Friday, September 11, 2015

My Strengths, and Neighborly Relations


I had to take a "strengths survey" at work, a half-hour quiz that was supposed to define my strong suits for me -- and for my bosses. It consisted of a spectrum with one statement at one end and one at the other, and you had to choose which statement most applied to you and to what degree. You did this over and over, dozens of times, with 20 seconds to respond each time. If you spent too long thinking about it, the question vanished and another took its place -- the quizzers wanted instinctive, unconsidered responses.

At the end, you were left with five defining strengths, out of 34 possibilities. Mine were all in the Relationship and Strategic Thinking categories. Specifically they were "input" -- and I'm not quite sure what that means -- as well as "harmony," "empathy," "intellection" and "adaptability."

Which, surprisingly, sounds about right. I'd give myself pretty solid scores on those, too, with the possible exception of "input."

I didn't score anywhere in the Executing and Influencing categories. Apparently I sit around thinking and feeling things, but I don't really do much. (Also fairly accurate.)

Then we had to plot our responses on an Excel spreadsheet stored in Google Docs, and that turned out to be a nightmare. My computer wouldn't allow me to access the spreadsheet without downloading a new app, which required a new user account, blah blah blah. So I did it on a coworker's computer, but I accidentally entered the results incorrectly -- I checked the wrong square because the screen was too small to see the guides at the top of the spreadsheet at the same time I was filling it out -- and I could not fix it to save my life.

It's a good thing "accuracy" wasn't one of my strengths. I'd never hear the end of it.

Anyway, I'm not sure what these results are going to be used for. but it was an interesting experience.

Last night after I got home from work, I was helping Dave cut the back lawn when our neighbor -- the one with the ladder who avoids touching the garbage cans -- called to us from her balcony, saying her young daughter wanted to play with Olga. We said sure, and we brought the dog into her back garden and threw the Kong a few times. The girl actually didn't seem all that enthusiastic -- especially when it came to touching a spitty dog toy -- but at least Olga behaved and we got to talk to the neighbor a little more. She made us tea, and gave us some bay leaves and mint from her garden, as well as a bag of Indian snacks that we said we liked. (She and her family are from India.)

So I guess I need to stop talking smack about this neighbor, because she was nice to us. Which was her objective, I'm sure. God knows what other roofing materials are going to wind up next to our house.

(Photo: A patio in Bloomsbury, in mid-June.)

6 comments:

e said...

Perhaps now, she'll be a bit more agreeable...

Marty Damon said...

It can only help, and you were good to reach out.
Still, my first reaction was, "What? They have to stop what they're doing and go entertain her daughter?" Obviously, I would probably score poorly on the trust and compassion portion of that survey.

ellen abbott said...

if she's from India, maybe her caste prevents her from touching the garbage cans and she hasn't quite overcome the squeamishness. I'm not surprised Olga behaved. dogs seems to understand children. when my 3 yr old greatniece was visiting, we were afraid the puppy would jump on her and nip at her hands and face but Minnie was very good. (the biting phase seems to be over now).

Sharon Anck said...

That test sounds similar to ones I've taken in the past for work. My favorite of them is one called Personalysis. I even saved all the results and documents from that one. I used to drive my boss at the time crazy asking questions so that I'd understand the entire problem. When the Personalysis instructor/guide was summarizing everyone's results and he got to me he said "you are a 'big picture' analyst. You need to understand how a situation fits into the big picture in order to come up with a solution." My boss was a whole lot nicer about answering my questions after that.

37paddington said...

LOL. Smart neighbor.

I did a similar tests at the outplacement firm after i was laid off. it said i should work in writing, communications or law, so i suppose i fell into the right thing.

The Bug said...

I love personality tests - although they never seem to help me really understand myself any better. Except for Myers-Briggs (ISTP here) - that one has helped a LOT!