Have you ever noticed that it’s easy to figure out what other people need to do differently, but it’s really hard to work out what you need to do differently for yourself?

Last week I presented to a business group on the four main behavioural styles.

The presentation was videoed, and my 11 year old son Ben watched the playback with me.

As soon as we’d finished watching the presentation Ben picked out with absolute accuracy what style his little brother was, and what style his dad was.

But then he said to me, “Mum, how come I can pick out Dad’s style and Daniel’s style, but I’ve got no idea what mine is?”

I know who you are, but who am I?

The reason he couldn’t figure out his own style isn’t because he’s 11 years old.

Over and over again, in workplaces everywhere, I see people who can learn the basics of a behavioural style model and apply it to their colleagues, even to their clients.

But they can’t, for the life of them, apply it to themselves.

It’s so prevalent, in fact, that I gave it a name – Own-Style Blindness, or OSB for short.

The benefit of knowing your style

It’s a real gift to know your own style.  It’s a real gift to be clear on who you are and why you do what you do.

When I realised that my style fit well with focusing on people development rather than becoming a technical expert, it freed me up from needing to know all the detailed, technical aspects of my work and allowed me to focus on what I did best.

It also, though, helped me identify where people who had different styles then mine were exactly who I needed around me so that all aspects of the work that needed to get done would get done.  Not just the bits that I liked or was good at.

Even my team felt the impact

The unexpected benefit was it made my whole team stronger.

Because once I could recognise my style, it made it so much easier to recognise other people’s styles and I was able to adjust their roles to leverage their strengths, which made them happier employees.

Their productivity skyrocketed and they were putting in huge amounts of discretionary effort without me ever asking them to.

So how do you discover your style and overcome Own-Style Blindness?

The quickest, most valuable and reliable way to identify your style is to get profiled through an assessment like Extended DISC®, which is what I do with my clients.

When you work with someone who’s trained to give you the assessment and then take you through the assessment results specifically for your benefit, you get incredibly deep insights into your style, and how it’s impacting your work right now, and how it’s impacting the people around you.

But if you want a quick taster right away, you’ll see a link at the bottom of this article for a one page overview of the four behavioural styles that you can download.

What next?

So here’s what you need to do.

  1. Download the behavioural style overview sheet.
  2. Have a best guess at what style you think you are – remember, though, you probably have OSB – Own Style Blindness – so it might not be obvious to you.
  3. Give the cheat sheet to 5 people who know you well – people who see you at work, and outside of work – and find out what style they think you are.

Now that you know your own style, you’ll start to notice how much easier it is to see where other people’s styles differ to yours.

You’ll also be able to recognise people whose styles complement yours specifically because their style is one you’re not strong at.

And when you can leverage that, you’ve found one of the key ingredients of an outstanding team.