get things done and move things forward; the Organized Golds provide structure for the other colours and are the backbone of any organization; and finally it is your Authentic Blues who build your team and cheer the other personalities on to the finish line.

With the possibility of offices permanently moving their employees to work from home it is more important than ever to understand your team, their individual needs, and each individual’s possible struggles. Providing outstanding, personalized support, for your employees, is essential to meeting and exceeding organizational goals.  Why?  Because when you meet the needs of your employees the bottom line takes care of itself.

Tammy Adams, Certified Coach Practitioner and is a Certified Personality Dimensions Facilitator, offering support, in-person or online, Canada-wide.

To learn more about the personality assessment she mentions in her article book a 20 minute free phone consult with Tammy Adams, Learn more at