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 Chameleons In The Workplace  

As part of our long running workshops using Insights Discovery, it has been important this year, as with any other, to add new material to orchestrate our evolving client learning experiences. The power of the personal profile touches many people’s lives year on year, but it is ways in which people can put this new understanding into practice back in the workplace that is fundamental to our work being a success. 
 
One of our new sections has focused on adapting and connecting behaviour to get the best out of our teams and us. On occasions, we have introduced the idea of a chameleon and prompted the question, “What do chameleons do?” 
 
The Insights colours – Fiery Red, Cool Blue, Sunshine Yellow and Earth Green – help explain just why having an understanding of what is important to others impacts on the nature of how we effectively communicate. A short exercise asks workshop attendees to embrace each one of the four colours one by one by stepping into the shoes of someone else inhabiting a particular colour. 
But this throws up a much bigger question about change. When people alter their behavioural styles to match or mesh with others, not many of us can successfully change ourselves without relinquishing our genuineness. Is this a reason why many people, including leaders, are afraid to change? 
 
It’s why a phase stuck with me from my Post-Graduate Diploma course in 2012: “Be yourself – with more skill”. 
When looking to develop your leadership style, how do you quickly arrive at a true, but different, more skilful self? Think yourself into a new way or acting, or act the part into a new way of thinking? 
 
This is why strong values are key to any shifting or re-shaping you want to do. The situational demands that push us away from our natural style will have less threat to our authenticity, and as a consequence we gain the confidence to experiment on more occasions. We learn a great deal about our own emotional reaction as we experiment with alien behaviour. This ‘stretch’ allows us to go beyond the boundaries of our comfort zones, knowing that the place we return to is one of safety and control. 
 
In Footdown workshops, we talk about ‘the small tweaks in behaviour that can make a big difference’. Being able to adapt and connect your behaviour – genuinely – will go a long way to helping you become the leader you want to be. 
 
So go on, make 2017 the year you decide to shape your style.