I was on my way to a meeting today when my wife reminded me to try to project a sunny disposition. I like people, generally think good things about them but for many years my role was to spot problems. This is okay sometimes but not for example when you are talking to the host of a dinner party 😉 My goal today was to make a friendly first impression and sometimes it is important to be mindful of the situation.
Are you agreeable?
There are many different ways to describe people’s personalities, many different dimensions, for example introvert vs. extrovert. Recently I have been thinking about my own ‘agreeableness’.
Spectrum of agreeableness
Researchers have developed some techniques for measuring agreeableness. One interesting but unsurprising finding is people in prison are very disagreeable. The world says the sky is blue and they will say ‘not really, it is more grey’. These people pathologically rail against everything and everyone.
At the other end of the spectrum is the person who seeks to make peace always. They mold their behavior and even their beliefs to the people around them; some will virtually agree 2+2=5 if everyone else does.
We need a spectrum
If we had only disagreeable people we would never settle on anything, language, social norms, everything would be in a constant state of debate.
If we only had agreeable people there would be no progress, no scientific advancement, no business innovation, no civil rights movement.
I expect Oprah tests as pretty agreeable. This makes sense for a talk-show host. Letterman might be a bit more disagreeable. Most of the time Dave balanced his disagreeableness with zany humor but in some interviews he let the guest look pretty bad. This ‘edginess’ suited his late-night slot.
Where do you fall?
If the team thinks things are going well but you see problems do you speak up?
Are you the last to give up your point when the team clearly wants to go in another direction?
Here is a lecture from UofT’s Prof Peterson (if you know who he is you know he has sparked some controversy)
Most exciting projects were a little uncomfortable. I imagine some agreeable people really find themselves challenged when they are working on something that might go against what they think the crowd wants to hear.
Based on your Agreeableness – what should you watch out for?
- People letting you down because you “won’t mind” (apparently agreeable people often find themselves feeling neglected and ignored.)
- Pursuing something that is familiar & comfortable but not particularly effective
- Trying to recreate earlier successes (a lot of very talented artist end up rehashing things they think the audience likes and end up dated & irrelevant)
- Seeking consensus and watering down their own vision
- Let collaborators do whatever they want rather than what is right for the project
- Battle over everything and exhaust their collaborators
- Avoid and ignore input from others
- Buck social conventions that may signal to others rudeness or arrogance
MyGolio’s Kudos system
We vouch for each other’s attitude on MyGolio. I personally think this is pretty important. For example, there aren’t any excuses for put-downs. I know many quite disagreeable people who can function very well working with collaborators. We don’t all need to agree to get along.
There are 6 hrs left today to get start an exciting project. This is a great time of year to do your planning and pre-production. Come NYE there will be a huge number of people who made resolutions that this year they will finally start pursing their creative dreams and out looking for new projects. Pull together your plan and post it, this world needs leaders (agreeable and disagreeable ones are both valued!)