As a child, I was the “bossy” one who always had an opinion on anything and everything. I had my core group of friends, and I remember running the show frequently, even sending my best friend home when we were five because she was wasting paper and not coloring on both sides. When I was twelve, I put my twelve-year-old cousin in time-out. And she did it.
I wasn’t a bully, though. I was confident and opinionated and also a natural born leader. I was – I am – a high D personality style. Last week we talked about how personality isn’t going away – it’s been something we have studied and analyzed since the beginning of time.
Everyone is walking around with a big sign on their chest that says
“make me feel important.”
A high D personality style definitely holds their sign high, as they are driven by accomplishments, achievements and prestige. Let me go ahead and say right now that we are all a blend of all personality styles, and there are going to be some aspects that will resonate and some that don’t. I’d like to say I don’t care about the accomplishments, but, in typical high-D fashion, let me cut to the chase and give you the bottom line: it’s all about the end goal. Check it out:
High D style is all about the end result. As the littles follow her lead, Cap’n Clara is quick to get to the point – who she is, what’s she’s doing, and how nothing can stop her. That’s a D in a nutshell. 😉 Goal-oriented, fast paced, task-focused and driven, a high D is excellent in times of chaos – they delegate, lead and direct in a powerful way. Note to self: remember that life is about the journey and not the destination. Oh clichés, how you help to keep us in line.
Lions and eagles immediately bring forth images of kings and leaders of the air and land. The element of fire is aggressive, powerful, controlling and unpredictable. All of these have been used to describe this personality style.
A high D parent (like myself) can get things done and multi-task like no other. We all know the mom who has ten balls up in the air and easily takes on the challenge of adding “just one more thing” to her plate. For a female D, both the term “supermom” and “super-B” have been descriptors – ouch!
So – strengths of a high D style: Determined, focused, driven, visionary, persistent, practical, productive, solution-oriented, hard worker, independent, courageous, passionate, decisive, and direct. And, any strength, when under pressure, can become a weakness.
These awesome strengths can quickly become a negative when you play into the fear of this personality style. A high D fears being taken advantage of. They love control, and when they feel they are losing control, those same awesome strengths can come out as major negatives.
When a D feels out of control, they can quickly become bossy, quick-tempered, demanding, rude, tactless, abrupt, inflexible, a workaholic, know-it-all, offensive and close-minded. So here we have, basically, a complete jerk. I’m sure no one can think of anyone guilty of some of these traits. I have never been called any of these, of course!
The beauty of it all is this: we have a choice in our approach and our actions. When a high D feels out of control, guess what? They can gently be reminded that they always have control over their own reaction. Simply recognizing the negative behavior and identifying the trigger as being lack of control goes a long way in navigating their reaction from a negative to a positive.
This is the part that is fascinating to me – when you know what triggers you to become your worst self, you can approach with more awareness and clarity in how you are coming across to others. Not only that, when you see these behaviors in your children, you immediately can address some techniques that will work in a way that motivates their personality tendencies vs. squashing them down into the box we know none of our kids really fit into.
Real-Life Example #1: I wake up, rush off to yoga class, clearing my mind and soul, only to have a brain-dump of to-dos pop in my head on my drive home. By the time I have arrived at the house, I barge in and start rattling off everything that needs to be done today to everyone in the house.
Because I have so many things in the air (aka being a mother and taking care of not only your own life but however many little ones and schedules and meals and everything else), it’s easy to feel out of control. And it’s easy to fall into simply barking orders and becoming a drill sergeant. But this isn’t the kind of mother I want to be! Instead of barreling in and getting straight to my end-goal of “sh*t to get done today”, I remind myself of this:
As I come into the house, I look for a way to have control. First, on my attitude and my approach. I come in and greet my husband and kids, ask them how they slept, and invest in the beautiful people that are my home. I break down the day into little tasks a mini accomplishments vs. seeing the to-do list as one huge thing to check off.
If needed, I create a list for myself and oftentimes for the kids that helps us to direct our day and check off the accomplishments along the way. And I remind myself on priorities, with the relationship between myself and my children and spouse being above anything on the to-do list. There is always tomorrow, and if that didn’t come, would I really regret not mopping the floor because I had to read a book with my child?
Real Life Example #2: Cap’n is a champion at negotiating bedtime…and at 8 years old she can get by with a later bedtime than what we want for her. In our house, bedtime is early because nighttime is sacred Mommy/Daddy time. We have tried the dictator role before – “you have no choices. It’s 7pm and you are to be in bed right now or else.” And we ended up in an all out war with our child on who is actually in control.
One simple twist and we have something we can work into a compromise. Instead of being set on that bedtime, we gave her some control in it. We actually went two ways with it – when she was younger it was this: “you can go to bed anytime you want as long as it’s by 7pm” – so she could go to her room earlier (as an introvert, sometimes this was needed) or, stay up “late” ’till 7pm and then go to bed. She had power, and we had our 7pm deadline.
As she’s gotten older, now the rule is just that she needs to be in her room by 7. She can read, write, or draw in her room as long as she is quiet and respectful of others who may be sleeping. Here we have a win-win that is more about working as a team than about us taking control away from the kids.
Bedtime by 7pm because Mommy and Daddy need to have time to connect so we have a healthy and happy relationship and are ready to focus on our kids together the next day. Bedtime by 7pm because when you are well-rested, you are better able to handle yourself and be awake and ready for what tomorrow brings. Bedtime by 7pm because your body is growing and needs to refuel and recharge.
There are so many opportunities to take this one rule beyond “because I said so” and equip our children with the power to feel they have a part in the decision. Now my D-wired child sees this as important to her own health and well-being as well as our health and well-being as opposed to being a mean no-fair rule with no reason behind it. (and yes, we make exceptions to this bedtime for some late-night movies and 1-1 kid fun, so there is even more incentive for everyone to get in bed)!
Do you know any high D people in your family? Can you describe a high D experience you’ve had?
Next week we’ll dive into the I personality style – stay tuned for the rest of the series, and be sure to subscribe to the blog to get the free printable on the personality styles and not miss any of these posts!