The Value of Knowing Exactly Who You Are


In your hurry-up and get-it-done world, when do you take the time to focus on who you are and who you want to become? Not often, I bet. Although it may seem self indulgent to some, there is great value to you personally and professionally in spending reflective time with assessment (not “tests”) reports and feedback that will help you to get to know yourself better.

You may contact Human Resources or get a referral to a consultant/coach who can help you with finding assessments with some scientific rigor (this means they have been validated, providing some assurance of the accuracy of the results. Note that this does NOT include most of the assessments you can find on Facebook or the internet).

The list below includes some of my recommendations for areas that will help you to become more self aware, including some my own regularly used assessments and why I think they are important.

Strengths and Weaknesses: LEA 360™,  also asking for feedback through a tool like Rypple. Once you are familiar with your strengths and weaknesses, you can hire people who “fill in the blanks” for what you lack (when possible) and delegate to those who have strengths in areas you don’t. Some of the most effective leaders use this strategy to develop great teams.

Preferences: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Knowing your preferences is a way of knowing your fall-back behaviors. Generally MBTI can inform your natural ways of being [example of a well known MBTI dichotomy: extraversion (focus on the outer world) and introversion (focus on the inner world)]. Once you are able to recognize your preferences, you will be able to understand why you do what you do and what you want to do more of. This will help you to become more balanced as a person and as a leader.

Values: Values Card Sort: Becoming conscious and intentional in using your top 3-5 values (since this is about as many as most people can remember) will help you to stay in integrity with tough decisions and the way you outwardly express your values when you communicate. For instance, “When I provide feedback to my staff, is it provided in harmony with my top values of kindness and honesty? If not, how can I give the feedback in such a way that it will reflect those values?”

Communication Style: Platinum Rule™. Knowing your natural style of communication helps you to understand your communication strengths and gaps. It can also help you to understand others’ style so you can adapt your messages for increased understanding. For instance, if you are a fast-paced communicator, learning to recognize and adapt to those with a slower paced communication style will help you to provide messages that are received with more clarity.

Dealing with Conflict: Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument: A leader deals with overt and hidden conflict several times a day. In my experience, very few leaders know how to deal with conflict effectively. Knowing your natural way of handling conflict and learning other ways to respond to conflict is important for coming to resolution.

Learning about yourself is not “touchy feely crap”. When combined with a desire to develop yourself it can help you to become a better leader.

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Mary Jo Asmus is the founder and President of Aspire Collaborative Services LLC, an executive coach, writer, internationally recognized thought leader, and a consultant who partners with organizations of all kinds to develop and administer coaching programs. She has “walked in your shoes” as a former leader in a Fortune company.


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