Meta Programs Sort by Self/Sort by Others

Do you work with someone who acts like a ‘doormat’ and always ‘puts themself out’ for others at their own expense?  Or perhaps you work with someone who is downright selfish, who is always putting their own needs ahead of the rest of the team.  The ‘sort by self/sort by others’ program will assist you to better understand why it is that people behave as they do within a group.

What do they mean?

People with a ‘self sort’ attend to their own needs first.  For example, if there were a birthday cake at a party, they would take the biggest piece before anyone else had a chance to do so.  In a team, they will often only agree to take on work that will serve their own needs/purpose.

People with the ‘others sort’ attend to look after others before they address their own requirements.  Sort by others people are often attracted to customer service roles.  They will tend to look after others, notice what their needs are, and put themself out for team members.  The disadvantage of constantly putting themselves out is a tendency to feel burnt out or even resentment toward the very people they are assisting.

Dealing with these two types

Manage ‘sort by self’ people by teaching them to become more aware and sensitive of others’ needs.  Encourage them to take the time to assess what other people require or desire.  Show them how good they could feel by putting themself ‘out’ a bit and by helping other people.  ‘Sort by self’ often think of ‘sort by others’ as ‘unassertive doormats’.  Manage this judgement by rewarding ‘teamwork’.

Manage the ‘sort by others’ by encouraging them to develop an understanding and sense of what they need in a situation.  Get them to assess and take control of their own needs particularly in a group.    They often think the ‘sort by self’ is selfish.  Manage this judgement by rewarding assertiveness.

Overall it is good to develop some flexibility on this continuum.