My department manager recently attended a DISC personality profile course, and wanted us to take the test too. Her aim was for us to learn about one another’s working style so that we can work better as a team.
“What’s your DISC score?” My colleague asked me.
“I’m an S.” I replied with a smile, trying to hide my own disappointment.
“S”—supportive. This implies I am someone who tends to play a support role better than a leadership role. That I am always on the agreeable side, and prefer to follow, not to lead. When I searched my heart, I knew that I did naturally tend to accommodate and value harmony, and I really had no desire to lead.
People always tell me, “You need to have more confidence.” “You need to be more flexible. You can’t always just follow.” Even though these words were spoken with good intentions—to encourage me to try out and succeed in different roles in the marketplace—they still felt hurtful.
Although the personality profile test was not meant for comparison or condemnation, I still felt lousy about it. It left me feeling like the world applauds leadership—those who are influential and successful. It certainly felt like followers are seen as less capable.
In my previous workplace, for example, I often felt unimportant because there were frequent training opportunities for managers, while common workers like myself were only expected to dutifully complete our assigned tasks. Unlike the managers, we were not offered much opportunity for career development.
I struggled a lot and felt inferior when I compared myself to other personalities. Why didn’t I have a personality more prone to success? But I remembered a sermon I had heard once, where the pastor reminded us that as followers of Christ, we should not conform to the pattern of the world, but rather we should allow the Word of God to renew our mind and transform our thoughts (Romans 12:2a).
This is also true in the way we evaluate our personalities. When I turn away from God and look at the world’s expectations of me, I easily forget about God’s purpose for me, and am drawn into comparison. But as I realigned my vision with God’s, I realized that there is no need for comparison, because my identity is found in Christ—and as Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:18-19, “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of the, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be?”
He gave me my personality to accomplish His purpose—to glorify Himself (Isaiah 43:7). God’s definition of success is different from the world’s—it is doing what He wants me to do and being who He has meant me to be. Abiding in Christ and surrendering my personality can allow God to work through my life to prepare me for the good works and purpose that He had in mind for me (Ephesians 2:20).
I’ve since learned to invite Him to show me how I can glorify Him with my “S” characteristics, and here’s what I’ve discovered. Being an “S”, I greatly value harmony. I avoid conflicts, and when they do arise, I try to be a peacemaker. Instead of allowing misunderstandings to grow into fits of anger or bitterness that could lead to greater destruction, I am eager to resolve the conflict, to extend forgiveness, and to make peace. Knowing that the Bible commands us to be peacemakers in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”, has enabled me to see how I can glorify God with my strengths.
At the workplace, I’m also learning to see my personality in a different light. Instead of demanding control, I tend to wholeheartedly provide the support my colleagues and bosses require in the capacity of my role. This enables us to work better together as a team. Since I do not compete for ranks, my colleagues feel comfortable working with me. Friends have also mentioned that they find a good listening ear in me when they face challenges.
With a faith that is rooted and securely anchored in Christ, I am learning to find joy and strength in being an “S”. These different experiences have also reminded me that any role or personality can glorify God when we look to Christ for wisdom and strength, and do what pleases Him wherever He’s placed us.
As John 15:5 states, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”