At some point as you’re answering the questions (perhaps in the root cause section), you will also want to demonstrate that you’ve taken a look at other items from different sections of the report that you see as related. Guidance for Root Cause Analysis Once you’ve determined what the essences of your strength or weakness are, you will be asked to explain consider why this is so. Many people are tempted to assume their strengths reflect an accurate interpretation of their abilities and personality while their weaknesses stem from misperceptions and misunderstandings. It’s natural to feel this way, but try not to jump to conclusions prematurely. You want to be open to using the feedback to help you get a full picture of what’s going on. Why do perceived weaknesses or strengths exist? Are you misunderstood by those around you? How did that happen? Is it because of certain situations that bring out ineffective, or particularly effective behavior? Is it because of something about your underlying abilities or personality? Is it due to something idiosyncratic about the people perceiving you (i.e., their values or standards)? Take some time to think about the feedback you have received and why you have received it. The following is a framework to help guide your thinking. Working backwards from the right end of the chain, you can see that other people’s impressions of you can affect your outcomes, such as whether or not you’re hired for a job or whether a teammate will be willing to help you out when you ask for a favor. Even if people’s impressions of you are inaccurate, they are still likely to have an impact on your success and career, and so it’s worth understanding them. So where do these impressions, whether right or wrong, come from? 3
The effects of context . It’s useful to think of impressions as stemming from behavior in various contexts. Take the example of a manager named Alison. Some colleagues might always see Alison in the context of leading work team meetings and have the impression that she’s organized, assertive, and strict. Other colleagues’ positions might be such that they always interact with Alison during brainstorming and product development sessions, leading them to see her as innovative and intelligent. Still others might tend to only see Alison in social settings and view her as easy- going and fun. In many ways, the behaviors driving these impressions reflect the contexts as much as Alison’s own abilities and personality. Almost everyone would show some stern leadership behaviors while running a meeting, or come up with creative ideas in a brainstorming session, or relax when out with friends. But remember, even though these impressions of Alison may reflect the context as much as her “true” character, they still matter. Someone from Alison’s work team might be hesitant to ask for—or offer—her help (i.e., because they haven’t gotten the impression that she’s warm) while someone from Alison’s brainstorming session might not readily nominate her to manage a demanding, disorganized project (i.e., because they may see her as more
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- Fall '12
- Psychology, Alison