In any workplace you’re going to have people who work at completely different rates to each other. For myself I tend to get given a problem or project to work on and I’ll stay on that one item until I’ve finished it. However I typically finding myself running into a blockage, usually either having to wait on someone else’s work or an external vendor in order to continue working. This leads me to a strange situation, as I will typically have several things going at once all at various stages of being blocked by one thing or another so I’m left with not a whole lot to do. The other side of this coin is that I’m always able to help out others in the office, even when I’m supposed to be working on numerous other projects. This did get me a few raised eyebrows in the past.

I initially put this down to being incredibly efficient at what I was doing and everyone else was just slacking off. Looking more closely at what others had been doing I had noticed that most of them would actually be working in a more parallel fashion, doing several different things at a time and progressing more gradually overall. What this meant for them was that a setback in one of their projects meant that overall their workloads didn’t suffer and they could continue on with their other tasks.

This was an interesting concept to explore when the whole Information Services section took a day off to do an Extended DISC assessment. This produced some interesting results, with the majority of the workplace scoring high on the S rating, the rest I with a few outliers in the D and C categories. I was only high D in the organisation which the instructor picked up on very quickly. I work in a typical government department and having majority of high S workstyles is common, with high D ratings being more common in areas of sales like real estate or consulting. My work profile also came out as the “Lone wolf” someone who strives on a challenge and prefers to lead rather than be led. Apparently this is a good work style to have as a contractor, since I’m usually hired to complete or lead projects that organisations don’t typically have in house skills for.

It was a real eye opener doing the DISC assessment as they also gave us ideas and tools to use so that we could co-operate better as a team with vastly different work styles. I found that instead of blazing in with wild changes I should submit my ideas more frequently with a lower rate of change. This makes them a lot more palatable to the typical S culture of a government workplace, and usually ends up with the project getting quite a lot more support. I tried doing this with my current upgrade project and it went from a re-purposing of server replacement funds to a large scale infrastructure upgrade over the course of a couple months. It really showed the power of proper communication.

So, if you’re like me and you’re constantly finding yourself waiting on others or out of work to do try to figure out your colleagues work styles and work around that. It also works for the other side of the coin here two, if you find one of your work mates finishing their work extraordinarily quickly use them to your advantage. You’d be surprised how much people like us love to help out.

About the Author

David Klemke

David is an avid gamer and technology enthusiast in Australia. He got his first taste for both of those passions when his father, a radio engineer from the University of Melbourne, gave him an old DOS box to play games on.

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