UNDERSTANDING YOURSELF and OTHERS
me”? That particular question is usually asked in the heat of a strong disagreement. Your mental (but silent) response was probably something similar to this, “of course I do, you’re not just like me”. Half of that response is correct, they are not like you, and that’s the good part. The “of course I do” is what was wrong. You just do not truly understand them! You’ve heard that
opposites attract? I can assure you that that is true of people. For example, my wife and I are complete opposites, and our children are opposite from each other and from each of us. Yet we work well together as a family. All it takes is a little understanding, insight, and a lot of hard work. Before getting too deeply into this unit, here’s a fun little exercise you can do, which may
demonstrate the importance of understanding yourself and others.
way they did. Don’t disagree or try to influence them Just Listen to what they have to say. That’s the first step in understanding yourself.
and your current job is in the area of social work you’re probably frustrated and unhappy. Here’s a little ditty which may help you
recall the extreme leadership characteristics outlined by the four different quadrants.
Hope you enjoyed this little exercise, and that it was of value in beginning to help you understand yourself. You see, if you don’t have yourself accurately and honestly appraised, you will have a difficult time appraising anyone else. Understanding yourself and others is of paramount importance, because it allows you to see others as unique individuals with both strengths and weaknesses. You as a leader want to maximize others strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Some folks use athletics or sports to show the importance of working together. However, much of what is touted as teamwork is really just individual performers put together and called a team.
There is one sport however, that must have true teamwork or it is “dead in the water”. This sport is the only one I know of where the team is setting down and looking backwards. What kind of sport would that be? Ever watch an eight man/women rowing crew
compete? That’s pure working together (team work). You see each member of the crew has their eyes and ears fixed on the coxswain. (This is the leader in the stern, looking forward, steering and counting cadence). All the crew members must be in absolute sync. The strongest member can’t start pulling harder, and the weakest can’t slack off. Likewise, one can’t dig their ore deeper in the water than another crew member. Should any crew member try to speed up, slow down or dig deeper, the cadence is interrupted. The craft slows down, and starts to run off line. The race is lost! Chris Thorsness was Alaska’s first Olympic gold medal winner. The sport she participated in wasn’t skiing, sledding, skating, curling or any other winter sport; it was for rowing. Now, let’s get down to the business of looking deeper into ‘Understanding Yourself and Others’. We’ll next examine:
PERSONALITY– CHARACTER – TEMPERAMENT
someone else may observe something quite differently about that same person. Why? Because personality is the outward expression the individual chooses to display. A personality can and does change. You probably noticed in your own life how your personality changed along with your circumstances and age. Plus, you’ve noticed how much effort and vigilance it takes to maintain a particular face (personality) to show the world. Remember the adage “don’t trust first impressions”. That’s because a
personality doesn’t reveal much about the person, it reveals only what they choose to show. That’s why in job interviews, the questions ask help dig a little deeper behind the face you show. One is usually better off to display and discuss your character in an interview.
(www.morrismassey.com) was honored with the W.M. McFeely award for his “Significant contributions to the field of management and human relations”. Dr. Massey’s lectures discuss value programming of individuals based on their formative years. The series is titled “What you are is what you were when”. His primus is that individuals think and act in
light of the norms and culture gained in their formative years. For example, those born in the decade of the 1940’s carry and exhibit the cultural of that decade with them through adult years. The National and culture attitude of the 40’s decade was WIN. The whole nation was focused on winning the “second world war”. He points out the only way you modify value programming (character) is by experiencing a “significant emotional event”. One comment about Dr. Massey’s lectures, “He talked faster than I could listen”. Thus, I missed an awful lot. So, if you can get a copy of his lecture’s, then fasten your seat belt and enjoy.
always dominate. David, an ancient Israeli king, said in one of his psalms “you are fearfully and wonderfully made”. Meaning there is no other person exactly like you. That even applies to identical twins. Here’s my real life observation of that fact. My wife and I had the privilege of periodically watching over eight year old identical twin girls. For the longest time I couldn’t tell them apart, especially at a distance. Gradually, the differences were noticeable, particularly in how they approached other people and things. One seemed to be more gregarious than her sister. Her sister on the other hand was more intuitive and curious. After a while,
even the way they carried themselves became a distinguishing trait. However, from a distance, recognition was difficult. Engage them in a conversation however, and the differences were obvious. All this goes to say is that they displayed identical appearance, culture and characteristics, but different temperaments.
desire (named after a Greek god) is to try and make all those near us just like us. A leader doesn’t do that! Leaders try to understand others and not try to make them into themselves. Trying to change someone’s temperament won’t work, you’ll
both be frustrated. You will find that when confronted with a crisis or difficult situation your temperament will always prevail over personality or character.
probably very true. He goes on to explain that if what you are trying to teach works, there is a chance it will be adopted and continue. However, what you would be doing is changing the character and not the temperament. I’ve found the method by which teaching is accomplished to be very important. Rote memory is short lived and usually lasts only long enough to get a student through the next exam. Folks need to have practical examples or applications before it is fully inculcated into their manners and norms of doing things, their character. Many folks have an aversion to change unless a positive, personal benefit in a saving of time or money can be demonstrated. That’s what makes leading, teaching or mentoring a challenge. “Wait a minute” now you’re saying people can and do change? You said in the Chapter: ‘Needs Wants and Desires’ that “Peoples is Peoples”. True, but that discussion was talking about groups and communities of folks. Groups and communities take on a norm or common identity. This discussion focuses more on the individual. Communities don’t have tempermanents. You may not be able to change ones inborn
temperament, but surely one can learn to strengthen their positives and suppress their negatives until they are under a crisis. Suppress sure, but not change.
and in other medical professions.
they can ‘pick you out’. Then, discuss the strengths and weaknesses.
0-9606954-0-0.) About twenty years ago its cost was twelve dollars. I’ve no idea of what it costs now. This little book includes a temperament sorter test, answer sheet, and scoring directions. A really nice thing is the appendix, where a portrait of the different
“preference types” is given. I’ve found it to be a handy reference. You’ll really learn a lot and have a bunch of fun with this little book. Especially after you have taken their temperament sorter, and find your portrait description. The following summaries and discussions of temperament are taken from the book by Keirsey- Bates. They discuss four pairs of preferences which a person displays. These four pairs are Extraversion/Introversion, Sensation/intuition, Thinking/Feeling, Perceiving/Judging. Please note that a person is not purely one or the other of any type. For example, one can be to some degree a little of a couple of them. A detailed description is covered in the book. Below is just a brief summary.
solitude for the recovery of energy is an introvert(I).
and fluid are probably the perceiving (P) types.
their comment is something like this “that’s a dead ringer of you”, much to your surprise, because you thought they’re wrong or just partly right. Really?! You just learned a little more about the real you. Keep in mind though there
are no pure fits to any of the preference types. This is all explained in the book. My preference type according to Myers-Briggs and Keirsey- Bates comes out to be ENTP. Other similar temperament sorters use analogies for the various types. My type is commonly referred to as the absent minded professor. The absent minded is right, but I never was a professor, or was I? I just can’t remember. Now that you know more about me, means I’ve just enlarged up my “open” pane of Johari’s Window.
between individuals, groups or teams. This model aids in helping individuals, groups or teams understand and optimize self awareness and the value of people.
right or left. The key to mutual understanding is to open pane number one wider. Initially panes two, three, and four are shown as being covered by their shades and are equal sized. The shades open and close as interactions start and progress.
result of ignorance on your part or by issues being deliberately withheld from you. This pane is opened vertically downward into pane four (your unknown area) when education, training, observations or experience is increased by others.
foibles, hidden agendas. Personal or private information are in this area. The process for removing hidden things is
called self disclosure. As you get to know and trust others, you may feel more comfortable in disclosing more details about yourself, work and performance information. Things not of a private or very personal nature reside in this area. A word of caution, thing revealed (disclosed) from the hidden area cannot be put back into the hidden area. Pane number one has now been open wider. Contrary to what some leaders believe, Information is not power to be kept, but to be shared.
behaviors and capabilities lie. This is the challenging area, which seems to be constantly growing. New situations reveal information and challenges not previously encountered by you or others. However, education, shared discoveries, technology and open communications will trigger new awareness and personal growth. Have you ever had “a eureka moment” and shared it?