What’s your favorite kind of cookie? What topping would you never want on a pizza? What memes make you laugh? What’s your favorite podcast? What time is too early to text you? Chances are, your friend with Individualization keeps this type of information about you in a secret mental database that they may not even be aware of themselves! It comes naturally to those of us with Individualization, a Relationship Building Strength, to see what makes each person or situation unique. We can quickly tailor our approach to make sure people get what they need to be happy and successful.
People with Individualization thrive in one-on-one interactions, because focusing on just one person makes it easy for us to adjust our approach as needed. We’re so tuned in to each person’s needs that it can be hard when we have to focus on the needs of a group and make decisions about whose needs to prioritize. We enjoy having an opportunity to create a customized approach to each project, based on the available resources and unique needs of each situation.
An example of my Individualization in action is when I’m conducting in-depth interviews for qualitative research. I’m good at building trust with participants because I pay close attention to the personal details that they share, and then I circle back to them throughout our conversation. Combined with my Discipline Strength, I’m able to follow strict research protocols while also making each participant feel like a unique individual.
Groups can be hard. While I enjoy the one-on-one interviews, conducting focus groups is more difficult and taxing for me. When I need to spread out my attention across a group, I find it harder to tailor my approach and create the connections I want with each person. I usually find these types of situations to be emotionally draining. When I absolutely must lead something with a group, I find that I am happiest when the group is small (3-4 people) and when people are relatively similar in what they need from me.
Additionally, as you can imagine, Individualization does not like using a one-size-fits-all approach. We focus more on equity, rather than equality. Instead of giving everyone the same thing, Individualization believes that each person should receive according to their needs. We can feel frustrated when we’re being asked to come up with a standardized process for the sake of saving time, money, energy, or other resources. Not only does this leave Individualization with nothing to do, but it also feels like setting others up for failure, which feels deeply wrong to us. On the flip side, we can also wear ourselves out with too much customizing and tailoring, so we need to be careful that we’re not burning ourselves out in the process.
Last, people with Individualization may feel frustrated working in a system where people want to standardize our roles and responsibilities. To someone with Individualization, this lack of flexibility around our interests may feel as if we are not able to spread our wings and grow in the ways we seek.
On a more humorous note, it is usually annoying to those of us with Individualization when a workplace gives everyone the same end-of-year gift. Thank you, but we don’t all need or want another hoodie or water bottle with our workplace logo on it!
Individualization is a great Strength for ensuring you have happy customers (or members, patients, participants, etc.). We see others as distinct entities, and we are committed to meeting each person where they are.
Need someone who can figure out what makes people tick and make everyone feel special and successful? Call someone with Individualization!
By Guest Blogger, Anna S.
Interested in learning more about how to put Strengths to work for yourself or your team?