Building Unity Over Division
CliftonStrengths. Myers-Briggs. Enneagram. While each assessment reveals a distinctly different way we naturally act, think, and behave, they have one thing in common. Each tool gives us a common language to understand each other better.
People are messy. Relationships are messy.
I think our people problems most often happen because we expect everyone to act, think, and behave like us. We don't understand why others can't see our point of view, make the "right" decisions, or say things like us.
It's hard when our lens is the only lens through which we see life.
Assessment tools like those mentioned above, and others, help us see ourselves and each other more clearly.
Through CliftonStrengths we begin to see differences as strengths. We learn that our friend isn't bossy, she just has a strength called "Command" that leads her to naturally take charge when leadership is needed and you realize she often leads you in the right direction.
With Myers Briggs, you discover that your co-worker isn't antisocial when he skips the social outings. His Introvert preference just means that he recovers his energy by being alone so that he can show up to work and give his best the next day.
And your friend who feels like a stick in the mud when you head out for night on the town? You learn to trust that as an Enneagram Type 1, she might have your best interest in mind when she makes decisions about what to do and what not to do.
When we have this new language and way to reframe the things in others that are different from us, we can build unity instead of division.
Here are 3 ways that assessments can unite us instead of divide us.
- Encourages empathy. When we understand how someone naturally views the world, we are better able to borrow their lens for awhile. We see from their point of view. What if everything you thought was blue was really green? How would that change the way you see your family member who always describes things differently from you or acts in ways that don't make sense? It might make you a little less sure that your way is the "right" way and appreciate the different lens' through which we each see.
- Provides a common language. Each of us instinctively communicates from our strengths, preferences, and core motivations. When we have common words to describe the way we do this, we better articulate who we are to one another. Both parties know what the other is saying because the words have been defined and each side has a shared understand of what those words mean. A shared language brings greater unity.
- Builds teamwork. We all have skill, strength, and communication gaps. We're not good at everything. We weren't designed to be. Each of us needs others to fill in those places where we are less strong. When we know each other's strengths, preferences, and motivations, we can borrow from one another when needed. We become less self-reliant. Teamwork and community is what we were made for and when we embrace the opportunities to invite others in, we build unity instead of division.
On this week's podcast episode, I interview my friend of nearly 50 years, Kristi Erickson, who is a Certified Enneagram coach about how this assessment reveals our core motivations, which in turn, helps us understand one another.
We've become pretty good at creating division.
We disagree on so much. Yet, the Bible gives this admonition to all believers:
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. - 1 Peter 3:8 (NLT)
While assessment tools aren't the answer to all of our division, they can help build a bridge to more empathy, clearer communication, and better teamwork going forward.
Because we are so much better together.
Listen to the Side by Side podcast assessment episodes:
Enneagram ==> What the Enneagram Reveals
CliftonStrengths ==> Lead with Your Strengths
Myers Briggs ==> Myers Briggs & Teams that Thrive