Management Development – Understanding Self

Tricia CunninghamWe’ve lived in our skins for as many years as we’ve been on this earth and many of us walk around in the naive belief that we know ourselves intimately. We take for granted our actions and when they create a difficulty for us (when we annoy someone or disappoint them) we often swiftly move on, or perhaps simply blame the other party. We rarely sit back and scratch beneath the surface to understand why we behave the way we do, and yet others are impacted by our actions. When an issue exists, managers or leaders often encourage us to look to training to solve the problem – hey, there must be a management course out there to solve the issue? Instead isn’t it time we looked to understand ourselves better? Isn’t it time to take responsibility for ourselves and consider what behaviours serve us well and what behaviours need to be swept away? Where do we start?

Personality Types
Each of us has a personality type with a distinct motivation that drives our actions and responses. Understanding our type and that of our colleagues provides us with the opportunity to work more effectively together. The starting point is to recognise that not everybody responds to situations and individuals in the way we do or indeed are motivated in the same way as . We need to get to grips with this and not understand it at a superficial level. When we really “get this” we understand how others function in the world and therefore how we can relate best to them. This is what’s at the heart of successful communication, successful working relationships.

enneagram management testing tool

Psychometric Tools
Using psychometric tools such as the Enneagram shines a light on our behaviours and provides us with insights we can use to help us interact with others more effectively. It acts as a mechanism for understanding ourselves. This tool reminds us that, while unique, we share common traits with others. Understanding what drives us, what lies behind our behaviours, helps us to identify ways in which we can change those behaviours. 

“When we use an objective psychometric tool we can often hear the findings more clearly.”

For example, when we recognise that we have a tendency to be defensive in the face of perceived criticism, then the next time someone provides us with critical feedback that insight into our behaviours creeps to the surface providing us with an opportunity to either continue being defensive or to pull ourselves back and be more open to what’s being said. Perhaps we’ve received such feedback either formally (annual appraisals) or informally but do we really hear it, do we really accept it? When we use an objective psychometric tool we can often hear the findings more clearly. We don’t allow ourselves to get caught up in another’s “agenda”, there is no agenda.

Re-framing Responses
Now if you add in an understanding of other people and what motivates them and we’ve potentially powerful insight into making relationships work.  Once we are aware of different personality types, we begin to see that our own style will not be equally effective with all types of people.  Now we can start to change how we manage our relationship with others.

“Surely this will help us create more effective work environments, better teamwork, less stressful interactions…”

Instead of expecting others to see things our way or to respond the way we want them to, we can come from a different perspective, we can reframe our responses, our reactions and thereby move them towards a more positive response. Surely this will help us create more effective work environments, better teamwork, less stressful interactions and overall better relationships with others. This is also a critical requirement if we have individuals reporting directly into us and is a key aid to management development. Using our insights into how we see others behave enables us to demonstrate effective leadership whether or not our title includes the word “leadership” and doesn’t every organisation want individuals to be effective leaders within the scope of their roles?

Tricia Cunningham

management effectiveness

 

 

 

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