We all have our unique ways of approaching work, I’ve found that sharing mine upfront not only helps to set expectations but also helps build a foundation of trust and open communication.
I can’t take all the credit for the idea, though. A former colleague, Luc Levesque inspired me to build my own that I’ve used in my different roles throughout the years.
I figured I’d share in public, so, without further ado, here’s mine:
I studied Tae Kwon Do for about 10 years, and many times during classes, the instructors would demonstrate techniques in the most terrifying way possible: spin-kicking with all their might directly towards you and stopping within millimeters of making contact.
Any time a student would flinch, the instructor would remind us that:
if you’re getting hit, it’s going to hurt whether your eyes are open or closed, so best to keep them open and react
This blueprint serves as my attempt to share my working style and idiosyncrasies, so you know what to expect when we collaborate. If you enjoy personality tests, my Meyers-Briggs type is ENFP, my DiSC style is high-I, and my top Gallup StrengthsFinder strength is "Ideation."
Clarity over comfort
Sometimes it can be hard to speak up, especially when the pressure is on or anxieties are high. These are precisely the times to take a deep breath and push through the discomfort to make yourself heard.
For me, this means asking "dumb" questions, challenging assumptions I don't understand, admitting what I don't know, and seeking help when I need it.
The truth shall set you free
This isn’t necessarily the same as “radical candor,” though I do appreciate giving and getting it.
I once had my discovery work described as an “interrogation of the problem space,” and thought it fit with my approach to fact finding.
I strive to be thorough and thoughtful in my relationships, separating problems from people and being truthful about my intentions, feelings, and motivations.
Hear every voice
I believe that the best solutions emerge from diverse perspectives, and that it requires intentional effort to ensure everyone's voice is heard.
I value having a voice at the table, giving others a voice, and making sure no one feels left out. This approach can help bring a team together in a shared space, though it may occasionally slow down the process.
Sometimes, this causes me to move slower than I’d like, so I welcome any feedback if it seems like I’m leaning too far towards a perfect consensus.
I think out loud a lot
At times, I can be quite verbose, especially if I'm anxious or if it seems like my message isn't resonating.
I've been working on this, but I appreciate a gentle reminder. Asking for a "10-second summary" is a great way to help me wrap up and take the conversation offline.
I think best asynchronously and nonlinearly
I often have to do a “breadth-first” inventory of a space to understand it, and this can be hard to do in a synchronous conversation.
I'm also prone to tangents when excited about a subject. If this makes it hard to follow my train of thought, please let me know. I'll do my best to summarize and reframe.
I have big feelings
I wear my heart on my sleeve and believe that vulnerability is a key ingredient for open, effective, and meaningful relationships.
There's no hidden meaning or motive when I ask about (or share my own) feelings, and find that doing so leads to more trusting, open collaboration.