Lessons from The Heat

I recently watched the movie The Heat starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure if I liked the The-Heatmovie or not, and please don’t take this as an official recommendation. However, I will say that I found it fascinating to watch the interaction between the two main characters in the story.

Any normal person might watch this movie and see it as the story of a straight-laced, by the book FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) and a street smart, rough-around-the-edges cop (Melissa McCarthy). But not me…no story is that simple for this personality trainer. I saw two strong Red personalities who were clashing over the “right” way to handle a situation.

heat-gallery1I saw one Red whose secondary personality was Yellow and the other one who was what I call a Red Blue. Both were confident, driven, focused and ambitious. But one was outspoken and impulsive while the other other followed had systems and plans and protocol. While the story itself was sometimes funny, yet often “over the top,” what I saw were two personalities interacting in a way that echoes what I observe in real life.

When it comes to working WITH someone, most Yellows have fun working with other Yellows, Blues like working with other Blues, and Greens feel comfortable working with other Greens. But when two Reds try to work together, more often than not, there is conflict…a power struggle. Reds tend to be quick to decide what is “right” in a situation but if the two Reds have come to different conclusions about what “right” looks like, conflict is almost always going to follow. This is especially true when the Reds have opposite secondary personalities as we saw with the characters in The Heat.

For two Reds to work through their differences and successfully achieve their goals Bullock McCarthy The Heattogether, typically two things need to happen. First, they have to agree on the end goal. In this example, catching the bad guy (don’t want to give too many spoilers in case this post inspires you to go watch the movie) had to be more important to each of them than the process itself. Secondly, they have to figure out how to use their differences to move them both closer to the end goal. They must be willing and able to learn from each other.

The Heat may or may not be your type of movie, but if you watch it, I hope you see some of the characters’ personality traits in yourself as well as your colleagues, co-workers, employees or supervisors. We can, at least sometimes, learn real life lessons from Hollywood.

Have you watched The Heat? What do you think of my assessment of their personalities? What other movies have you seen lately where you see different personalities interacting with each other?


The Truth About Personality Tests

Are they accurate? Do factors like age, occupation and what activities you have been doing earlier in the day affect your results? Are they actually helpful or are they just for fun?

First, let me start by reminding everyone that when I am talking about “personality tests” I wiredthatwayam NOT referring to the “What animal would you be?” or “Which type of a friend are you?” quizzes that I see all over Facebook. I am talking about honest-to-goodness, well-researched, genuine assessment tools like DISC, Myers-Briggs, or, my personal favorite, Wired That Way.

The next thing to really think about is that no matter how well a test or assessment tool is designed, the results will only be as accurate as the responses that are given. Here are my tips for giving the best responses that will give you the best results:

1. Take your time. Read the instructions! The assessment tool I recommend has definitions in the back that will help people understand better the traits being identified. If you take the test before realizing that is there, it could affect quite a few of your answers…which in turn could affect the outcome of the test.

2. Differentiate between natural behavior patterns and learned traits. Answer each question based on your NATURAL behavior and NOT the way you would respond based on years of working in a certain field or taking on a certain role. There is nothing wrong with possessing learned skills, but they are not good indicators of your natural personality type.

3. Have someone else take the test for you. Unlike cheating on a test in school, having someone you live with or work with can often give you the most honest answers. While it is tempting to answer the way we WANT to be seen, those who know us well and have seen us at our best, and at our worst, may be able to give the most accurate answers.

I do believe that personality tests can be a great tool for self-assessment and personal growth. Just don’t get too hung up on specific scores. Focus on understanding patterns, motivations, and natural strengths and weakness. Strive to be the best “you” that you can be and practice learning the positive traits of the other personalities while remembering that doing that won’t change who you are.