Thinking about personality, behaviour and relationship management

Yesterday’s lecture required us to reflect upon our personality, behaviour and relationship management, particularly in relation to the workplace.

Over many years my professional personality has developed in ways that have enabled me to both survive the daily challenges, and (usually) to find enjoyment/satisfaction in my work with students, colleagues and managers. I certainly remember the uncertainty of the early years, and the realisation that I had areas in need of attention if I wanted my teaching career to have longevity. I also recall, in my fourth year of teaching, when a young, new graduate ended up in the room next door as a casual teacher (for a colleague on maternity leave). Suddenly, I found myself mentoring her. My own teaching, programming and class control skills improved dramatically in my quest to be an exemplary role model for her. She definitely brought out the best in me; my diligence and unique talents began to be recognised by other staff members.

As a child, I know I was eager to please people in positions of authority, and often found myself bristling if I witnessed my contemporaries rejecting “the rules”. My early years of high school were quite challenging for me, with social aspects of the playground and classroom not as… predictable? I dislike situations where I find myself an outsider, and high school had felt very different to my primary school years (where I had completed my final year as School Captain).

I am usually gregarious, jovial and loquacious, all of which can be “too much” for some people. It can be a challenge for me to “tone it down”. As an adult in the workplace, I hope I am perceived as someone who will give their best effort at all times, and yet not be too afraid to speak my mind when encountering an injustice, or if I see a better solution to a problem. I do need to know the expected boundaries, and it is excellent when these “rules” have been agreed upon by consensus, or when there seems to have been some logic in evidence, such as the stakeholders using their knowledge and experiences in the setting up of a status quo. My “Glass Half Full” attitude usually serves me in good stead.

As an exercise for this week, we were asked to undertake two online personality tests: the DISC Test – Dominant (Red), Influential (Yellow), Steady/Supportive (Green), Compliant/Cautious (Blue) – and Accetta’s Colours Test. The concept of basic four personality groups goes back as far as 340 BC to Plato. He called the groups Choleric (Red), Phlegmatic (Yellow), Melancholy (Green) and Sanguine (Blue).

DISC Personality Testing diagram
Diagram from

The DISC Test placed me as a “C/I” for my Basic or Natural style, the set of drives that affect how I view, interpret and interact with the world, ie. the part that happens “in my head”. My Adapted or Environmental style represents the actual behaviours I have “learned to use to be most successful” in a work environment.

“You have a blend of both ‘Cautious’ and ‘Inspiring’ traits. Your ‘Cautious’ traits are probably a little stronger than your ‘Inspiring’ traits. Your style is known as a ‘cross-style’ because your primary traits come from styles ‘across’ the DISC pattern. While this combination occurs in a small percentage of people, it is still perfectly normal (although sometimes difficult to explain).

“Some words that describe you are:
• Critical thinking
• Conscientious
• Diplomatic and
• Tactful.

“You are more reserved than outgoing. You probably like to interact with people to create quality and excellence. You have the ability to be both assertive and friendly when you interact with others.”

Yes! Sounds about right! When I had some difficulty getting back my results from Marc Accetta’s “Colour Test”, I tried a different email address and must have answered the questionnaire slightly different the second time. Accetta sends a video clip explaining the results. The first reply congratulated me on being “a Blue”, and excitedly mentioned my upbeat, gregarious personality, sense of humour and a preference for following a strong leader who treats me nicely. It was delivered in much the way I would have delivered such news. After decades of cosplaying a blue Andorian from “Star Trek”, the colour designation was quite amusing. My results were quite similar for all four colours, meaning my personality is “remarkable balanced”. I take that as a compliment!

Blue mannequin

What was most interesting, though, were the points in the summary that did not sound like me, such as tending to be late for appointments. When my other email delivered the news that I was “a Green” instead (although still “remarkably balanced”), the elements I had felt were missing from my “Blue” summary were already in this “Green” one. They represent aspects of my personality I have deliberately attempted to improve over recent years, such as punctuality, being less spontaneous, more careful planning and spending, and gathering data to inform decisions.

Where to go from here? I am very pleased that my time management skills have improved over the decades, and that has become useful in a massage therapy clinic situation. I am sure the people I work alongside would appreciate me striving to be quieter, a little less gregarious and perhaps not as loquacious, especially when the nearest “walls” are thin curtain dividers.

Made environments – information

This term, Stage 3 students will be completing a collaboratively-taught unit of work in science on Made environments – information, with particular emphasis on early and modern communication devices, types of codes, digital citizenship and eSafety. This week, the students completed a pre-test survey sheet from the SLIM toolkit (Guided Inquiry) to provide some baseline data, both qualitative and quantitative. We also revisited the Orbit interface of our OLIVER library system to familiarise the students with its capabilities.

We aim to communicate our cumulative findings as entries on a blog, which can be shared with each class and beyond the school.

Coincidentally, today is International Safer Internet Day 2018. “Celebrated globally in 130 countries, Safer Internet Day is coordinated by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, and national Safer Internet Centres across Europe.” This year’s SID theme is “Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you”.

1.1 – Stone Age to Modern Age – evolution of communication

What is communication

16 famous logos with a hidden meaning (that we never even noticed)

Communication – what?

Okay, this week I’ve been reading lots of concerns from teacher-librarians worried about new wireless Internet connections invading their private spaces in their school libraries. People are asking about the health and safety risks of having even more (and larger) electrical cabinets humming away in the background throughout each school day…

Yes, I realise that sometimes teacher-librarians can be completely left out of a school’s decision making processes, but my two random thoughts of the day are:

1. You know, I can’t recall the last time I actually sat at my desk in the library office. It’s a tiny place I race into, to put a spoon of instant coffee into my cup, once a day, before heading off to the staff room at morning tea time. Or, it’s where I attempt to answer the telephone (which usually hangs up just as I reach it, breathlessly – although running in a long, double-portable library is definitely not good for the brand new interactive whiteboard). Or, I also go to the office to snatch a book out of Teacher Reference. If I do any sit down work in the library, it tends to be out in the main library area, since nobody would notice me squirreled away in the back office.

2. Yeah, send all this hardware back, I say, and make the little blighters do their research on slates, with authentic slate pencils, like in the days of yore. (Or is slate a deadly toxin, too?)

Seriously, if someone is insisting that a big, ugly, noisy box is moving into somewhere where you usually work, find yourself a change of scenery! Create yourself a new alcove, on the opposite side of the building. Very few library desks are nailed to the floor. There are ways around everything. But the key to any of this is surely communication. If you (and your principal, OH&S committee, Fed Rep, cleaning staff and teaching colleagues) have not established satisfactory communication skills at your school, then you have much more to worry about than electrical emissions from a new bit of machinery.