From my earliest days I've had an insatiable appetite for learning, reading and trying out new ideas and concepts. I move ahead quickly and will work tirelessly on a new idea, new product or on a better way to do ANYTHING - like client-work, fitness, nutrition, facilitation, social media, my website, coaching and more.
Before I knew what I know today - I thought everyone could and should be
like this. I saw my hunger for knowledge and change as "THE best way"
to do things. I couldn’t understand how someone would not be
constantly learning or trying new things. I never said it out loud, but I
am sure I thought that "those other people" just weren't doing life the "right way".
In my immaturity I didn't realize that gaining knowledge and creating change are some MY gifts and strengths. That others had their own, just as important and just as valuable, gifts and strengths.
I didn't know it at the time, but I had a bad case of strength projection.
Larry Osborne calls it gift projection. It's when we have a
"chocolate-covered arrogance that assumes that everyone is just like
me... (That) whatever... (I'm most interested in doing) ...everyone else
should do as well.”
I observe strength projection when asking leaders and team members to share their top strengths with each other, from their TriMetrixHD Report. As is right, each person is very proud of their areas of strength.
And, to a degree, that's exactly what we want. We can all benefit from acknowledging our strengths so that we can consciously use them, and at the same time manage potential overuse, what I call a blind spot.
Owning and using your strengths IS good for engagement and commitment on teams.
problem comes when we begin to think that "our focus and way of doing
things" is the ONLY way to do things, and we write off or speak
negatively about strengths that don't match our own. That's when we're
guilty of strength projection - that "chocolate-covered arrogance that assumes everyone should be just like me."
Strength projection is responsible for so much of the tension and drama we see every day in personal and professional relationships.
If you want to move yourself, and your team, out of tension and drama - so that all strengths on the team are valued and appreciated - our Team Building Tune Up Tools and Services help teams evolve their view, so that they can move from strength projection to strength appreciation and valuing.
For example: If my colleague and I
have opposite strengths, where she values intuition over knowledge and
traditional methods over change, we can - with the language of our
individual assessment results and facilitated dialogue - begin to can move out of the Judgment we may have for each other toward something a little less polarizing, like Frustration. (Not perfect, but better than Judgment!)
If we both continue to use the knowledge from our assessments, and begin to understand the down side to strength projection:
The higher up the continuum we go, from Judgment all the way to Valuing, the stronger our trust grows, even though we have very different ways of thinking and working.
And, with high trust we can make better decisions because
we're willing to share our different view points, and this creates a more
functional and powerful team dynamic!
Reducing strength projection and
increasing strength valuing is definitely a process, because it's
natural to think that the way we do things is best. But you and your
team can become aware of the hazards of strength projection and you
CAN move to a point where everyone values their differences and works together
seamlessly and harmoniously. And that's what you want, isn't it?
Who is different from you at work? Use this Motivators Guide to start appreciating and valuing those differences, today.