Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This Employee Won't Have Anything To Do with Me

If you’ve ever been to one of our Emergenetics’ workshops, you will often here me say that not everyone thinks like you. Yes, as human beings, although we are predictable in so many ways, we are indeed different. That is why I continue to be intrigued by those who are offended when someone does not speak to them. One person told me that he sees his co-worker everyday and that particular co-worker rarely speaks to him and if they do it’s very a short exchange. The person went on to tell me that it is common decency to speak to other people.

Before going forward, allow me to point out that everything I say in this paragraph, I want to preface by using the phrase, “Typically, but not always.” Because a person may fit the mode of having a particular characteristic or two or three, they may not use these characteristics everyday or all-day long. Therefore, a Third-Third Expressive, typically but not always, is a person who has behavioral characteristics that are gregarious and that of being a performer. And on the other hand, a First-Third Expressive, typically, but not always, is a person who is quiet and likes being alone.

Steve is a manager in the Business Development Department. He has worked in the department for nearly five years. Steve comes to work most everyday in a cheerful mood. He can be seen walking the halls speaking to everyone. He enjoys visiting employees in their offices to discuss their weekends, their kids, world events or whatever interests them. In meetings, he listens to everyone. He also talks and talks and talks—sometimes endlessly. But he doesn’t mean any harm. It’s just the way he is. He considers himself a friendly guy as do his co-workers. Behaviorally, Steve is a Third-Third Expressive.

Timothy is a supervisor in the Business Development Department. He has been with the department for less than two months. On Sunday afternoons, Timothy plans the first three days of his work week, so when he arrives at his office, he knows exactly what he wants to accomplish and he’s ready to work. Timothy usually arrives at meetings about five minutes ahead of time, sits quietly, and studiously takes notes. Timothy is a friendly employee. He speaks to everyone but only when spoken to. Some of his co-workers consider Timothy to be shy and occasionally rude. He doesn’t necessarily like being disturbed when he’s in his office and actually working, but he loves his job, his manager, and his co-workers. Timothy is a First-Third Expressive.

One day Steve passed Timothy in the hallway and gleefully spoke to him in his usual outgoing manner. Timothy nodded his head, smiled, and continued walking. This wasn’t unusual, Steve thought, as the two gentlemen went about their business. He’d noticed this in Timothy’s behavior before. A couple of days later while eating lunch in the break room, Steve asked Timothy about the two of them getting together for lunch one day soon. Timothy respectfully demurred but in a gentle manner. Steve noticed that this was the fourth time the two men had been in the same room together and Timothy didn’t say much or anything at all. This bothered Steve as he began to get a little upset. He wondered to himself why Timothy didn’t want to have anything to do with him. Steve even made a statement to someone in his peer group that “it should be common decency for Timothy to have lunch with him.”

As you can see, Steve became increasingly agitated by Timothy’s behavior. It would help Steve if he became more self-aware. I’m going to say “more” because I’m giving give him the benefit of the doubt that he already has some level self-awareness. Steve needs to understand that, although we, as human beings, are predictable, we are also distinctly different. Timothy’s behavior is typical of a person who is a First-Third Expressive. As much as he doesn’t mind one-on-one conversations, it’s going to take him sometime to feel comfortable with Steve. He doesn’t mean any harm. It’s just not in his DNA to socialize.

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