In business-as-usual (BAU), leaders and followers use their natural, instinctive approach to gather information, make decisions and live in the world. When stressed, however, they start to display characteristics that are at-odds with the person we have become accustomed to.
In crises situations, where stress and anxiety are amplified, both at work and at home, all of us can become a tad ‘weird’. The extraverts can hide in their closets. Introverts will typically go deep into their caves. Positive upbeat people, whom are usually warm and compassionate can hide under the duvet, catastrophising about all those in the world who are being affected, imagining the worst possible scenarios, and feeling incredible sadness and pain.
With income and family at risk, it’s natural for people to put self and family before all else and queue jump through to the front of the line.
In terms of the 4CHARACTERSTM
It’s the compassionate Yellow and Green characters who will typically be most affected and out-of-sorts. At the extreme, they could present as overly emotional and with an uncharacteristically low mood.
Greens will be seeking structure and a sense of purpose. Particularly the extraverted ones who will go very flat when they can’t get out and about to help others and connect with people in a high touch way.
Yellows may become distraught when they change from their normal big picture intuitive processes to using their underdeveloped analytical functions – looking for facts to validate and justify their doom scenarios.
The Red and Blue Characters will typically overplay their gifts in the early stages of the crises – potentially taking an overly directional approach as they seek to take control of the situation.
The Reds naturally innovate and spin on a dime, so they will be focusing on reinventing the business model and most likely cracking the whip while setting an unrealistic pace. After sustained stress, they may unconsciously slip into the ‘shadow-side’ and become overly emotional and tearful.
The Blues will initially focus on structure, data gathering and adding process and logic in their attempt to bring law and order to the situation. Along with their Green colleagues, they will focus on improving the situation and will be stressed by the fast pivots of their Red and Yellow counterparts. If they unconsciously go ‘shadow-side’ after the sustained stress and anxiety, they too may become overly emotional and show up erratically – the complete opposite to their normal ‘true blue’ characteristics.
The Complexity of ‘Shadow-Side’ Behaviours
Each person will be affected by the pandemic in different ways, depending not only on their ‘character type’, but also on their individual personal and family situations, which may amplify the impact. Someone who is normally kind, compassionate and measured, could become explosive within seconds, surprising their colleagues or family members by their outburst. Most likely the explosion will be ignited, not by what was said, but by what the person in the ‘shadow-side’ thought was said.
How each of the 4CHARACATERS will respond to stress and anxiety in a crisis cannot be reliably determined by their character colour. Shadow-side analysis requires an expanded 8 Shadow types (incorporating Introversion and Extraversion, Jump Start and Pressure Prompted dynamics) – too much complexity to understand unless you are a personality type guru.
To support our alumni and clients through this crises period, we have expanded the Executive Profile (in the Leader Dashboard) and Team Dynamics (in the Team Dashboard) to include a section on ‘What others will notice about you if you go into the shadow-side’
How to get out from Under the Shadow and back into the Bright-Side
Regardless of which character colour leaders and followers are; the CHEERFUL approach is a great start:
C stay Connected
H Help those in need
E Eat healthy
E Exercise in the sun
R Respect yourself and others
F Fun amps up immunity
U keep it simple and Uncomplicated
L let Love be your true north
Tools for Applying these Concepts in an Interpersonal and Team Context
ISL’s sister company, SmartLeader Apps TM has developed a suite of digital tools to support leaders. These have been used effectively by many clients during BAU – and will be even more impactful as we navigate through the COVID-19 crisis.
These tools include:
- Team dashboard: 4CHARACTERSTM function – understanding the mix of team personalities; dominant characters and those types which are underrepresented. A drill down function that explains how each team member is Wired-UpTM, each person’s gifts, blind spots and communication preferences. A new “what you will notice about them in the shadow-side”
- IOS app: CLICK-WITHTM – an app that enables team members to understand their points of compatibility and potential flash points when working with others in their team.
- MY TEAM PULSETM: 4CHARACTERSTM tile – sets out the team composition and provides a DIY FIXIT Toolkit, with resources enabling leaders to understand more about personality and how to interpret dysfunctional behaviours.
For information about accessing these apps and obtaining online ‘one-on-one’ and ‘team coaching’ contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org