4 Your underlying abilities and personality While our behaviors are often

4 your underlying abilities and personality while our

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Your underlying abilities and personality . While our behaviors are often influenced by context, our abilities and personality often eventually express themselves over time. In the case of Alison, if she was totally unassertive, she wouldn’t have been successful in managing her team meetings; if she was truly uncreative, she wouldn’t have performed well in the brainstorming session; if she was extremely uptight, she wouldn’t have relaxed even when out with friends. In short, people’s impressions of us are driven both by the contexts in which we act and by our own underlying abilities and personality. Think about the ways in which your feedback reflects your underlying abilities and personality. One way to do this is to begin with unwanted behaviors and keep asking “why?” Each answer can go to a deeper level of causality. For instance, one student received feedback that he was viewed as excessively competitive. Why was he viewed this way? He responded that these perceptions often came from the fact that he didn’t listen well to others. Why didn’t he listen to others? He responded that he often didn’t really care much about others’ views. Why didn’t he care? He responded that he was usually overconfident in his own opinions. This chain of questioning could go on (why was he overconfident? Etc.), but for this student, tracing his competitiveness back to overconfidence gave him the insight he needed to understand the behavior and begin to change it. You may find it useful to begin with a behavior or perception of you and ask several rounds of “why” questions. Your causal chain may split into more than one source, but many students find that their answers to the second, third, or fourth round of “why” questions help them. Item-level data from other behavioral scales in the report . As mentioned above, looking at other areas of the report that could be related to your focal behavioral area can be very helpful in tracking the root drivers of others’ impressions of you. You definitely want to consider the role of personality and impressions of your personality, but the other behavioral scales can be very helpful too. For example, take two different students who got scores that IP teammates perceived them as not so effective at Reading Others – we’ll call them Jill and Jack (made-up names). When looking at some of the item scores across other domains of the report, Jill found that she was scored as “relentless and pushy” and always “speaking her mind” (Assertiveness), as well as “taking initiative” and “wanting to take over all the work” (Working in Teams), “showing impatience/interrupting” as well as appearing distracted when someone else is speaking” (Listening). Combined with very high self- and other- scores on Conscientiousness and Extraversion, and low self-rated Emotional Stability and Openness scores, she got the causal picture that she tends to get tunnel vision in her achievement motivation, focusing perhaps too much on charging ahead to lead and finish a project or discussion (partially to allay her own
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