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insights on communication skills

Insights on Communication Skills and Relationship Building

Personality Traits List: The "Walking Dead" at Work

Posted by Bridget Beirne on October 24, 2014

by Bridget Beirne

 

bridget-beirne-1In case you hadn't noticed, we've got some big fan-folks here at Ovation. We've discussed the pre-presentation warm-ups of Don Draper, the oral presentation skills you can learn from Game of Thrones, and the interpersonal office relations exhibited on Outlander. Sure, you might color us obsessed. We prefer to think of it as looking for professional skills tips at every turn. (It just so happens that a lot of our turns take us to great television...)

With the recent return of one of my personal favorites, AMC's The Walking Dead, I was inspired to ask the question: In your workplace, are you a leader like the members of Rick Grimes's band of survivors, or does your personal personality traits list have more in common with the Walkers themselves? Here's a (completely unscientific, relatively spoiler-free) list to help you see where you fall, and what you can do about it. 

You're a member of Rick's Kick-Butt Group if:

  • You remember that no Team Member is an island: Part of the reason Rick's group has survived the Zombie Apocalypse this long is that they recognize they are more powerful when working together. Think about it- nearly every time someone wanders off, things end poorly- really poorly. (Mini-spoiler: RIP Sophia.) Even Daryl Dixon (the ultimate lone wolf) couldn't remain a loner for long. Because they realize that having the support, back-up, knowledge, and commitment of other humans makes things better for everyone.
How can you do it: Ask yourself, honestly, if you tend to pull away from the group or to be a team-builder. Do you often utter the phrase "I'll just do it myself!"? Do you avoid going the extra mile to help a colleague that needs your time? Challenge yourself to work towards being a team player.
  • You acknowledge that everyone has their strong points (as well as things they are not-so-hot at...): Remember when Glenn was recognized as the Master of Directions thanks to his pre-apocalypse job delivering pizzas? When Daryl started to show his tracking skills? When Michonne established herself as a protector? Everyone has areas where they excel. It takes a real leader to empower others to contribute in alignment with what they are good at. Not everyone is good at everything, and there may be someone on your team who has great ability in an area in which someone else is struggling. Collaboration can help them both succeed.
How you can do it: Allow people to shine at what they are good at, and encourage them to collaborate and ask for help when they need it. Foster an environment where those you work with feel comfortable talking about their abilities and collaborating with others.
  • You make the hard decisions when you need to: Obviously, in the Zombie Apocalypse, every decision is life or death. As important as team work and collaboration are, some times a tough call has to be made. Whether it's a colleague who's under-performing or difficult budget cuts, sometimes you have to put it all on the line. And that's not easy. 

Carol made, in my opinion, one of the most difficult calls in television history in season 4. (There's not really a spoiler-free way to describe it, but you can find an episode synopsis HERE. ) It was an extraordinarily difficult decision to make, but she did so after observation and consideration. 

How you can do it: Of course, exercise calm, observation, and consideration before making tough decisions. One of the best things you can do to make a hard call easier to deal with is to use positive communication skills all the way along. Remember, HOW you deliver hard information is important.

You might be a Walker if:

  • You drag your feet: Walkers are notoriously slow, but still deadly. While slow and steady can be a good thing, constantly dragging your feet can weigh everyone down! 
How you can avoid it: Do your research, give issues the thought they deserve, but if you Builds_better_business_relationships_WD_memefeel yourself hemming and hawing, or vacillating for weeks, it's time to move forward. Enlist the assistance of a trusted colleague or mentor to help you break through the hesitation.
  • You put your needs/wants before everyone else's: Walkers are all bite and no brains, and they move through the world without consideration of anything but their own needs. The only thing that matters is that their immediate needs are met, and all else be damned. 

How can you avoid it?: Check in with your colleagues - how are they doing? How can you help your team make progress? Be conscious of how often you use the word "I": simply becoming aware that you, *ahem*, talk about yourself a bit too much can shift the dynamics in workplace relationships.

  • You only move with the herd: Anyone can deal with individual Walkers — the big problem is those nasty herds of hundreds of them! While it is important to have a strong team, your individuality is a boon to your group. If you only ever move with the herd, you're missing the opportunity to bring something original and creative to your workplace.

How can you avoid it?: It can be difficult to break away from the crowd. But remember that innovation and creativity go hand-in-hand.  Be brave enough to share a new or interesting idea —  it may be a game changer for your company.

 

personality traits list

 

professionalism in the workplace