Most successful collaborations are founded on mutual respect, understanding, and acceptance, where both parties are comfortable and confident in being open and authentic. Likewise, many will take on specific personas in their partnerships, such as “doer” or “savior,” to fit in, contribute, or compromise.

According to Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation™(FIRO®) theory, everyone plays different roles in relationships depending on their requirements in comparison to the group’s desires. The FIRO® assessment can help you recognize your expressed and wanted needs regarding inclusion and involvement, control and influence, and affection and connection.

How wants and needs influence your performance.

FIRO® Experts Eugene Schnell & Allen Hammer identified fifteen team archetypes, such as the “Tension-Reducer,” who helps the team along by joking around; the “Cautioner,” who expresses concern; and the “Task Master,” who tries to keep the team focused and ignores social chitchat. You can imagine multiple scenarios where these functions may complement or clash, depending on the openness and trust between team members.

Furthermore, your assessment scores highlight which positions you’re more likely to perform, and which can “lift you up” or “bring you down,” depending on how aligned they are with work that inspires you. When you’re upset, frustrated, or exhausted, it’s a sign to stop, reflect, self-regulate, and prioritize.

Your “Centers of Expression” reinforce your persona.

The Enneagram system states that everyone has nine archetypes within them, each to a greater or lesser degree. Yet your core type’s motivation—why you do what you do—is most dominant, even if it is hidden, and serves as the main driver for how you engage and communicate with yourself and others. Coupled with your “Centers of Expression”—how you act, feel, and think—and the order in which you do these things—impacts how others perceive you.

As you become mindful of your innate tendencies, preferences, and people’s perceptions, you can recover more quickly when you find yourself out of alignment with your career goals. Additionally, observing how your colleagues and stakeholders tend to operate can help you adapt your go-to strategies when working with them.

Harnessing your YOU-ness is an inside job.

Your career persona, aka your personal brand, will evolve as you do, so invest in regular check-ins and tune-ups. As you become more aware of your current image, you can evaluate how to proceed.

Here are some exercises and tips to guide you:

Identify and evaluate team roles.

A reflective exercise could be reviewing Eugene Schnell & Allen Hammer’s list to select the ones that sound like you and those you wish you were like. The gap between your current and desired behaviors can be your starting point to identify actions to accentuate additional competencies or embrace new talents. Remember, there are no “right” or “wrong” identities. Instead, it’s about tapping into your highest expression and unlocking your potentialmind, body, and heart—in congruence with what’s most important to you.

Define your career ambitions.

Your aspirations and the responsibilities you assume will evolve as you do. What was once your primary goal can be replaced by a new one. For example, perhaps you have been vying for a job promotion. Yet, your workload will double, and you’ve realized that you might not want more accountability. Sometimes, the idea of something is better than the reality of it, so it’s okay to change your mind. You determine what “career success” means to you. Here are tips to gain clarity so you don’t get mixed up with what others think and presume from you.

Evaluate your situation.

There are no correct or incorrect answers regarding your job satisfaction. Sometimes, you may get stuck in a pattern due to familiarity. Over time, this can lead to burnout. Furthermore, you may have forgotten what you enjoy, especially if you’re rewarded for activities that drain you. You’ll need to discern between reality and expectations and disrupt your habitual tendencies by replacing them with new ones to break the cycle. The Sparketype® assessment can remind you what makes you come alive by illuminating the underlying drivers for what energizes you, and a SWOT analysis can help you bolster your confidence.

Create or update your career plan.

A great way to commit to realizing your dreams is by having a documented strategy and action plan. Your worksheet includes your goals, interests, and strengths, and indicates the proficiencies or experiences required to help you attain your desired outcomes. Once you identify what’s essential, you can “close the gap” by taking a class, training on the job, shadowing an expert, finding a mentor, or hiring a professional coach.

Prioritize your self-care practices.

Your well-being is a necessity, not a luxury. Every human needs to rest and rejuvenate to operate at their optimal level. How you recuperate will be based on your unique human design to thrive. Don’t ignore, minimize, or disregard your mindset or body’s warning signs when you must take a break. Instead, objectively observe the situation and your emotions and accept what is versus resisting. By prioritizing your health, you’ll be able to be more honest and direct in your communication, so people are not surprised when you retreat to recalibrate.

Focus on what you have agency over—YOU.

It’s easy to get caught up in what you want from others and what others may expect from you. However, you can only control you. So take ONE step now—no matter how small—while thinking about it. This may include practicing a new skill, modifying how you present yourself, or embarking on a career transition.

Deepen your perspective to activate your best.

As a lifelong student, certified professional coach, and consultant, activating the best in others through self-leadership, interpersonal relations, and team dynamics are passions of mine. My approach is personalized and customized, tapping into various assessments, disciplines, modalities, and techniques. To learn more, schedule a free consultation. I’d be delighted to partner with you.

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