If you have gone to business school, I am sure at least one professor stressed to you the importance of self development. I graduated in 2006 and remember that personal growth tools were a popular topic at the Langdale College of Business. My sales management teacher had me hooked on John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership video tape series and Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Concept of Self Development
I learned to ask many questions, listen to people, give compliments, and to theoretically make people think that my idea was their idea… Five years later, my concept of self development is quite different. It is now a concept of developing one’s awareness and understanding of the self and others.
Awareness of Self
Self-Awareness means ‘catching yourself in the act’. As in: “At this present moment I am angry and not thinking straight.” It also means learning how you come across to other people. Imagine you were part of a reality TV series – which ‘character’ would you be?
It helps to ask other people how they perceive you. When I was an exchange student in eleventh grade (from Germany,) I was surprised to learn that my new American friends described me as rude, manipulative, selfish and arrogant. Self-awareness 101.
With more experience comes more self-awareness. My first few resumes included phrases like Fast learner and Excellent time management skills. For me, that is and was never true.
Understanding of Self
Here are the four preferences that make up a person’s personality type, according to the theories of Carl Jung and the personality assessment tool developed by the mother-daughter team Myers and Briggs. Can you determine what your four-letter personality is?
Where does your energy lie? Extraversion/IntroversionExtraverts seek breadth of knowledge and influence, while introverts seek depth of knowledge and influence.
Extraverts recharge and get their energy from spending time with people, while introverts recharge and get their energy from spending time alone.
Are you an E or an I?
How do you gather information? Sensing/Intuition (Function 1)
Individuals who prefer sensing are more likely to trust information that is in the present, tangible and can be understood by the five senses, while those who prefer intuition tend to trust information that is more abstract or theoretical and can be associated with other information by seeking a wider context or pattern.
Sensing individuals prefer to look for details and facts. For them, the meaning is in the data. On the other hand, individuals who prefer intuition may be more interested in future possibilities. For them, the meaning is in how the data relates to the pattern or theory.
How do you make decisions? Thinking/Feeling (Function 2)
Those who prefer
Those who prefer feeling tend to come to decisions by associating or empathizing with the situation, looking at it ‘from the inside’ and weighing the situation to achieve, on balance, the greatest harmony, consensus and fit, considering the needs of the people involved.
Are you a T or an F?
How do you prefer to interact in the outside world? Judging/Perceiving (judging here does not mean being judgmental)
Some people interact with the outside world when they are taking in information (function 1), using the Sensing preference or the Intuitive preference. Other people do their interacting when they are making decisions (function 2), using a Thinking preference or a Feeling preference.
People who prefer the judging function seem to favor a planned or orderly way of life, like to have things settled and organized, feel more comfortable when decisions are made, and like to bring life under control as much as possible.
People who prefer the perceiving function seem to favor a flexible and spontaneous way of life, and like to understand and adapt to the world rather than organize it.
Understanding of Others
There are sixteen ‘possible’ personality types. They each have different preferences. Not one type is right or wrong.
As a manager, it is your job to decrease drama and increase profits. Don’t create an army of introverted salespeople or offer Lady Gaga a job as an accountant.
Most importantly, learn to understand other people’s language without passing judgment.
“XYZ is a great idea,” can mean two different things coming from two different people:
Person 1: Let’s do this. Where do I start?
Person 2: I like that possibility. Let’s make a plan.
If you want to become good at managing all (psychological) types of people, start with knowing and understanding yourself and your weaknesses, then learn to acknowledge, accept and appreciate other people’s differences and strengths.
PS: A personality type does not have to define you indefinitely. Interesting video on Ted.com: What makes you, you?