Throughout my life I have been vaguely aware that although I’m a fairly low-key person, who makes an effort to always be polite, unobtrusive and deferential in my interactions with other people, there is another side of me that tends to cause surprise (even to myself) when it comes to the fore.

And nope, I’m not talking about Stress Behaviour - although that can certainly catch people unawares when it appears. No, what I’m talking about is my very High Assertiveness Usual.

What’s a far corner, introverted Blue Usual like me, doing with such a top-of-the-grid, extroverted Assertiveness score?

Blue Usual, High Assertiveness

It wasn’t something I’d thought very much on until recently, when I read something that mentioned ‘Assertive Blues’.

“Hey, that’s me!” I thought, and it suddenly dawned on me that: a) there must be plenty of others like me, and b) we are probably a bit of a puzzle to people looking on.

Why? Because that Assertive Blue-ness may present something like this:

  • We’re generally happy keeping to ourselves, engaging with small groups and individuals, and staying on the fringes in larger meetings, social gatherings and events. We’re unlikely to want to be the centre of attention.
  • We’re low-key and probably don’t volunteer our ideas in large group settings - not because we don’t have clear ideas and opinions, but because we prefer to take time and get them clearly expressed on paper, through email, or one-on-one with key individuals.
  • Put us in a situation where the issue under discussion is our responsibility or of direct importance to us, where people seem to be missing the point and we feel it’s important to say something, or where we feel we have a valid contribution to make - and we may surprise you with our comfort in expressing our honest thoughts and perspectives, and what we think needs to happen.
  • “Where did that come from…?” / “I’ve never even heard them speak in a meeting before…” / “Huh, who knew…” may be some of the thoughts running through the heads of any on-lookers who’ve got used to seeing only our Blue-ness at play.
  • Once we’ve expressed our contribution, or utilised our comfort in taking charge to get things back on track, we’ll probably drift comfortably back to the fringes and to our own thoughts, and leave the talking to others…
  • We may even feel a little surprised by our own forthrightness and act extra ‘Blue’ to make up for it!

It may not be quite like that for all ‘Assertive Blues’, but I know for me (in part because of my even higher Assertiveness Need) the times when my Assertiveness is most visible is when I see a gap that needs filling, or a problem I can’t help but address. If no one else is taking charge I can quite comfortably step into the gap, but my more general Blue-ness keeps me from doing so unless I see the need.

After all, taking charge too often would eat into my desire for plenty of time and independence to think, reflect and strategise - and I definitely wouldn’t want to lose that!

If you have a Birkman Signature Report, why not compare your overall Usual style (as represented on the Map) with your individual component scores.

Do you have any standout scores that suggest an area where you may behave in a way that is opposite to the colour of your ‘standard’ Usual behaviour? e.g. Yellow Diamond but a very high score on a Green Component, or Red Diamond but a very high score on a Blue Component etc.

How does this combination play out for you? And does it provide you with a unique approach, strength or perspective that you can utilise in your role or context?