Strength #3 – Relator

by on Feb.12, 2011, under Personal

#3 – Relator

From the book:

Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships.  In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know.  You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people — in fact, you may have other themes that cause you to enjoy the thrill of turning strangers into friends — but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends.  You are comfortable with intimacy.  Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship.  You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours.  You know that this kind of closeness implies a certain amount of risk — you might be taken advantage of — but you are willing to accept that risk.  For you a relationship has value only if it is genuine.  And the only way to know that is to entrust yourself to the other person.  The more you share with each other, the more you risk together.  The more you risk together, the more each of you proves your caring is genuine.  These are you steps toward real friendship, and you take them willingly.

Impressive.  Again, please ignore the bad grammar.  I am tempted to write a letter to their editor…

What does Relator mean to me?

I like this one.  I almost feel like the Relator theme is what makes me human.  I don’t mean that like “Hah, I’m a machine, nothing can stop me” but I mean this is the theme that drives my social side.  The description above is very accurate, grammar aside.  I do work harder for & with people who I genuinely care about and who genuinely care about me, and I can tell if it’s not genuine.  I do want to understand people, their motives, their history, and I want them to understand me as well.  I believe this is a very powerful theme and I’m glad it’s one of mine!

Where does Relator show evidence in my life?

Oh, where should I begin?  I love to relate to people.  I love to have deep conversations about not only what’s going on in life (mine or theirs) but also why and how we can affect it.  I like to understand the natural psychology of humans.  I like to understand where their point of view originates, how they came to their present opinions, etc.  I think I have an excellent ability to extract myself from a situation and look at it from many other angles, and it is this Relator strength that allows for this.

I think the Relator theme also can have the effect of making me look like I’m playing the Devil’s Advocate, or “just trying to be difficult.”  Clearly this could be a problem when dealing with a person who is not strong in the Relator theme.  That person may not immediately understand why I would choose to argue another side of an issue, and could therefore become aggravated!  There’s an interesting conundrum in this theme, isn’t there?  On the one hand you’re trying to relate to another party, possibly one that isn’t represented.  On the other hand, you can relate to the person you’re debating against, too.  How’s that for internal conflict?  Due to this intriguing paradox, the Relator theme is not always simple, but certainly can be complex and confusing, even stressful!

That’s not the only interesting paradox, either.  Think about that person that you’re debating with.  If they aren’t strong in the Relator theme… then not only might they not contemplate the angle you’re trying to show them, but they won’t even understand why you’re trying to bring it up.  See, that person may not even be able to relate to you!  That’s hard for us Relators to Relate to, can you Relate?

How can I use Relator to my advantage?

The interesting thing about the Relator theme is that it’s what gives me the ability to  learn what drives the people around me, and therefore it leads to the ability to motivate those people.  After all, if you can’t relate to someone, how are you going to understand why they do what they do?  A carrot on a stick won’t lead a horse that doesn’t like carrots!

Here’s an excerpt about how to manage a strong Relator:

Ask him to build genuine trusting relationships with the critical people that you want to retain.  He can be one of the human ties that bind good people to your organization.

This seems like good advice.  You work hard to hire good employees, right?  Have you ever put a model airplane together?  Even if all the pieces fit together perfectly, nothing will hold a model together like a little glue.  Relators are the glue that will keep your employees from straying!

Here’s another:

Help him know the goals of his colleagues.  He is more likely to bond with them when he knows their goals.

Makes sense, right?  A Relator needs to understand why a coworker prioritizes things the way they do, and once they understand that, they can perhaps predict that person a little more.  For example, I have a coworker who is very quick to respond to help desk tickets, regardless of how engrossed he may be in another project at that time.  As a Relator, I recognize that while our team is not measured on number of tickets closed or time to close, this is important to this individual, likely because he’s been recognized for it in the past.  When we recently both began to work on a ticket at the same time, rather than chiding him for closing a ticket that I was working on, I simply asked him to keep me informed when he’s already working on it by copying me via email or somehow letting me know not to spend my time needlessly.

So, here’s how I’m going to try to use the Relator theme to my advantage:

  1. One of the Gallup Q12 questions is “Do you have a best friend at work?” — I think Relators are the key to a good score on this question.  Relators are likely to score pretty high here due to their nature, but a Relator may also be the person that comes to another’s mind when they answer this question.
  2. I’ll continue to use this ability to try to represent points of view that may not be present in a debate, wherever I can… however it is necessary to remember to relate to the others present!

I’ve enjoyed delving into this theme.  It’s been quite the eye-opener.  The Relator theme is a strong one and I can definitely see how I emulate it, and I think it’s incredibly important that I now understand how this strength can be misused!  That’s the point of all of this, right?  To understand the tools we have, so we can use them right!  You don’t use a cleaver to comb your hair, or a hammer to brush your teeth!  Can you relate?

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