Tuesday, April 22, 2014

You vs. The Other’s You

As we reach End of the Year Review time, it is important to reflect back on the previous year, not only in terms of performance, but also behavior. The metrics will fall as they do, and there are certain actions that can be taken to improve them, but what about your behavior? Is it possible to change how you act or who you are at the core? Changing how you act is possible (see my second post The Power of Saying Hello In The Workplace), but is it possible to change who you are? Some studies state that who you are as a person is settled before you reach your teenage years, much like one’s height. But I disagree with this point. I believe that we have the ability to change who we are, and it is through a series of self-reflection that we can do so. So how do you go about this? There are many tools/techniques that you can use, and I will touch on a few of them: 

Johari Window

This tool was created in 1955 to help bridge the gap between how you view yourself and how others view you. By choosing 5-6 characteristics about yourself, you begin to piece together the side of yourself that you acknowledge; this step is then completed by others to build together what they know. The results are categorized into four quadrants (see picture below).

Johari Window Quadrants
Are you the same person in front of people as you are behind closed doors? Should you be?

Ideally, in a self-realized world, most of the categories would be in the Known Self area, with very little in the Hidden Self and Blind Self category. Some traits could fall into the Unknown Self area, simply because they do not apply, or also because they are traits that you do not yet possess. The Unknown Self is an area for potential. However, in most cases, there are traits that fall into the Hidden and Blind Self area that should be examined. There may be some traits that you possess that do not need to be shared publicly (Hidden Self), but there should be very few things that others would know about you that you do not know yourself (Blind Self). This can lead to being viewed as having a facade, which is typically considered a negative characteristic to have.

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI)

Another great tool to use is a conflict assessment tool, like the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI). These can typically be purchased individually, or you will find that many organizations purchase them as well for all team mates to take.

TKI Graphic
After completing a survey, the TKI will give you a report out of your go-to approach to conflict (see the chart below). The tool asks some of the same questions over and over again, just phrased differently, so it doesn’t allow you to choose the “right” answers. Although many would argue that being collaborative is the best approach, this may not be appropriate in every situation. But knowing how you react during moments of conflict will allow you to recognize how you would normally act and then assess whether this is the correct approach to take. Feel like you are always accommodating everyone else? This tool not only provides you insight into how you deal with conflict, it also gives you tips on how to improve or switch tactics.

There are no “right” answers

I took it myself a few years back and highly recommend it. The organization CPP has developed many tools similar to this one, so check out their website to see if others may assist as well.

360-degree Review

I mentioned this in another post, but this is another way to gather feedback about your performance at multiple levels.

Want to open the door to your boss’s office for feedback? Want to know what your co-workers really think?

The takeaway from this, as a pitfall to avoid, is that this review should be for gaining feedback only, not as a way to grade someone’s performance for merit increases or promotion. It should involve not only taking the assessment, but also a follow-up meeting, or a series of meetings, to discuss what was learned and next steps. 

Deep Thoughts Before Your Review

Review time can be a very difficult time of year. Hopefully your manager/supervisor has been providing timely feedback, positive or negative, throughout the year, resulting in very few surprises; however, this is not always the case. 

Listen to the feedback and see what you can do to improve. Don't agree with your manager? Then set about to prove them wrong. Upset about what you heard? Listen to the feedback, internalize it, and then forget about it. Don't allow it to overwhelm you, but instead use it to grow. 

Thank you again for taking the time to read my post! 

Do you think your co-workers would describe you in the same terms that you describe yourself? Leave a comment below. 

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  1. I totally agree, that we as people are not one hundred percent set in who we are before our teenage years. Most people tend to grow more into their own skins the older they get. Personally I can say in the past few years I have grown into a different person than I was when I was in late teens.

    1. Definitely! It's good because if I was the same person now as I was when I was teenager, I would be in trouble. Luckily, the tools can be used multiple times as the years pass as a check point.

      Thanks for the response!

      PS: I like your blog too. Keep up the great work!

  2. Hey hun! I just wanted to share, I nominated you for the Liebster Award! Check it out on my blog!


    1. Oh my goodness! Thank you!

      I am going to respond here shortly to your questions. I very much appreciate it!

  3. Hahah I was going to nominate you too but Avie T beat me to it! Looking forward to reading your replies!