Decode and Reload: Personality Gaps in the Workplace

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This is a candid talk about how we have identified our own personality traits and what we do to create new habits that help us overcome our communications weaknesses.

Let’s get real for a minute. We’re all flawed humans, most of us developers were originally attracted to programming and developing because interacting with computers just makes a lot of sense. In the end, though, we all need to be able to work together. Rare are the days where a web project doesn’t involve a client, a project manager, some business decisions, some business meetings, and lots of conferences.

Josh Miller, a long time contributor to the Drupal community, will document what the large distributed team he works with does to identify team member’s personalities and smokescreens using various tools. Some of the tools that will be discussed:

  • The DISC* spectrum (Dominance, Influence, Support, and Caution) A way of defining dominant personality traits and suggestions on how an I (Josh) and a D (Shawn) can communicate effectively.

  • BAT** (Behaviour, Attitude, Technique) method for determining how you view and how your peers view your modus operandi.

  • EDP*** (Employee Development Plan) method for annual reviews of progress.

A quick run-through of the various dominant personalities and where both Josh and Shawn fall. Josh will briefly share his own experience of being very surprised at his personality chart and why that made him develop new habits of organization and lessening old habits of relationship building.

Shawn McCabe, the CTO of the same distributed team, will share how recognizing his own personality flaws have led to huge gains in communication and overall success in his position of leading multiple teams of developers. As someone who struggles with empathy and understanding others, he will discuss how he daily recognizes his weak points and deliberately does certain things even though they feel silly or like a waste of time, but ultimately bridges the gap between his personality and the successful outcomes we all want.

At the end of the session, we hope that sharing this positive case study and the tools we use will spread the idea that we can identify ourselves without judgement and learn a few new tricks to help ourselves and those around us cope.


* DISC = DISC is a behavior assessment tool based on the DISC theory of psychologist William Moulton Marston, which centers on four different behavioral traits, which today are called: dominance, influence, support, and caution.

** BAT = Behaviour, Attitude, Technique. It’s a 30+ question exercise that helps you associate how your behaviours, attitudes, and techniques affect the workplace environment around you. This can be very eye-opening towards identifying gaps.

*** EDP = Employee Development Plan. A litany of questions that sound like you’re re-interviewing for a better job, introspection for the win.


Session Track

Being Human

Experience level


Drupal Version


Session Time Slot(s)

04/27/2017 - 14:15 to 04/27/2017 - 15:15