Can I Have One Style at Work and Another at Home?

One of the questions we get asked a lot is, “Can I have a different style at work than I have at home?”

The answer is a qualified yes, and it gets to this idea of a natural style versus an environmental style.

Our natural style is the internal piece of us. It reflects how we perceive, interpret, and prefer to interact with the world. Then our natural style collides with the environment we live and work within. How we then behave in the environment becomes our adapted style. Since work and home environments are different, you can wind up having two slightly different behaviors in the different environments.

Here’s the thing that we would encourage you to think about. If you haven’t taken the assessment, try not to think consciously about one or the other. Just ask yourself, “What is my natural approach? What would I do without thinking? What is my most comfortable way of responding?” That’s how we would encourage you to think about the question of different styles in different environments.

And, if you feel like you act differently at work or at home, you’re likely considering your natural, preferred style versus your adapted or environment style.

If you find that different behaviors at work and at home is true for you, then you may ask, “Well, which one is really the natural one? Is it my work style or my home style? Which one’s the natural one?” And we would say, “Which one is the easiest? Which is the one that you’re not really thinking about it?”

We have both worked with lots of people who say they go to work — even if they don’t have the language of DISC — and they basically say, “I go to work and I have to be more task-focused. I’m more driven at work. I turn that on when I get to the office.” To which, we would say, that sounds like your adapted style.

For example, (Kevin talking here)… This guy next to me has a Cautious, or a C style, and when he gets in a classroom, he’s tremendous. He interacts with people, he makes jokes, and he smiles. And, at the end of the day, he’s done. Exhausted. He can adapt to play in a world that demands a set of behaviors that are not his preference, and that takes lots of energy for him. So, he’s really tired when it’s over. That may be the same for you. You can have act differently in different environments, and there’s probably, underneath whatever style you put on in the moment, a natural style, that’s pretty consistent everywhere. You carry it with you everywhere. You just adjust to what the environment expects of you.

If you’ve taken a DISC assessment, and you feel like you want to do it again because you thought about it from either a work or home perspective, that’s fine, and we want you to know that it’s okay if you feel like you behave differently at work and at home.

If you find that one of the environments (or behaviors) takes a lot more energy and drains you a lot or just seems harder, it might be because you’re having to adjust your style to fit the environment.

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