Over the years more people than I can count have told me that my personality and behavioural styles can irk others and cause trouble. For those who know me well it comes as no surprise that on the Myers Briggs I come out as an ESTJ. Put another way I am a high D and a high I in the DISC behavioural style. I can be forceful, single minded and I do not suffer fools. I can also be the life of the party, an over communicator and start projects with gusto. I struggle to finish tasks, I live life in the clouds and absolutely hate to be down in the weeds with the detail. You see I know myself really well. I have spent a lifetime dealing with my demons and looking right into the good, bad and ugly of my innermost being. I am not afraid to face myself in all my glory and point at the flaws… and the positives.
However, over the years I have met more people than I can count who do not know themselves and struggle with people who know themselves. These people struggle to understand why you will stand your ground when they see a way to cut corners. They struggle to see why you insist on going the extra mile when they want a quick fix. Most of all they struggle when people point out that they are not up to scratch.
When I begin my lectures with new youth work students I ask them for 100%. I tell them they must know themselves and know their content to the highest standard. I tell them that if they do not want to do this they can leave my sector now. I do not want people who play a half assed game doing a number on the vulnerable young people I care about. As you could imagine this gets under the skin of a number of my students.
I believe that youth work is an amazing profession. I believe that most of our colleagues are there for the best and to be the best. I believe we make a difference. But all of this is due to a focus on becoming better than we are right now and a clear understanding that only the best will do. These are the youth workers I want in my sector. These are the youth workers I expect in the sector. If you don’t meet the standard (and your not trying to become better) I will tell you… and I expect that if I was missing the mark you would tell me.
Don’t be precious about where you are at. Remember no one person is the Ultimate Youth Worker it is a journey. We all have more to learn and more to become. When someone says that something won’t work and that the way you are doing it ain’t up to scratch cop it on the chin and fix it. Personalities and behaviour types should be the last thing that comes into the equation not the first. In the end get used to people saying you are a trouble maker. Standing up for your principles makes people who are not there yet uneasy.