Stabilisers vs Specialists vs All-rounders

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One way of categorising people, in terms of how they approach work, is to use a model that suggests there are three categories. The first, “Stabilisers” can work well in almost any situation and tend to maintain good performance levels regardless of the circumstances. At the other end of the spectrum we have those who are described as “Specialists”, they tend to do well in certain areas and not so well in others. In the middle we have people that are good all-rounders, who can cope with any situation or task thrown at them.

The idea of this article is to help you decide which category you fall into and how you can then utilise your natural strengths and abilities.

There are many things to look at here; Firstly you need to determine what sort of environments suit you. For example, if you are a “Stabiliser” then it is likely that you can perform extremely well in most situations. You will, however, be performing near the peak of your ability in all situations. This means that you will be able to maintain your performance if the task is simple enough, but it also means you have to work harder when performing in more complex tasks or under difficult circumstances.

As an “all-rounder” you can perform well in many different areas and do not necessarily have to work as hard as a “specialist” to achieve good results. However, if you find yourself in an unusual situation or the task is very complicated then it may not be possible for you to reach your full potential.

This model can help us understand why some people are able to handle a variety of different situations and others cannot cope with more than one type of activity at any time. The key here is to determine your strengths as quickly as possible and then utilise them in the appropriate situation. For example, if you are a “Stabiliser” then it will be important to ensure that you get involved in a wide range of different tasks throughout your career. This will help to keep you stimulated and fresh. If you are an “all rounder” you may find it more helpful to limit yourself to one or two activities at any given time. In this way you can ‘fine-tune’ your performance and ensure that you make the most of your abilities.

When trying to apply these ideas, it is useful to ask yourself a number of questions:-

Which categories best describes the type of person I am?

What types of environments do I work in and what impact does this have on my performance?

How much can I change my situation; for example, if you are an “all rounder” is it possible to focus more on one activity at a time?

By answering these questions you should be able to determine how you can best utilise your strengths. For example, if you are a “Stabiliser” and find that your performance is suffering in certain areas then it may help to look at changing jobs or even careers. If this proves not to be possible, you may want to try manipulating the environment (for example working in a team) to make it more suitable for your abilities.

You may find that you have a mixture of these characteristics, which is perfectly natural. All the same, it is important to be aware that by understanding how you work best and what suits you, your performance will improve and so too will your enjoyment.

Another way of thinking about this idea is to look at how we respond to different situations and tasks. For example, some people are more relaxed when they work alone, others prefer working in a team. This can have a big impact on our performance because these circumstances vary so much.

Some people find it easy to make their own decisions as opposed to relying on someone else’s decisions. Other people prefer to work within a team because it allows them to share ideas and expertise, and ensures that they do not make a mistake.

It is important to be aware of our preferences so that we are able to decide on the best type of activity for us. This will help us achieve good results and enjoy what we do as well.

As you can see, the way in which we perform is very much a result of our personality type and our experiences. However, it is often difficult to change these factors because they are influenced by our upbringing, education and social background. If this is the case then there are other things that we can do to improve our performance.

These include:-

Understanding how our personality affects our performance.

Figuring out what type of work we are best suited to do.

Try to keep an open mind about the kind of work we do, being aware that one day it may not be appropriate for us anymore.

Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by the demands made on us. This is perfectly natural but what we need to do is take control of the situation. One way that we can do this is by breaking our work down into its various parts and then prioritising them one at a time. This will help us to understand where we are going and keep our minds focused on achieving positive results.

The idea here is not to make our work sound easier, but rather to show that there are a number of different ways in which we can deal with it. If you want to develop your skills, try the following suggestions:-

Try and take on more tasks than you feel comfortable with. This will force you out of your comfort zone and allow you to improve your performance.   When working as part of a team try and take on tasks that you are not used to. It can be uncomfortable to do this but it will help you step outside your comfort zone and improve your performance. Try to vary what you are doing, for example this week concentrate on staying focused; next week choose another area that needs work. By doing this you will always be challenged and you will improve your performance. If you have a hobby or interest that is very different to your work, try incorporating elements of it into your workplace. For example if you enjoy swimming, think about using the same approach with work tasks; this might help you to become more focused on your job and so reduce stress levels at the same time.

If you are unhappy with the way in which your performance is going then try to look at things from a different perspective. Instead of focusing on what needs improving, think about what you have achieved and be proud of it. By doing this you will feel better about yourself, and so perform better too.

Remember that there is no magic bullet that will instantly improve your performance.   You need to work on it gradually over time and, as you do so, you will see the results for yourself.