Personality Dimensions®: We’re Big In Japan

A group of non-Japanese-engineers, who had never worked at client-oriented services, joined together and found out how insightful it is to discover one’s uniqueness in Japan! While they are colleagues, they work independently and don’t communicate much in the workplace. They worked on several different teams. Every day they follow a set schedule and deal with machining work individually. Their desire to pave a new career path brought them to Japan to work at a Japanese engineering company.

People are impressed by the Japanese work culture. There is a great deal of attention to detail, schedules are tightly maintained and there are frequent checks to ensure that they are responsible. The high quality of products made in Japan and service here is always being appreciated. Yet, in the background, there are exceptions, as shown in these participant comments.

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“Finally I realize why I easily get mad with the workplace and the leaders! They just don’t follow the manual which originally a good guide to preventing mistakes but they just don’t follow it! Even the leaders don’t do so! Everyone just takes the tools and put them on the table but not back on the corner of the table for the tools! That really puts me under stress.” said an Organized Gold engineer.

“I was so depressed when they kept asking me to find the root cause of the incidents. I explained, but they asked me to keep asking myself Why.” said a Resourceful Orange participant.

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Japanese companies always emphasize the sense of “collective” but not the individual.

They view Teamwork as having a team goal only and do not always look into the strengths and weakness of the individual, especially when placing someone in a position to raise productivity. They view Communication as the report related to the work between each process, but not as providing ways for sharing opinions from the bottom to the top. The deep collectivist working culture makes employees hesitate to express their thoughts and they may feel very guilty when human mistakes occur. This confuses foreign employees to a large extent.

“I found it’s not the REAL me now. I owned a company in my country and I took a lot of effort on the various tasks for my business. I really hate repeating the same work.” said a Resourceful Orange engineer.

“Okay, now I understand why you just told me “Okay,” and seemed unwilling to answer me any more questions when I asked if your leg was okay after the accident.” “Yes, I just wanted to stay alone and not to get any attention as I made a very loud noise when the product dropped.” An Inquiring Green and introverted engineer replied to the extravert.

“I learned how each person is unique from the other, how they behave and what makes me annoyed.” said an Authentic Blue engineer.

Quote from Aristotle, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” We hope that this small step of Personality Dimensions® entering Japanese societies will bring a new insight into human resources management and gain more popularity in Japan.

“I’ve always wanted to do such a personality assessment. I think our company should actually have something like this!” said a Pilipino engineer who has worked for over 5 years in same the company.

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Lok Cheung, Director of Always Alive Workshop, Registered Social Worker, Personality Dimensions® Facilitator (Level I)

Living abroad in Japan. Proficient in Cantonese, English, Mandarin, Korean. Working hard on Spanish and Japanese.

Personality Dimensions® – The Colour of Your Team

team-blackboardHave you ever wondered why your co-workers seem so strange?  Why is that one person’s desk is neat as a pin, yet her co-workers is a total mess?  One co-worker likes to work on projects alone, while another cannot stay in his cubicle for more than 10 minutes – often ‘popping in’ to get your opinion on something.  We all have people in our lives who push our hot buttons – we often ask ourselves – why can’t they just Be Like Me?

The language of temperament helps us to understand the ‘why’ of our co-workers’ weird and wonderful behaviours. Temperament, and in particular the Personality Dimensions® model, gives us a common language to speak in the workplace, which helps us predict such things as how people learn, lead others, socialize, manage their work and overall relate to one another.  Personality Dimensions® gives us a common language to help us understand ourselves, value the gifts that others bring to work, and in general if used positively – can expand and enhance our ability to communicate more effectively.

In the workplace, Personality Dimensions® can be used in a number of different applications, such as; team building, communication, leadership and coaching.  As a former team leader with 35 direct reports, I used Personality Dimensions® to support my employees in their development plans, and to customize coaching plans for them.  Having this common understanding between team leader and employee gives you a reference point to start any conversation.  Is it a magic bullet? No! It’s a tool for busy managers to use to help you be more effective and to ‘manoeuvre’ around the people mine fields.  Also, knowing your own work and communication style can help you to adapt and adopt different styles to be more successful in your daily interactions.

What do the Four Personality Dimensions® look like at work?

Authentic Blues – can be recognized by their open communication style, they are natural catalysts – ‘people people’. They will facilitate team cohesiveness and can be very sensitive to conflict or criticism of self or others. Blues may take things too personally and suffer stress as a result.  What to look for…  A desk full of Self Development Quotes; casual and open.

Inquiring Greens can be recognized as the logical thinkers who ask a lot of questions, they need to be seen as confident and competent by self and others.  They are future thinkers and may get a bad rap for ‘raining on the parade’.  What to look for… A desk with lots of books for research, models; it may look like a mad scientist lives there.

Organized Golds – can be recognized as being the punctual, dependable, reliable employee.  They have a strong sense of what’s right or wrong – they will uphold organizational rules and procedures.  Some can see them as resistant to change.  They just need to know the ‘why’.  What to look for… The name says it all… An organized and neat desk – everything in its place – even the family photos.

Resourceful Oranges – can be recognized by their independence and ability to multitask and troubleshoot a crisis.  They will be looking for the next challenge, and get quickly bored if there is not one, they may even create one to compete with themselves and others.  They can be blunt, and may say what they see.  Freedom and independence in work is critical to the Orange.  What to look for… Desk? What desk?

Add to this mix the element of Introversion/Extraversion, and this adds another layer of complexity to human behaviour at work. Extraverts take their energy from outer stimulation, Introverts from Inner stimulation.  Extraverts may get into trouble by speaking too much at meetings or by blurting out an idea before it has been formulated – it’s how they think (out loud).  Introverts may get into trouble by not speaking enough, getting a bad rap for holding back ideas or information.  They are often just not ready to let go of the idea, or may think they have expressed it and have not.

All of us as leaders have blind spots about our own behaviour – we can all get tripped up with human dynamics.  Wouldn’t it be great if you had one tool that could give you a ‘Coles notes’ insight into the behaviour of others and yourself? Personality Dimensions® can do this.

Managers and team leaders must often lead employees through some difficult changes; it may be office closures, downsizing, staff cuts or just new directions and policies.  Even the stress of performance reviews can be minimized, if you are aware of the employee’s personality style.

I remember the first performance review I ever delivered; the employee was a Gold/Blue. (Let’s call her Donna) I had been warned by her former managers that Donna was difficult and would probably cry if given any criticism.  Donna also had a reputation with staff as being a bit impatient, yet she really knew her stuff and when tackling a problem, she worked the problem until solved.  I went in with a plan to praise her for the great job she had done on a project we worked on together, praising her for her great organizational and tactical abilities.  We did talk about her tendency to be impatient with some and came up with a plan to deal with this (really this was about Donna being interrupted while working on a problem).  Donna did cry at the end of her performance review, but his time for good reason – she said that for the first time ever, she felt someone ‘got her’.  Donna became one of the most productive, motivated and engaged employees on my team.

This stuff works!  Imagine a team of employees who feel/think that they can bring their whole selves to work, that their innate talents and skills be honoured?  It’s a workplace that everyone aspires to, yet for most it is still elusive.  Personality Dimensions® cannot solve every human relations issue, but it can help teams understand each other, promote diversity and co-operation and minimize stressful workplace issues.  Personality Dimensions® can be used for coaching, team dynamics, leadership, customer service, sales and personal development.

 

Irene-AndersonIrene Anderson – CTACC, has brought Personality Dimensions® programs to many teams and individuals. Irene has shared her expertise through consulting, training, speaking and in print.  With her combination of coaching and results-driven facilitating, she has helped executives, managers and entrepreneurs to better success in business and career. Irene has also shared her unique talents with not-for-profit groups, as a volunteer, facilitator and speaker. Irene’s style of facilitation is results oriented, with a focus directly on the client, using a unique Self Discovery process, and a commitment to ensure that all personalities are honoured. Irene is truly dedicated to the success of her clients, and as a career coach has a unique knack for uncovering the talents and strengths of the client, and moving them toward that ‘AHA’ moment when they really begin to embrace who they are meant to be.  http://ireneandersoncoaching.com/