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Discover Yourself – Self-aware leadership

Thinking of the most important skills for a leader to have, most people will suggest qualities such as vision, charisma, determination, or discipline. But there’s one quality which rarely gets acknowledged in discussions about leadership but that is absolutely crucial, and that is self-awareness.

The concept of self-awareness covers two related aspects of personality: internal self-awareness, meaning how accurately a person perceives their own values, strengths, passions, and so on, and external self-awareness, meaning the degree to which a person knows how they are perceived by others around them. Both of these aspects are essential for effective leadership.

The importance of self-awareness in business

A recent article in the MIT Sloan Management Review was written on the basis of interviews with more than 2000 international executives, and it found that self-awareness was crucial for leadership. In fact, the authors Ginka Toegel and Jean-Louis Barsoux argued that self-awareness is the single most important capability for a leader to develop. This is because to be successful, a leader needs to know about their own limitations and idiosyncrasies in order to allow for these factors when making decisions.

Self-aware leadership isn’t just important as an executive skill – it can affect a company’s bottom line too. A study by the Korn Ferry Institute found that in companies with employees who scored well on measures of self-awareness, there were significantly higher rates of return of stock when compared to companies with employees that had more blind spots about their own performance. Another study found that a high score in self-awareness was the strongest predictor of overall success. So self-awareness is more than just a useful add-on skill: it is an essential part of getting results in business.

Blind spots

The same Korn Ferry Institute study mentioned previously also found that 79% of the participants had at least one blind spot in their self-awareness – meaning that 79% of people had a skill that they considered to be a strength but that their co-workers considered to be a weakness of theirs. This shows just how hard it is to be truly self-aware at work.

As we’ve discussed before, people are generally pretty poor at assessing their own performance. The problem is that in order for a person to know if they are a skilled performer in, say, communication, they have to know a lot about the topic already and know enough about what makes a person a good communicator. If someone lacks this knowledge, they are likely to overvalue their own performance because they don’t know what they don’t know.

When trying to cultivate self-aware leadership, it is not enough for a leader to think about their own perceptions of their strengths and weaknesses. They need to gather feedback from co-workers too.

Perception is reality

These difficulties with self-assessment are why receiving feedback is so key for self-aware leadership. Often, feedback from co-workers can differ markedly from how managers perceive themselves. For example, managers want to be seen as open to new ideas and attentive to their employees, so they will often rate themselves highly in these skill areas. But employees might disagree – they might find that the manager is dismissive of issues they raise, or is overly rigid in their approach.

The important thing for leaders to realize is that when it comes to skills assessment, perception is reality. If underlings feel that their manager does not take them seriously, then this is the reality – no matter what the manager thinks about their own skills. Real world examples show how even a leader who believes that they are doing everything right, and who is getting good results for the company, can be perceived as a problem by co-workers.

Achieving self-awareness

Given how crucial self-awareness is for leadership, it is notable that it is rare for the topic to be covered in MBA courses or other forms of business education. Leaders can’t rely on their existing knowledge to achieve self-awareness – it requires active and ongoing examination and practice. Some of the ways that leaders can improve their self-awareness include gaining information by soliciting and listening to feedback, taking leadership coaching, and by taking personality assessments. To get the most from these information sources, leaders need to train themselves and promote the concept of effective listening: not just nodding along while others talk but actively engaging with them to understand their perspective. The more a leader listens, the more informed they will be about how they are perceived and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

Other changes can help to encourage a self-aware leadership style too, such as adopting daily mindfulness practice to improve awareness of one’s own state and emotional responses, and taking regular breaks so that decisions are contemplated carefully instead of being made on autopilot.

The makings of a good leader

It’s worth remembering that self-awareness is a key skill for a leader, but that doesn’t mean that there is only one way to lead effectively. For example, a leader might be conflict averse and struggle with giving negative feedback – but as long as they are aware of this, they can get support from other members of their leadership team when they need to have a tough conversation. Conversely, if a leader has a very direct communication style and has a tendency to come across as harsh, then they can call on more diplomatic communicators from their team to help them make a good impression in meetings. In either case, the leader has some strengths and some weaknesses, but by being aware of these and surrounding themselves with people with complementary skill sets, a more effective team can be formed.

To learn more about how personality assessments can help to develop self-awareness, visit www.discoveryourself.com, and check back to our blog soon for more articles like this one.

Personality Types

One way to help people understand their personalities and the personalities of others is to use psychometric assessments which sort people into different personality types. Today we’re going to dive into the basics of one assessment that’s often used in a business context to help managers and co-workers understand each other better: The Insights Discovery system.

Insights Discovery is based on the work of psychologist Carl Jung, and sorts people into four colors, then eight personality types and ultimately into one of 72 unique wheel positions. Let’s talk about each of these distinctions so you can understand more about the Insights Discovery System, and how it can dramatically improve communication.

The Four Colors: Approach and Goals

The four colors used in Insights are cool blue, earth green, sunshine yellow, and fiery red. Each of these colors represents two key related pieces of information: the individual’s outlook on life and the way in which they make decisions. This also impacts the way in which a person is perceived by others.

Cool blue is displayed by someone who is very exacting, who wants everything they do to be to a high standard, who is cautious and thoughtful. They are deliberate in their actions and work within a formal structure. In a group they strive for understanding, and they can be perceived by others as thoughtful and analytical but sometimes distant and unemotional.

Earth green is displayed by someone who is caring and encouraging and who values stability and supporting others. They are happy to share with others and are patient when teaching a new skill. Their ultimate goal is harmony and in a group they foster consensus. They are seen by others as agreeable and relaxed but can also be seen as mild and docile.

Sunshine yellow is displayed by a person who is fun and loves interacting with others. They value socializing and they are enthusiastic around others, particularly when demonstrating a skill. When working in a group, they desire recognition. They are dynamic and spontaneous, which can lead others to see them as disorganized.

Fiery red is displayed by someone who is action driven, and who is certain and confident. They enjoy a challenge and are often competitive and determined to succeed. This determination means that their goal is achievement and overcoming challenges, however, their single-minded focus can sometimes lead others to see them as impatient.

From Four Colors to Eight Types

Of course, no person is entirely described by one of the colors above: We are all a mix of different traits that we will display differently based on our environment and mood. And, a person can be a mix of different color categories too. From this comes the idea of eight personality types, where in addition to types based on the four colors, there are four more types which represent a blend of two colors.

These eight types map onto the work of Jung, who defined personality as four aspects (sensation, intuition, thinking, and feeling) along one axis (extroversion versus introversion).

The Eight Types: Style and Qualities

The eight types of Jung can be related to the four colors to understand both what a person’s motivation is and how they work in groups, plus understand their underlying personality type. The types are as follows:

Director (fiery red)
Extraverted Thinking
A director is a person who is focused primarily on results. Their biggest priority is to get the most important task they have done to a high standard and on time, and they are not afraid to make big decisions and to implement those decisions assertively. These qualities make them excellent leaders, but they need to be careful so they don’t come across as pushy or impatient.

Motivator (fiery red and sunshine yellow)
Extraverted Intuition
The motivator has the same drive to get results as the director, but this is tempered by an emphasis on positive thinking and a sense of fun. This person has high levels of enthusiasm and can get a group motivated to take on a task or to overcome a challenge. Their ability to enthuse people into implementing plans makes them well suited to roles where they inspire their staff to achieve their goals.

Inspirer (sunshine yellow)
Extraverted Feeling
The inspirer’s greatest strength is their people skills, as they enjoy being around others and have a good understanding of how to motivate and inspire them. But they are not just cheerleaders – they are creative types who can find people-oriented solutions to problems that other people might not think of. Their skill at persuasion can make them good sales people as well as creative team members.

Helper (sunshine yellow and earth green)
Introverted Intuition with Extraverted Sensing
The helper has the sociable aspects of the inspirer but also a more grounded, caring aspect. Instead of wild creativity they have a more solid, supportive, practical approach. They enjoy helping others most of all, and they are willing to be flexible and to see others’ points of view. Their skill at sharing ideas make them excellent mediators as they are good at helping a group to build consensus.

Supporter (earth green)
Introverted Feeling
The supporter is someone who prefers to stay out of the spotlight and to facilitate the work of the group. They are excellent listeners and can empathize with others, so they make good counselors. They are highly loyal to their team, and they like to work supporting others and group rather than just driving results on their own.

Coordinator (earth green and cool blue)
Introverted Sensing
The coordinator is highly organized and puts an emphasis on planning and time management. They have a practical approach to what can be achieved and what steps will be required to implement a plan. They make excellent administrative staff and project managers.

Observer (cool blue)
Introverted Thinking
The observer is detail oriented and cares about everything being correct and defined to a high standard. They are strong at analysis and at meeting rules or guidelines, making them well suited to testing or compliance roles, and really any role that required analytical, practical thought. Often a great fit for legal, financial and technological pursuits.

Reformer (cool blue and fiery red)
Extraverted Sensing with Introverted Intuition

The reformer wants both high standards and strong results, which makes them extremely determined. They have a strength in monitoring performance and discipline, making them well suited to roles where decisions might need to be made based upon logic and data, rather than people and relationships.

If this initial overview has piqued your interest and you want to know more about Jung’s personality types, check back soon as that will be the subject of our next post. You can also learn more at www.scottstedtalk.com.

Success, One Step at a Time

success

The path to success isn’t found through a formula. Success doesn’t just happen because someone got lucky, or won the lottery. Success looks different for everyone, which is what makes defining success and following your own path that much more important.

There were eight steps outlined in the last eight blogs to show one way how success can be achieved using your passion and what you want your life to look like. The first step was to find your passion, which is a statement that can seem simpler than it is in practice. Finding your passion can take time, but think about what you would do if you didn’t have to worry about money or time. What would you do?

Steps to success

The second step to success was to define success as it pertained to you; this doesn’t mean success as society, your family, or your job defines it. Step three was to know your personality, what you are good at and who you are at both work and home. Step four was to set goals which align with your passions and can be placed into categories like your physical health, your spiritual life, your family, your friendships, and your financial and work lives.

Step five was to think. Think about your goals once you’ve written them down and work towards attaining those goals, one day and one step at a time. These accomplishments may not seem like much, but in the long term, they reveal much more about who you are and how far you’ve come. Setting your mind to your goals is a powerful tool.

The next two steps were the most essential. Operate with integrity both at home and at work, and execute your plan to utilize your passion every day and find success. Inspiring respect in others is a by-product of living with integrity and executing your personal plan for success on your terms.

This isn’t the end

Of course, finding success isn’t the end of the line. Failures happen, and success is temporary, but continuing to strive towards personal success creates good habits and brings you closer to living out your passions consistently. Giving back to the people who helped you accomplish your goals is essential, as is giving your knowledge and experience back to others who may be on their journeys to success behind you.

Carl Jung opened up an entirely new world with his discoveries, and new discoveries in the psychology of personality and the self are still being made today. Insights Discovery is based squarely on Jung’s theories, and as such, it is an invaluable tool in helping people to understand themselves and others. Schedule me, Scott Schwefel, as your keynote speaker, and I will come to your group and address the differences in personalities in a truthful, fun, and easily understood way. Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to share my blogs with the color energies you work with!

Giving Back

giving back

You are on a roll! You have accomplished a few of the goals you have set for yourself and are seeing improvements in your personal, professional, and social lives. What happens now? There will always be a few setbacks when it comes to shaping your life and accomplishing your goals, but over time you may find that setting your attention towards your goals makes them easier to attain.

You may start to feel better, not only mentally, but physically as well. If one of your goals was to eat better and exercise more, you should feel the physical benefits of this new lifestyle as your body grows healthier and more energetic. If your goals were professionally oriented, you might have gotten closer to a coveted position within your company or finally settled into a new career that is more closely aligned with your passions.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead to the future means continually assessing and evaluating your goals to see what you have accomplished in the last few months or years. Knowing how far you’ve come can give you a much-needed mental boost on those days when you feel like you haven’t accomplished very much. Take this newfound energy and success and channel it not only towards yourself, but towards other people as well.

You can imagine that you are in a place of growth as you accomplish your goals and create a life you are passionate about. This direction leads you towards places of influence over others, whether it is within your family or your professional sphere. As you grow and begin to know yourself better, you can have an incredibly positive effect on those around you. Giving back to the people you interact with every day can be as simple as smiling at the barista at your local coffee shop or not losing your temper when confronted with bad drivers on your commute.

We can’t always control the world around us, but we can control our reactions to the people, circumstances, and situations we find ourselves in. As we enter a new phase of defining and finding success for ourselves, we need to remember that we are in control of our futures and our destinies.

We are what we think

The idea that we are what we think about is nothing new. Everyone from the Greeks to Buddha to figures in the Bible echoes a concept along those lines. If we are consistently thinking about who we are, what we want to accomplish, and how we are going to obtain success, our lives will naturally flow in those directions.

Carl Jung opened up an entirely new world with his discoveries, and new discoveries in the psychology of personality and the self are still being made today. Insights Discovery is based squarely on Jung’s theories, and as such, it is an invaluable tool in helping people to understand themselves and others. Schedule me, Scott Schwefel, as your keynote speaker, and I will come to your group and address the differences in personalities in a truthful, fun, and easily understood way. Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to share my blogs with the color energies you work with!

Investing in Integrity

integrity

When you think of the word integrity, what comes to mind? Do you think of people presently in your life or remnants of characters from days gone by? Is integrity a real and concrete character trait that is being encouraged by our families and societies, or is it something that we’ve pushed into the background?

Success used to be closely associated with integrity. Early business pioneers like Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford were known not just for their business acumen, but for their personal integrity when doing business as well. Integrity wasn’t just something that was reserved for those who found success in their various professional fields, but for everyone who desired to be respected by those around them.

Modern success

Modern definitions of success often leave out integrity. We’ve grown up assuming that success is attained by earning the most money, acquiring the most business experience, or rising in the ranks faster using whatever means necessary. Integrity as a personal and professional character trait has fallen by the wayside and is no longer closely tied to our concepts of success.

This doesn’t have to be the case, however. Although the media sensationalizes the scandals involving celebrities and politicians, less attention is paid to the people who value integrity as an essential part of their business plans. These individuals and organizations have risen, many very quietly, to influence and change the world around them in meaningful ways.

Valuing success means valuing the choices and characteristics that bring success in the long term. If integrity is one of these factors, wouldn’t you want to work with a company and with other people that value the level of integrity you expect?

Bringing integrity

Although modern society’s definition of success may not include integrity as a core principle, many successful businesses have maintained their growth because of the moral integrity of their founder and employees.

Individuals are the beginning of integrity. Without an individual, an organization or business won’t have the integrity it needs to succeed over the long term. Other individuals or organizations may find quick success using less than moral methods, but everything we do (both good and bad) eventually catches up with us. Behavioral change has to occur on an individual level to create a culture of integrity that impacts the professional world we live and work in every day.

Carl Jung opened up an entirely new world with his discoveries, and new discoveries into the psychology of personality and the self are still being made today. Insights Discovery is based squarely on Jung’s theories, and as such, it is an invaluable tool in helping people to understand themselves and others. Schedule me, Scott Schwefel, as your keynote speaker, and I will come to your group and address the differences in personalities in a truthful, fun, and easily understood way. Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to share my blogs with the color energies you work with!

Learning to Think

thinking

How much time during the day do you spend thinking? Scientists estimate that we only use about 10% of our actual brain power for conscious thought throughout the day. This isn’t to say that we can’t use more of our brain power; we simply don’t utilize the full capacity of our brains when we are sitting in traffic, going through the motions at our jobs, and interacting with the people around us.

Active and conscious thought require effort. When we were young, this active thought came naturally. Our bodies and minds were growing and changing, learning about the world around us every single moment. We were passionate and successful at what we did because we believed wholeheartedly in what we were doing.

Activating thought

We all wanted to be successful at one point in time. When did we forget this motivation? Although we might still have dreams of success, our brains have changed, and success seems harder to accomplish. Forgetting what we are passionate about is part of this decline.

Actively thinking about what we put into our brains is partly unconscious and partly conscious. Part of this unconscious input comes from the sensory input given to us through our eyes, our ears, our sense of touch, and what we taste. What we hear, see, touch and taste informs us about the world around us and dictates part of how we react to situations in our lives. The second half of this active thought is conscious, or: in other words, how we think about the information that we’ve been given to us through our senses. This sixth sense, or intuition, can be vitally important for to how we react to and interact with people and events around us.

Our brains like to make excuses. When we ask ourselves why we’re stuck in a job we hate, our brain clings to what is familiar instead of what might make us happier. When we ask why we’re not good at something, our brains like to remind us that life isn’t fair, instead of coming up with solutions that could lead to changes in our lives.

Rewiring our brains

Changing how we think is a process, but not one that comes without rewards. Changing the negative or neutral patterns of our thoughts from negative or neutral into more positive affirmations can serve as a way to change how we see the world around us. Like a computer modeling program or statistics, the information we put into our brains has to be good to produce a better output. Just like data, what goes in will also come out.

Carl Jung opened up an entirely new world with his discoveries, and discoveries into the psychology of personality and the self are still being made today. Insights Discovery is based squarely on Jung’s theories, and as such, it is an invaluable tool in helping people to understand themselves and others. Schedule me, Scott Schwefel, as your keynote speaker, and I will come to your group and address the differences in personalities in a truthful, fun, and easily understood way. Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to share my blogs with the color energies you work with!

What’s Your Personality Type?

personality

Personality can be a tricky thing. Often we are so caught up in living our regular lives that we forget that things like personality can have a major impact on how we interact with other people and deal with certain situations. Personality doesn’t explain everything, but it is a foundational part of human interactions and behaviors that we participate in and find around us every day.

The origins of personality science began with Hippocrates in ancient Greece, where the idea of humors became widely accepted as the reason behind the differences in personality people displayed. His four humors were known as sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, and melancholic.

From Hippocrates to the present   

Hippocrates’ ideas on the origin of personality evolved as science itself advanced. Eventual iterations of his beginning personality hypothesis included the Myers-Briggs test, the DiSC methodology, Insights Discovery and much more. All of these concepts regarding personality were built on similar foundations, although they used different labels to categorize each personality type.

Discovery Yourself utilizes the following categories to determine personality type: talker, relater thinker, and director. These are the four main personality types that can be broken up into further personality categories. These four main labels can still bring great insight not only to your personality but to the personality types of those around you.

Thinkers and relaters are typically more introverted, while directors and talkers tend toward extroversion. Thinkers and directors are highly task-oriented, while relaters and talkers are relationally motivated.

Determining personality

Determining your individual personality type can bring you great insight and clarity into who you are as a person, and why you behave the way you do. Do you tend to find energy in solitary activities, or by facing an engaging social situation? Do you find yourself genuinely interested in the other people around you, or do you focus more on the task you are trying to accomplish?

All of these questions can help you determine where you fall on the personality spectrum. Once you’ve found your category or categories, you can begin to notice when in your life you utilize the strengths of that particular personality type. You can also use this valuable information to notice where you might be struggling to work well with others, taking their professional positions and their personality type into consideration. Instead of chalking up misunderstandings to not working well together, you might find that personality holds the key to more than meets the eye.

Jung opened up an entirely new world with his discoveries, and discoveries into the psychology of personality and the self are still being made today. Insights Discovery is based squarely on Jung’s theories, and as such is an invaluable tool in helping people understand themselves and others. Schedule me, Scott Schwefel, as your keynote speaker, and I will come to your group and address the differences in personalities in a truthful, fun, and easy-to-understand way. Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to share my blogs with the color energies you work with!

Internal Compass Directs Personal Behavior

compass

Carl Jung’s idea of psychic totality looks something like a compass- each direction points to an unconscious or conscious set of functions that influence a person’s external behaviors. These internal compass points are constantly at play directing a person through life, but certain directions of this internal compass pull individuals in different directions. Everyone feels one or two psychic functions stronger than the others, but each one has a consistent influence on a person’s character.

Thinking, intuition, feeling, and sensing are the four cardinal directions that make up Jung’s psychic totality. Thinking and feeling are opposites, while sensation and intuition are opposites on the other end of the compass.

Following the cardinal directions

Many people go through life never wondering why they are the way they are while others take a more active role in understanding why they think and behave the way they do. Using these four psychic factors, it is often fairly easy to determine where your personality strengths lie, as the opposite directions on the compass points are mutually exclusive. According to Jung a person can be either relying on their thinking factor or their feeling factor at any given time; over time a person can grow to depend on one of these over the other for the majority of situations they come across.

The same goes for sensing and intuition, which Jung categorized as irrational functions. These factors work with information that is perceptual instead of rational, like thinking or feeling. However, everyone depends on one of these factors over the other when perceiving the world around them.

The process of thinking, or adjusting to the world by way of mental cognition and making logical inferences, is solidly in the thinking hemisphere of Jung’s psychic function. Sensing and intuition live in the place between consciousness and unconsciousness, able to be used by both. Feeling is solidly placed in the unconscious part of our brain.

Unique psychologies

Jung used the four psychic functions to explain why the people around us have such unique personalities. Everyone blends how they are pulled by the four directions into their psychologies to create the vibrant world of characters we live in. The primary and auxiliary functions, or those functions that work on the conscious and unconscious minds, work in complimentary and opposing ways in each individual’s psychology.

Jung opened up an entirely new world with his discoveries, and discoveries into the psychology of personality and the self are still being made today. Insights Discovery is based squarely on Jung’s theories, and as such is an invaluable tool in helping people understand themselves and others.  If you would like further help in identifying yourself or others as part of the four color personalities, schedule me, Scott Schwefel, as your keynote speaker. I will come to your group and address the differences in personalities in a truthful, fun, and easy-to-understand way. Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to share my blogs with the color energies you work with!