Lynda’s High 5 for Leaders
5 Ways to Optimize the Calculators on Your Team©
By: Lynda McNutt Foster
I am a big fan of people who love to analyze data and thoroughly think through things. My behavioral type as a high Driver/Influencer requires that if I am going to be successful, long term, I need Calculators. It’s taken me quite a long time to learn the best ways to communicate with them. I’ve had a big incentive though, my two favorite people on the planet, my husband, Allen and daughter, Melody are both screaming high C’s.
Calculators (the final letter in the DISC behavioral type we’ve been discussing for the last 3 articles in the series) tend to move at a slower pace. They can be highly analytical. Their strength on a team is that they ask good questions and normally are wonderful “theme masters”. Ask them what the themes of a meeting they were just in were and they can usually boil it down to a sentence or two, no matter how long it was. They are all about what is just and fair. Their body language tends to be reserved and their tone, if challenged in an area that they feel educated and certain in, can be argumentative and direct like a Driver’s would be. They will focus on your words, rather than your body language or tone during a conversation.
A Calculator type will frequently ask for more time to process information. Their question tends to be “why”. When given tasks to complete they would wonder why they are being assigned to them, why those tasks need to be completed by the deadline, and if there is a change, why the change is occurring. They are perfectionists, so they will be hesitant to accept tasks unless they feel they are being given enough time and resources to get them done well. Their motto is, “measure twice, cut once.”
- JUST THE FACTS: Calculator behavioral types like data…raw, unfiltered data. C’s like to let the data tell them what is true and what is not true. When getting feedback from a Calculator, give them as many objective facts as possible. They certainly are OK with reasonable opinions, but tend to start to tune people out who are giving them wild exaggerations or jumping to what they would consider unfounded conclusions.
- KEEP ITEMS RELATED: Calculators tend to want to give a lot of thought to what you are saying. That’s a good thing, but the side effect of that is that Calculators tend to have a harder time when you throw multiple unrelated items at them in a hurry. You might be on item 3 and they’re still giving serious thought to number 2! For getting the best results of a C’s logical thinking, give them a chance to think about one thing at a time, if possible.
- DON’T LET YOUR HANDS DO THE TALKING: Calculators are not generally known for being outspoken and gregarious. Think Mr. Spock from Star Trek. They tend to be very good listeners, but if you are talking very fast or quickly moving to different topics, it doesn’t give them a chance to think about what you are saying (which they like to do). Also, if you make a lot of gestures with your hands or are being demonstrative, it can be distracting to a Calculator who is trying to listen to what you are saying.
- BE PREPARED FOR THEIR FAMOUS “RESTING FACE”: As stated earlier, C’s are fairly good listeners, and they like to think about what you are saying. Unfortunately, the high C may listen so intently that they get what we call “the resting face” This is the face that you get when you are focused on the conversation. While a High “I” may have a smile on their face while they are listening, a High “C” might give you the furrowed brow or have their arms folded. Also, remember that some C’s do not make eye contact as much when you are talking. Often, this isn’t personally directed at you, they are just trying to not be distracted, as they listen. Try not to be offended or take the body language of the High C to personally. They actually may be listening.
- KEEP A SAFE ZONE: Many Calculators may not like to be touched. That is certainly not universal and if a C is very comfortable with you, it may be OK, but as a general rule, C’s will not appreciate someone putting their hand on their shoulder or hugging as a greeting. They may not like it if you stand directly behind them and hover. Also, for you Seinfeld fans, Calculators would not be appreciative of the “Close Talker”!
Possible reasons for conflicts with a Calculator:
Influencers are usually good with people, like to use their hands when they talk and many enjoy constant conversation. They have energy and enthusiasm which makes them exaggerate some times. They also take cues of acceptance or rejection from other people’s body language. This can come in direct conflict with a Calculator type who has a “resting face” that seems to indicate disinterest in what the Influencer is saying. The Influencer type can feel like the C is not listening and is aloof. That may not be the case, but the I may feel like it is. The Calculator, on the other hand, can think that an Influencer type jumps around when giving information, is distracting with their high energy body language, and may come across to the C as emotional. The C may literally look away, during a conversation, in order to filter out just the facts that are being conveyed.
Utilizing your smart Calculator types to create appropriate and relevant agendas for a meeting, keeping the meeting on time and on task, along with reporting out themes are strengths of a Calculator in these types of settings.