Rick Grimes (The Walking Dead) an S-I Personality Style? Read Further And Let Me Know If You Agree

“You are an S-I personality style.  Your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system.  You are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive.  You probably like having things orderly and systematic in your outer world. No doubt you put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done, and constantly define and re-define priorities.  Will that work in a life or death scenario?”

One afternoon in a fit of strange reverie, I imagined Rick Grimes (Walking Dead) pounding on my door.  He was not feverishly escaping from flesh-eating Zombies.  He was however desperate for some executive coaching.

“I need help Doc,” he began.  “Carl is bucking authority and believes he knows everything.  Daryl’s moody stares gives new group members the wrong message , and Michonne is mistrustful of just about everyone. We are having a lot of internal conflict and since I’m the leader, I guess it’s up to me to get it fixed.  We are stronger when we pull together and work toward a common goal. In this day and age if you ignore the team and act individually you don’t survive very long.

“Well Rick,” I began.  “You’ve come to the right place. Let me ask you this…..what kind of person do you want to be at the end of our engagement?

He paused as though he had never thought about it before.  “I’m not sure what you mean,” he answered.  “I just want people to get along and do their work. It’s life and death if we don’t work as a team.”

“Would they say you facilitate this type of teamwork?” I asked.

“I’m not sure.”

“Have you ever asked them? Let me share my approach with you Rick.  I want to help you gain the one piece of data that is vital for the success of any leader.”

“What’s that,” he asked while fingering his Colt Python.

“Self-awareness and a clear understanding of the impact you are having on the people around you.”

The look on his face told me that he was pretty sure I had either lost my mind or that I was “turning.”

“No need to un-holster that revolver Rick.  Let me explain.  Many occupations – yours is no exception – require the use of instruments and tools.  A Samurai sword, a crossbow, the aforementioned Colt, a sharp stick can, if properly used, hold a herd of Walkers at bay.  Any professional’s success comes from an ability to use tools skillfully.  The tool itself needs to function consistently and well.  Back in the day— before this nasty plague—engineers who used calculators with flawed programming were in danger of making life-threatening mistakes in bridge designs.  Pilots whose instruments showed incorrect speed and altitude were the cause of catastrophic accidents.”

What’s your point Doc?”

“What is the leader’s instrument?  It is his/her own persona that interacts with the people inside and outside the organization.  Unlike surgeons, pilots, engineers, dentists, or other professionals who used tools as an important adjunct to do their work, leaders rely solely on themselves as the tool of their trade.  Trust me my friend.  I frequently interact with leaders who don’t understand the reactions of those around them.  They can’t comprehend the lack of commitment on the part of their employees.  They don’t understand the impact they are having on subordinates. They don’t understand why colleagues don’t initiate contact with them, or willingly collaborate on a project. These are scenarios where personality style testing is necessary.”

“By the way Rick, you are an S-I personality style.  Your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system.  You are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive.  You probably like having things orderly and systematic in your outer world. No doubt you put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done, and constantly define and re-define priorities.  As such, you have many leadership strengths.  You are able to see other’s talents and you possess a real depth of caring. You are concerned for people’s feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone. You are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. You may even tend to internalize conflict into your body, and experience health problems when under a lot of stress.  I think the second season illustrated that.”

“A downside to this is because you have such strong intuitive capabilities, you trust your own instincts above all else. At times you may view your intuitive ability as indisputable fact and expect others to see things that same way you do.  This can cause conflict and can cause your team to see you as stubborn.  They may tell you that you ignore their opinions.  If they experience you as too stubborn they may stop interacting with you in something of a flying-under-the-radar-approach.  This can have detrimental effects on the team and on your survival.  Have you heard this before?”

“Yes, unfortunately I have.  And I see what you mean.  But what can I do?”

“You have to listen to your team Rick.  Many times you clearly have the best answer.  You’ve gotten everyone out of many scrapes, but you cannot forget to gather data and information from your team.  Whenever they have something to say, you must remember to listen.  They probably take in the environment very differently than you do and that is, in and of itself, invaluable for success.  A team that shares differing points of view is usually more creative in problem solving.”

“Doc, your feedback has been invaluable.  May I come back in two weeks?  I would like to understand the style of the rest of my team and how I can best manage them.”

“I’m here if you are Rick,” I said.

Leader Self-Awareness: Averting the Train Wreck

Self-awareness is an important—if not the most important—quality of good leaders.  This newsletter highlights three leadership assessments that pinpoint strengths as well as challenges in personality and behavioral style.  Heightening awareness of strengths allows leaders to diminish the negative impact they have on others. 

After closing my laptop on Walter White for the last newsletter, another angle occurred to me.  What would the outcome have been had he understood himself better?  From our initial perspective as viewers, we saw him as something of an underachieving, mild-mannered chemistry teacher who was utterly lacking ambition, largely because this was the view he had of himself.  Early disappointments had defeated him and, from all we could tell, he had succumbed to the erosion of his confidence.  But the complete range of personality traits is never fully visible until applied under pressure.  This was certainly true for Walter.  Prior to his cancer, he was a mild-mannered chemistry teacher, but after the cancer diagnosis he became the narcissistic, secretive, destructive meth cook that we couldn’t take our eyes off of.  The impending train wreck was fascinating.

What if Walter had come to me for coaching?  An unusual thought I admit, but many leaders have either been referred or have self-referred to me who possessed powerful strengths but who were also struggling in halting the runaway locomotive.  Self-awareness for these leaders is vital and the technology now exists for helping your key individuals improve their strengths while diminishing their weaknesses.  Let me briefly discuss.

The Style of Influence Assessment (SOI)

This simple looking profile actually offers quite a complex overview of an individual’s behavioral style.  Results tell us how an individual will actually behave both now and in the future.  It also gives clear indication of strengths and areas to diminish.  The individual above is a big picture thinker and is most comfortable in a creative role where they are allowed to generate ideas and solve problems in a rapid, fast moving environment.  This individual’s glaring weakness is that they are likely bored with details and will probably fail to follow up on some important projects.  If this had been Walter White I would have warned him that others would view him as a genius initially although most would view him as self-centered in a short while.  Our coaching would have then centered around his resentment in being previously excluded by friends from a successful company.

The Emotional Intelligence Assessment (EQ-i)

 

The EQ-i measures an individual’s ability to build and maintain relationships.  A high degree of emotional intelligence is now widely regarded as more important in leadership success than traditional views of intelligence which is largely based on accumulated knowledge and the ability to synthesize information.  Walter’s scores would likely have shown deficits in self-regard, self-actualization, and emotional self-awareness.  His empathy score would have been low as was his social responsibility score.  Put them all together and we would have a picture of Walter as horribly self-centered and compensating with his view of a life without purpose.

His lack of social responsibility and empathy caused him to see   “empire building” as his path to self-worth.

 

 

 

Extended DISC Assessment

The Extended DISC has been around for some time now and remains one of the best tools for heightening self-awareness around both natural and adapted (pressure reactions) style.

As opposed to the individual in this profile, Walter would have shown to be a “C” style with a long arrow toward “D”.  These results would have suggested that he was a perfectionist leaning toward anal.  Under pressure he would have been grumpy at best and utterly dominating and self-centered at worst.  Intense competition would reveal itself under pressure and he would not have demonstrated appreciation, caring or recognition for a job well done.

The plan of action for Walter:

  • -Understanding profile types of people who work for him
  • -Gain flexibility in his own leadership style
  • -Gain a sense of work on increasing his empathy and social responsibility.
  • -Improve in his emotional expression through greater self- awareness.

Our next article will focus on another very well known leader and how ongoing coaching sessions would help the misperceptions that he has of himself. Hint: Terminus was no sanctuary.