Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What do people assume about you that would be wrong?

This is a loaded question, isn't it? I was just reading an article and the writer mentions this as the most difficult interview question ever.  The writer's answer was "Just because I'm nice people assume I'm a doormat."

The article had this to say:
What do people assume about me? I don't really know. So how could I say they were wrong? Should I admit I've never thought about that before and see if they would let me off the hook? Should I make something up that people might assume about me, or should I pick a terrible characteristic and deny it? No, that would be wrong because then I would be admitting that there is a reason why people would assume that. Yikes! This was an impossible trick question.
I think my answer would be along the lines of, "Just because I talk to people I don't know, and am a performer, it is assumed that I'm an extrovert."

Recently I took a Personality Assessment (Predictive Index) for work. "The test employs a free-choice (as opposed to forced-choice) response format, in which individuals are presented with two lists of descriptive adjectives, both containing 86 items, and are asked to endorse those which they feel describe them (the “self” domain), and then those which they feel coincide with how they feel others expect them to behave (the “self-concept” domain). Summing across these two domains yields a third implied domain (the “synthesis”), which can be interpreted as reflecting an employee’s observable behavior in the workplace."  [description from "What is Predictive Index (PI)?" article online]

I took it twice, because even the Talent Acquisition person had a hard time believing my first results... here are some of the results:
  • Private, serious, introspective, and reserved, it takes her a long time to connect to and trust new people.
  • Focused, she can concentrate on the task at hand for long periods. She more quickly notices and understands technical matters than social ones. Consistent and patiently thoughtful.
  • Works at a steady, unwavering pace; most comfortable with familiar processes, environments, and co-workers. Doesn't easily change.
  • Task-focused; she quickly notices and pushes to fix technical problems, assertively cutting through any personal/emotional issues. Has aptitude to spot trends in data or figure out how complex systems work.
  • Independent, analytical, critical, and creative thinking and action; little need for external validation before action. Private.
  • Authoritative and direct, she's driven to accomplish her personal goals; she pushes through roadblocks assertively. Communication is direct, to the point, and sometimes brusque.
Because I love to sing and perform, people assume I'm an extrovert.  Because I get people together for reunions or performance opportunities, people assume I am social. But truly, it is only those with whom I have a strong (and loving) connection with are the folks I adore being around and love being the instigator of social situations.

I am actually an introvert. People exhaust me. I love performing, and by nature love the spotlight... but that is about recognition (which the PI stated I needed). I absolutely hate and do my best to avoid being in a room full of people that I don't know and with whom I'm expected to have conversations. Even if we have something in common (like singing, scrapbooking, crafting, etc...). Small Talk. Blech. I prefer to be "task-focused." I wish, however, I could "assertively cut through... personal/emotional problems." At least, be more assertive fixing my own. Always easier to see through someone else's cow turds.

That being said, I'm extremely socially intuitive, and my gut reaction to people and situations is spot on. My Emotional Intelligence is pretty high (though it hasn't been officially/sociologically tested). My feelings about someone, even if I am unable to articulate why, are right on the money as far as if I instinctively know if I can trust them, or if I want to work closely with them. So, when I read from my PI results that I am going to "notice and understand technical matters more than social ones..." I guffaw.

I also laugh heartily at the "Authoritive and direct... pushes through roadblocks assertively... communication is direct, to the point and sometimes brusque..."  Because I see myself (and have been given feedback regarding it) as giving you the baby and the bathwater when it comes to communication.  I have a sticky by my computer to remind me "... If I Had To Say It In Bullet Points..." because I want to ensure everyone understands exactly what I mean.  I don't trust others to 'get it' so I over-compensate with over-explanation. (can you say "Controlling" ?!)

And then comes the many (many) times I'm proved right... that someone doesn't get the question, or the situation, and so much time is wasted going back and forth in email dialogue because of the initial misunderstanding. That drives me NUTS.

I'm in a situation right now where I've instigated putting together 7 other people to sing for a fun/humorous performance weekend in August. We'll sing two songs, and there is competition involved. You can win 1st, 2nd or 3rd place - or the Golden Banana... which is what everyone actually wants to win. In the past few years I was in a group that got third place, and the next year I was in a different group and we won the Golden Banana.  This time around, I wanted to work with people who hadn't done this Double Quartet experience before, and hopefully help grow some independent singing skills under the guise of having fun. Some of the gals in this group are brand new to this wonderful barbershop hobby, and others have been singing it for over 40 years.

Regarding this situation, I acknowledge that sometimes I actually might be "...direct and sometimes brusque..." because I want excellence (in work and play) as the end result. I like recognition for a job well done, and when my name is associated with something, I want to be able to have pride in what we've (I've) done.

And there it is. Pride. Writing this piece this morning has brought the mirror to my face, and so much crap in what I struggle with has to do with Pride. Caring what others think too often.

My comfort level in posting this (1 being low and 10 being high) is a -3.

No comments: