I have met many successful practice managers who do not know the difference between a lensometer and a Geneva Lens Measure. To them, O.D. and O.S. are nothing more than B.S. While being technically proficient will not necessarily disqualify a manager from practice success, a manager must never lose sight of one universal truth: As a supervisor of other human beings, the commodity he must be expert on is people.
Many organizations, big and small, have begun using personality profiles to gain insight into what makes their employees tick. While some opticians and other professionals feel this is just another example of corporate intrusion into individual�s lives, one thing is clear � they work. By work, I mean that when applied correctly, these profiles paint a fairly accurate, if sometimes general, picture of an employee�s strengths, limitations, turn-ons and turn-offs. Having this information allows a manager to maximize the strengths of her employees. For example, she might assign tasks more effectively. She could avoid asking an employee to perform a job that would better suit a co-worker. She would discover what language and words to stress to be more persuasive. Likewise, she would know what words and phrases to avoid that might give offense or what might inadvertently insult an employee. Perhaps most importantly, she would learn how to best motivate her employees based on their own likes and dislikes.
There are dozens of personality profiles available for managers. Myers-Briggs is a widely used, comprehensive instrument. So is the DISC profile, preferred by many corporate giants. These instruments agree (as do most of the others) that most of us fit nicely into one of four distinct personality types. Sometimes we are a mix of one or more. Over the next four months, we will explore the four unique personality types using a personality profile known as the SELF profile. It is brief (30 questions), cheap ($15), and amazingly accurate. I have used and taught it extensively over the last six years, and I am convinced an ECP manager will get the most bang for his buck by using it to deeply learn about his employees. (The SELF profile is available from Rockhurst University, at its on-line resource center: www.natsem.com.) Once the 30 questions are answered, a participant will "test out" into one of four quadrants: S, E, L, or F.
One final word of caution: We are all a mix of all four personalities. Rarely will all of the traits be applicable. The profile merely points out generalities and tendencies. This month we will delve into the "S" personality.
An "S" personality is sometimes referred to as the "Social" one. Your need to direct, and passion for other people makes you are a natural-born leader. An S personality is usually driven by attention, achievement, recognition and the quest for status. I believe an S personality is image-driven, and cares more about what other people think of them. You generally get irritable whenever you have to wait, deal with indecision or people who insist on maintaining the status-quo. Some of your strengths make you persuasive, a risk-taker, competitive, you pursue change, socially skilled, confident, open, direct, and outgoing. Sounds great! Like everything in life we must take the bad with the good.
If you don�t understand what drives an S, you will focus on some of their perceived limitations, which include being pushy, intimidating, overbearing, restless, manipulative, abrasive, reacting, and dominating. Most S�s are not all of these things, but a lack of understanding makes it easy to label them as such.
What do S people like? What do they thrive on? An S is turned on by attention, recognition, adventure, excitement, and spontaneity. What do they hate? An S is turned off by people who seem too indecisive, conventional, slow, and by those who have a lack of enthusiasm.
Equipped with this knowledge, how can a manager use this information to be a more effective leader? In dealing with an S personality, some positive actions a manager can take include showing energy and enthusiasm, showing interest in what an S does. Sometimes a manager should yield to an S�s need for attention in meetings and other social settings. Give recognition when it is deserved, and agree with them whenever possible.
On the other hand, a manager would be wise to avoid certain things when dealing with the S personality. Whatever you do, do not bore them! Indifference will turn an S against you. A manager must guard himself against allowing an S�s enthusiasm to overwhelm him. And while it may seem a small thing to you, never forget an S�s birthday or other special occasion; they will remember your transgression for a long time.
Remember too, that not only is the SELF profile a worthwhile way for you to learn about your team, it will also shed some light on yourself, so that you have more insight into how others perceive you. Armed with that knowledge, you can alter your behavior to also foster better relationships.