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Learn to call on the objective mindset

Are there times when you wish you were better at separating facts from feelings, understanding your biases, and seeing a problem or situation with more clarity?

Although something like objectivity may seem like a trait you either have or you don’t, it’s actually a skill you can develop with practice. Like all eight of the Everything DiSC® Agile EQ mindsets, it comes more naturally to some people than others. If you are naturally objective, learn more in the article Your objective mindset in Agile EQ.

If objectivity is more of a struggle for you, keep reading for tips on how to stretch into that frame of mind, even if it takes more effort for you to do so. First, let’s talk about why and when you may want to channel an objective frame of mind.

Why do it?

There are aspects of objectivity that hold import for people of various DiSC styles. For example, D styles tend to get carried away with their own certainty, discarding facts that don’t support them. If they stretch into an objective mindset, they can better see their own biases as well as critical information they missed, both of which will ultimately help them be more successful. It may be difficult for i styles to deprioritize emotions, but an objective mindset can show them that decisions made to accommodate feelings aren’t always the best ones for a team’s long-term goals.

Situations that may call for the objective mindset

Different DiSC styles will need to tap into the objective mindset in different scenarios, but there are some general situations that tend to benefit from objectivity:

  • identifying the critical facts in a complicated or confusing situation
  • distancing yourself from your own biases
  • stepping back from your emotions or the emotions of others
  • convincing someone who tends to be objective
  • gaining insight into a subject that creates strong emotions

How to be more objective

Recognize your thoughts

The various DiSC styles may struggle with objectivity for different reasons. A person with an iS style may take criticism harder than the situation warrants, whereas a D style may ignore valid criticism if it doesn’t support their vision. The 26-page personalized Agile EQ profile (see sample) walks you through your own relationship to each mindset. The profile provides concrete tips for recognizing the automatic thoughts driving your behavior, setting goals in line with your comfort level, and creating an action plan to help you achieve them. Depending on your DiSC style and comfort level with the objective mindset, you may need to fight off thoughts like:

  • If I feel this strongly, it has to be right.
  • It’s not worth upsetting people.
  • I’m being untrue to myself if I don’t follow my gut.
  • I know I’m right, even if I don’t have the data to back it up.
  • Let’s not waste time thinking through every angle.

Set goals

Then you’ll identify beginner, intermediate, and advanced goals for gaining comfort in calling on the objective mindset when it is needed. Sample goals may be:

  • I recognize when I am overly concerned about protecting people’s feelings.
  • I can separate the content of feedback from the tone and style in which it’s delivered.
  • When forming opinions, I take the time to research relevant facts.
  • I usually know when it’s important to set my personal feelings aside.
  • I regularly put effort into overcoming my biases.

Start practicing

If objectivity takes a lot of effort for you, those may sound like unreachable goals. But emotional intelligence really is a skill that you can develop with practice. People of different styles will work toward those goals in their own ways, but here is some general advice on becoming more objective:

  • If you’re really excited about something, take a second to make sure it’s what works best.
  • Take critical feedback less personally.
  • Invite others to critique your thinking.
  • Learn to balance emotion and logic in decision-making.
  • Recognize that it isn’t your job to please everyone.
  • Work to understand the impact of bias in decision-making and communication, and take steps to address your own biases.

The personalized action steps in the Agile EQ profile meet you where you are and give you a way to take those first small steps that, with practice, will lead to larger ones.

See also: Your objective mindset in Agile EQ

Limitations of the objective mindset

If you’re a strong C style and firmly rooted in the objective mindset, there may be a tiny voice in your head saying, “Why would you ever choose not to be objective?” But part of developing your agile emotional intelligence is being able to identify times when stretching to another mindset is the best choice (maybe even objectively the best choice!). If you get stuck in the objective mindset, you might

  • discount the relevance of emotions in team situations
  • overwhelm people with logic and facts, especially when they disagree with you
  • fail to recognize when someone’s emotional needs should take first priority
  • miss out on opportunities that benefit from an intuitive approach
  • become lost when the facts don’t present one clear choice
  • fail to rally your colleagues around an idea when facts are not enough to get them excited
  • forget to consider the emotional impact of a decision on a coworker
  • be unable to throw yourself into an experience or let yourself go

Avery Harris-Gray

SC style, NY based. Writing about Everything DiSC and The Five Behaviors since 2020. Leadership style: humble. EQ mindset: composed. I always have snacks to share.

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