09/01/2010

Matching Job Descriptions to Personality Preferences

By Melissa H. Windham

Do you remember your first day on a new job? Were you prepared for the job description? Was it a good fit? When I began working as a high school counselor, I was one of three counselors. Though the dynamics of the counselors varied, our job descriptions did not. At that time, each counselor carried out one-third of every responsibility. These were not necessarily the duties that best fit each counselor’s abilities; they were all the duties divided into three, for convenience. Our duties included:

  • Assessment
  • Behavior Modification
  • College Preparation
  • Counseling
  • Crisis Management
  • Recommendations
  • Scheduling
  • Student Observation
  • Transcript Evaluation

Job Sharing Experience

Because of the numerous job duties, it was difficult for us to collaborate or find time to share resources. We found ourselves too busy performing a large number of tasks to get deeply involved in any one area. Meeting the minimum requirements of our roles was all we had to offer at the time. We managed day to day, attempting to do one-third of the same job.

As the year progressed, our complaints about our duties greatly increased. We each dreaded or avoided different duties based on our preferences. There were moments of our days that we enjoyed, but overall we were unhappy at work and looked forward to each day’s end. It became obvious that our department was not effective, but how to improve our situation was not so clear. We were longing for a change, but we were not sure how to make that happen. It was at this time that we sought out ways to find value in our job duties and to enhance our work as a counseling department.

DiSC Profile Brings Clarity

In our search for improvement, we discussed ideas and decided that each of us would take the DiSC Profile as a means to better understand our behavior patterns. A brief description of what DiSC profile is will be helpful at this point. Upon completion of the assessment, we discussed our results profile. By evaluating our results together, we became more equipped to understand each other’s work styles. With a new understanding of our preferences and reactions to our situations at work, we gained insight about what job duties were a better fit for each of our personalities. This was a pinnacle moment for our role as counselors. We became more able to communicate using similar terminology. Though we were previously aware that there were differences between us, the DiSC Profile provided clarity about our specific differences. This led to a greater appreciation for our responses to the job duties and allowed us to embrace our differences as an asset to our department.

After our experience with the DiSC Profile, our new conversations allowed us to experience better ways to work through our different communication patterns and various working styles. Becoming more aware of our situation, we were able to laugh at our differences. It was interesting to note our various preferences to the dutiful components of our jobs because of this awareness. We could now identify and give meaning to why we responded differently to similar situations.

After much excitement about the clarification of our differences, we discussed options for changes within our jobs. These insights became opportunities to question our job descriptions and the availability of redefining our roles. We received support from the administration and we reviewed the original job description and reassigned the duties among ourselves. Our new assignments were divided differently than before.

 

Counselor 1

Counselor 2

Counselor 3

Assessment

 

 

 

Behavior  Modification

Behavior Modification

College Preparation

 

 

 

Counseling

Counseling

 

 

Crisis Management

Recommendations

 

 

Scheduling

Scheduling

 

 

 

Student Observations

Transcript Evaluation

Transcript Evaluation

Transcript Evaluation

 As we settled into our new counseling roles, we became a stronger counseling group. Each of us felt as though we had new jobs. This small change in our job descriptions led to profound changes in our counseling department. By matching our job duties with our individual personalities/strengths?, we were more productive workers. We were also more available to our students and had more resources to share with the school community. The outcome of our changes allowed us to become greater service providers who shared a new enthusiasm for our work as counselors.

DiSC® is a registered trademark of Inscale Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

 


 

Melissa WindhamMelissa Windham, LPC, NCC, NCSC is the Lead Counselor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Jackson County Campus and attends Regent University as a graduate student in the Counselor Education and Supervision PhD Program. Research interests include college student success, leadership and personal development. Her contact information ismeliwin@regent.edu.


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