Learning, Self-care, Work

Self-Discovery and Understanding

At work over the last couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to have had some amazing mentoring and leadership development opportunities. Through 2021 and the start of 2022, I was involved in a one-to-one mentoring program, which was exciting and scary. Then, mid-way through 2022 I was surprised to be nominated for a much more involved leadership skills program that involves lots of self-development courses as well as mentoring.

The leadership skills program began with Hogan self-assessments and a long debrief with an expert. Honestly, I was totally skeptical and uninvested in that whole aspect of the program at the start. However, the debrief was one of the most enlightening conversations I’ve ever had.

Then through the autumn of 2022 there were courses on emotional intelligence and co-development (effectively group problem solving sessions but structured to ensure positivity). At the same time, with my mentor, I did a unique skills survey of about 30 people that I know; both socially, professionally, and through other interests. I also attended an online course about career development and advocating for my ambitions and needs. One of my personal highlights, however, was a LinkedIn course on motivating people with different personalities – I’ve been raving about it for weeks.

As a bit of accountability to myself, I want to share here some of the lessons I’ve learned about myself over the last six months. I should think I’ll follow up at the end of this program with a summary and conclusion of what I’ve got out of the whole thing.

Who am I?

I’m come across as an extrovert. I’m talkative, but as a nervous response. Sometimes I can dominate conversation; I try not to, and this might be my anxiety that I might do this making me think that I do do it. I’m often assertive.

I feel more like I’m an introvert. I prefer one-to-one, deep conversations, and I’m a good listener

I tend to be agreeable. I’m friendly, and polite, I agree, tend to people please, and go out of my way to be helpful or take on extra tasks.

But I can also be disagreeable. I openly express my concerns, I might be abrasive when stressed or suspicious. I’m a strong critical thinker.

My “neurotic” side features strong emotions that last and I worry about details, other people’s reactions, to the extent that I over-analyse.

I’m open and receptive to new ideas; curious, creative, and I like doing experiments and brainstorming.

My motivations are to influence positive actions and achievement of collective goals. I’m comfortable taking risks to reap potential rewards.

How to talk to me

The best communication approaches to have a productive conversation with me should include:

  • Asking me questions, including open ended ones
  • Having deep discussions
  • Listen to me actively
  • Invite resistance
  • Help me to succeed
  • Ask me the impact of a target
  • Make me feel heard
  • Overcome my negative responses
  • Help me to scope the impact of distractions
  • Recognize my achievements
  • Value me contributions
  • Make me listen

What am I good at

I’m really good at planning work in advance, I think about  what needs to be done and how to time it.  My team says that this helps to keep things running smoothly, and we do complete more work as a result. I always have plans A and B, sometimes C too. I can analyse what we need to get done and see the different ways to achieve it according to the time and other resources we have available. Sometimes, that means we don’t do plan A, sometimes we do plan C, but we understand what we’re doing and how to balance all the different calls on our team’s time.

I’m nosy, curious to understand the complete picture and figure out how different bits and bobs are interconnected. That helps me to see how a choosing the right solution in one area needs to consider the impact on other pieces of the puzzle. I’m a habitual learner, investigator, like a detective. I love digging into the details, understanding a problem and putting my knowledge to use. Figuring out the cause of a technical and complex problem or helping to make the right choice of high level design, I’m good at seeing through the fog and getting to the core of the challenge. I keep on top of my to do list, get things done and done when they’re needed.

I prefer to be honest, but kindly; whether on technical topics or personally, I will tell you what I think but I’ll always be considerate how what I’m saying might feel to you. When I’m working in teams, I get stuck in sharing what I know, helping to find out more, and encouraging everyone to work together so that we can be productive and enjoy our work.

The summary of all that:

I’m a natural planner, I see the big picture. I’m nosy, curious to understand interconnections. I’m a habitual investigator, digging into the details. I’m proactive, working on the right thing at the right time. In teams, I share with honesty but kindness, whoever you are. I’m trusted to envision the ideal solution; then do the work with a motivated team.

What do I want at work

I love to use my skills in problem analysis and solving, understanding the big picture and planning and my passion for understanding technical issues to make things work better, more smoothly, more efficiently. An environment that provides a variety of challenges, requirement for collaboration and that values skills and knowledge works best for me.

How to give me feedback

I prefer to receive feedback in a written form, describing an event and the consequence, maybe with advice for the future. Then we should follow up with a discussion afterwards, once I’ve had time to digest.

And you?

So that’s an honest (I hope) picture of me. I don’t think anything I’ve written above was news to me. I’d just never considered it from the outside if you see what I mean.

Have you ever done this sort of self-analysis or self-awareness exercise? What did you think? What did you discover?

Love from Smell xxx

12 thoughts on “Self-Discovery and Understanding”

  1. This is so like me as well, minus the anxious and overthinking bits. I call myself an extroverted introvert. I’m happy to talk and put my opinions forward, I like to amongst people at work, but ultimately I avoid social things at work, and prefer relying on myself to do the work

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a fantastic picture of yourself, congrats for the thorough reflection. I recognize myself when you say that you are a natural planner, I also consider myself as a natural planner, sometimes even too much (my husband says…).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve done these in the past. Sometimes they provide interesting results and sometimes they are way off! A few years ago, I did one that said I was unfocused and undisciplined. My boss and I had a good laugh about that one.

    I’m in the middle on the introvert/extrovert scale. I go back and forth depending on the situation.

    Interestingly, a lot of what you wrote could describe me. I think we’re very similar! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah did something like this when I did Informal Leadership training. Trying to remember what it was called. I think how it works is that you have a natural leadership style but under stress become the exact opposite personality wise. They used to call it the Z curve. Very interesting

    Liked by 1 person

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