I used to be shy.
I went to a strict all girls school in Hitchin which had it’s benefits but looking back, I think this knocked my confidence in many areas of my life. At 16 my (very strict) Dad got me a job as a Saturday girl at Woolworths as he knew one of the supervisors. I loved working there and the staff, mostly women, looked after me really well but I was painfully shy and had little confidence.
After I left school at 18 I got a job working in the civil service in the Lord Chancellor’s Department, now known as The Ministry of Justice. I hadn’t really given much thought to a career. I was greatly influenced by my family who told me that Uncle Bob had worked in the civil service and that it was a secure job with a good pension.
It was an admin job based in Hitchin County Court. I worked in all the departments, gaining knowledge and experience from how to issue a county court summons to clerking the court to managing divorce casework. I hadn’t realised how much I had learned until a new person was taken on and I was asked to train her. I was praised for my ability, something I wasn’t used to but it sprouted a little seed of confidence and for the first time in my life I began to think that I might have some potential. The Chief Clerk saw something in me and gave me encouragement to try for promotion. I was successful and this opened up some great opportunities. I also learned that praise and trust were extremely powerful motivators.
I transferred to a project management role near Holborn, managing building and maintenance projects for crown and county courts in London. I was by this time, a senior manager and as such I was put on a leadership programme that included MBTI and 360 degree feedback. This was a turning point in my life. I realised that I had a natural gift with people but learning more about personality types and behaviours was a revelation.
I embraced this new learning and applied it at every opportunity at work and home and began to see some remarkable results. I found that I was able to build rapport very quickly with people with whom I previously had not been naturally drawn to or didn’t know at all. I was able to communicate with people on a much deeper level in their preferred communication style which resulted in them going the extra mile for me, upping their commitment and loyalty.
I built and maintained strong teams and role modelled all the leadership skills that I had picked up over the years. After all that I had achieved I still doubted my ability at times, which I think is natural.
When I left the civil service to go into the education sector, out of the woodwork, colleagues sent me messages or called me to say what a massively positive impact I had had on their lives and careers. I remember one young woman in particular who told me that she would never had achieved all that she had done if it hadn’t been for my influence in her life, the support and encouragement and the special relationship she had felt. I was humbled by it.
Personality profiling has underpinned all that I have achieved and I have gone on to become an expert in personality profiling using the DiSC model which I love. I have a passion for people. I am genuinely interested in people, all people and find immense pleasure and reward when I help managers and senior managers find solutions to people problems or want to build, motivate and retain outstanding teams.
It’s all about the people.
I am no longer shy…………..but have my moments.