Motivating the C? Think Dr. Spock and lay off the rah! rah!

Motivating the High Conscientious Style

It will probably appear to the High Influencers that the High Conscientious (C or Blue) style is impossible to motivate.  This is due to the fact that the perception of what motivation is and looks like is nearly 180 degrees opposite for those two styles.

For the High Is, motivation is about enthusiasm, emotions; feelings expressed most often both verbally and physically.  The Is will pump their fists, or do a happy dance while the Cs look on calmly with an expression that appears inscrutable to the I.  While the Influencer may be motivated by the opportunity to have fun, the High C is more likely to find an environment where they have an opportunity to learn new things of interest as one that is motivating.

The opportunity to get things done, finished, is a huge motivator for the High Director, but for the C, the opportunity to get things right is their motivational driver.  Nor is working collaboratively with others the motivator for the C that it is for the S and I.  Working in teams is frequently quite stressful for the High C – especially since the D tends to boss others around and tell them what to do; the I misses half the meetings because he is overbooked with something else but wants to show up at the end and make the presentation; and the S, when asked what she wants to do, replies “Oh, whatever you want to give me is fine by me.”   The C would much prefer to do the entire project by himself thus ensuring accuracy, thoroughness and high quality work.

The motivational environment for a High C is one where they are given sufficient time and resources to do a top quality job (don’t ask them to cut corners), where directions and outcomes are clear and specific, and where a logical approach is required.  Don’t ask them to lead the group in the company cheer or to engage in blindly accepting a new plan without providing a thorough risk analysis.

Unlike the High Influencers, Conscientious styles voice skepticism when plans are not backed up with objective data and can be perceived as the proverbial wet blanket.  They are frequently seen as “negativists” who find fault with every new idea and plan (especially those proposed by Influencers when they are global in nature and not sufficiently detailed).

There is frequently a big difference in how the Is and the Cs express their ideas.  Is are likely to blurt out the first ideas that pop into their minds, seeing this as a catalyst that will get everyone thinking creatively.  Where they start may bear no relation to where they end up – and they frequently talk their way through a problem out loud.

Cs, on the other hand, prefer to think through the entire process in their heads, sharing their idea only after they have worked it out for flaws before verbalizing it.  Thus, (since we all assume that others process information the way we do), when they hear “wild” ideas being presented by an Influencer, they think that this is the plan that the I wants everyone to follow (because, of course, you don’t verbalize anything to the group until you have checked it for possible errors and flaws).   Thus, the High Influencers brainstorm out loud and the Conscientious tell them why their ideas won’t work.

To provide a motivating environment for a Conscientious style, let them work independently as much as possible, exempt them from group hugs, and let them work in teams that resemble relay teams (work among team members is sequential) rather than basketball teams.  Ask them to critique their own work rather than jumping in first and telling them what they did incorrectly.  Give them as much instruction and detail as they require rather than providing a general overview and no direction.  What the D sees as being “micromanaged” the high C sees as paying attention to detail and quality; what the I sees as fun and morale building the C sees as trivial and superficial; and what the S perceives as practical accommodation the C sees as giving up standards and high quality.  Cs believe in never making the same mistake once!

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