Know Yourself First

There have been many days in my life that have been memorable.  The most obvious days I always remember are the first day I met my wife while in college, the day we were married, the days our sons were born, the days they graduated from college and the days when they were both married.  While all of these days have been memorable, there are other days that I remember well, some painfully so, that have changed the path of my life forever.

One such day occurred in 1992 or 1993 while I was leading the Training and Total Quality function for a Japanese-American automotive supplier.  I had just completed a training session that involved basic algebra, something I have always been pretty comfortable with.  After the class session one of my key staff members came up to me and proceeded to tell me how intimidating I could be to others.  I felt like I had been slapped across the face!  There are many words that I have used to describe myself, but intimidating was never one of these words.  I quickly asked her to explain why I was so intimidating and she told me that I didn’t seem to grasp how difficult the algebra concepts were for those in the class while I was teaching them.  She went on to say that while it seemed easy to me, it was not so for most of those listening to me during the class session.

Understanding how we are perceived by others is invaluable.  We may think that we are perceived in one manner, but we may be received in a totally different way than what we believe.  Feedback from others is a key concept in discerning what we perceive versus what others perceive.

Other ways to understand ourselves come from assessment feedback.  I often say that I have been “sliced and diced” in many ways through assessments such as the MBTI, TKI, FIRO-B, DISC and others.  Each of these assessments provides a different glimpse into how we may be perceived by others as well as how we might expect to react when a certain set of circumstances occurs.

Most recently our firm has been investigating the usage of the DISC tool through TTI Success Insights.  This tool has enabled me to understand how to communicate better with others and also gives me great insight into what to do, and what NOT to do, when working with others on my team.  Some of what I have learned I had already gleaned from experience, but other insights have been very helpful in guiding me in ways that will make my interactions and guidance more purposeful with each member of our team.

Knowing yourself is invaluable when leading others.  Understanding how to best relate and guide each team member can make the difference in success and challenges when trying to get things done effectively.

The TTI Success Insights process could be a valuable tool for any organization.  Let us know if this type of information would be helpful to you and your organization