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
Are you an E or an I?
How do you gather information? Sensing/Intuition (Function 1)S or an I?
How do you make decisions? Thinking/Feeling (Function 2)
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator
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)J or a P?
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.
PS: A personality type does not have to define you indefinitely. Interesting video on Ted.com: What makes you, you?