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.
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/Introversion
● How do you gather information? Sensing/Intuition (Function 1)
● How do you make decisions? Thinking/Feeling (Function 2)
● How do you prefer to interact in the outside world? Judging/Perceiving
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
“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.