Saturday, May 30, 2009

Square Peg in a Round Hole?

I was at an industry breakfast seminar recently when next to me sat a lady in her late 40s. She was the principal of an injury management and rehabilitation consultancy and she was also finalising her PhD dissertation on the subject of psycho-social factors involved in rehabilitating injured and ill workers, getting them back into the workplace. It had been eight years in the making, and counting!

She mentioned the ‘square peg in a round hole’ phenomenon and I was intrigued. Only a few days beforehand I was given cause to reflect over the application of this phenomenon regarding the fit (or lack thereof) of certain personalities and leadership styles in the context of organisations.

I also learned about the Human Synergistics organisational culture assessment tool only recently. This is a masterful methodology explaining how good culture and leadership produce good, healthy outcomes for organisations.

The unfortunate thing for many companies, organisations and even families, however, is there is so much grief caused by people who are ‘square pegs’ trying to fit into round holes.

And the Human Synergistics ‘Circumplex’ is the ideal way to describe why people often don’t fit. It assesses people, teams and organisations around either passive/defensive, aggressive/defensive, or constructive styles.

It would come as no surprise for most of us to learn that people exhibiting the two defensive styles produced the least ‘fitting’ responses or outcomes.

Conversely, it’s obvious that the attributes of the constructive style i.e. people with achievement, self-actualising, humanistic-encouraging, and affiliative foci have the best chances of being ‘rounded’ enough to fit, whenever and wherever.

And whether we’re trying to fit into a new team or recovering from injury, we can only hope to advance our cause and make it easiest for others if we display more of the constructive, positive styles. This way we take control in managing our lives and we cooperate too with those charged with helping toward the same mandate.
It pays to neither be submissive or aggressive, but assertive, catering simultaneously for both our own individual needs and the needs of others.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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