Suppressing Your Natural Talents?

Are you suppressing your natural talents, without realizing it? It’s more common than you might think, even among highly successful and productive executives. Suppressing our natural talents and behaviors comes at a direct and personal cost, typically in the form of reduced vitality, lost productivity and lower job satisfaction. I recently began working with a company that is one of the top performers in their industry, owned by a gentleman I’ll call Alan. We are implementing the PDP ProScan solution for Alan’s company (see my ProScan here), creating a Job Model for his Service Technicians, and reviewing the profile of a candidate for Service Manager, a role that Alan has filled personally. To understand the behaviors necessary to succeed as a Service Manager, we decided to profile Alan, using a ProScan. When we reviewed Alan’s ProScan report we uncovered some great behavioral insights for both the Service Technician and the Service Manager roles. As a bonus, we also discovered that Alan has been suppressing one of his natural behaviors for years, unbeknown to himself. Let’s take a look at Alan’s traits, and discover how his ProScan report unconcealed the suppression that was taking place for so long.

Alan has high Dominance, higher Extroversion, low Patience and low Conformity as his natural behaviors. The trait we’ll focus on for this discussion is his high Dominance, making him naturally competitive, confident, and in charge. In addition to capturing our natural behavioral traits, the ProScan also captures both how we adjust our behaviors to the stresses we encounter in life, and how we come across to others. Those two sections of Alan’s report indicated that he was pushing his Dominance down, becoming more supportive, collaborative and modest. Initially Alan thought this adjustment was non-work related. However, with some digging, it became apparent that he had been making this adjustment at work for so long,  it didn’t even occur to him as an adjustment!

How does this happen? In Alan’s case, he managed a large staff of service technicians. To support, coach, and mentor them effectively, Alan learned to adjust his dominance down to become more supportive. Over the years, he became quite adept at suppressing his dominance, to the point that he comes across to others as being very supportive.

We all have natural talents and behaviors that allow us to win in life. It makes sense then, that we are happiest and most productive when we are in position to use those talents freely. Circumstances and stresses in life cause us to adjust our natural behaviors. Over time, if those same stresses persist, we can lose sight of who we truly are, and unconsciously play a role that is not natural for us. Doing so costs us our vitality, productivity and satisfaction. Using the ProScan tool, we can discover our natural talents, learn where we are suppressing those talents, and create an action plan to get back on track. In Alan’s case, he is hiring a Service Manager with traits that are a fit for the position, allowing him to delegate an aspect of his business that is causing him significant stress, and freeing him to focus on areas that provide greater satisfaction (and profit). That is how you Capitalize On Your Strengths!

2 thoughts on “Suppressing Your Natural Talents?

  1. I find it interesting he didn’t really know he was suppressing a primary trait. Especially dominance. So how has Alan’s job changed or how has he changed to live into his natural talents?

  2. Gail,
    Great question. To begin, we are almost always adjusting our primary traits based on the stresses we are experiencing in life. Sometimes we boost them up, sometimes we suppress them. If we are in a position where we are constantly required to adjust a trait over a long period of time, it doesn’t occur like an adjustment anymore. Alan’s Dominance was just above his mid-line, so the adjustment for him to become supportive is easier than it would be for me, for example.

    For Alan, the relief from this stress will come in the form of hiring a Service Manager (with the proper behavioral traits), who will take over the day to day management of the Service Technicians. We’re looking for someone who is naturally supportive, so that they won’t need to make the adjustment that Alan has been making.

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