her to manage a demanding, disorganized project (i.e., because they may see her as more creative than decisive and conscientious). Think about the role of context in your feedback. In particular, consider the boundaries and triggers of behaviors. How might your perceived weaknesses/strengths reflect the situations in which people have observed you? When do these behaviors happen most or least? What kinds of situations, people, or interactions seem to bring them out? For instance, in the earlier example above about the student perceived to frequently interrupt others, reflection on the context might lead to a realization that it’s something about his IP team context (in conjunction with the student’s personality) that is triggering the interrupting behavior. This student might note that he is high on Conscientiousness, lower on Stability, and lower on Intellect/Openness. Related to these personality traits, he might reflect on the fact that he tends to get anxious and/or frustrated in work team meetings, because despite having limited time others seem to want to spend an extremely long time talking about all the different options for every decision rather than actually getting things done. As a result, in those settings, he has a tendency of interrupting others that are speaking to try to limit the brainstorming and drive to results. While this might lead to some good things (ensuring deadlines are met), he might also realize that it is having unintended consequences in the form of some negative impressions of him. He might also remark on lower scores than he expected from his IP teammates on other areas like Agreeableness, Managing Conflict, and Reading Others – all of which he sees as related to this bad habit of interrupting people abruptly. Other students might point to a broader contextual trigger, realizing they engage in unwanted behaviors under stress or when deadlines approach. Others still find that they can be seen as assertive (a wanted behavior) around certain people with whom they feel comfortable but not in other settings. Examining boundaries and triggers can help you better understand the nature of the weakness or strength. It can also point toward part of an action plan. For example, one student found he didn’t handle deadline stress well and went on to realize he was bad at setting realistic deadlines. Part of his action plan was to get input from a third party on whether his deadlines for important projects were realistic. Although it’s important to consider the effects of context, be careful of mistakenly attributing your weaknesses or strengths solely to misunderstandings or the effects of situations. The best self- assessments incorporate both a concrete and candid review of underlying abilities and personality as well as an appreciation of the effects of context.
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- Fall '12
- Psychology, Alison