How do you view the world? What are your default responses or reactions? What do you expect of others? Of yourself? Can you spot the signs of your own happiness and stress? Do you know the affect you have on others without trying?
For many of us, the first thoughts that spring to mind when we hear “Soft Skills” or “Emotional Intelligence” are on the skills for dealing with other people. Communication skills, critical thinking and people skills spring to my mind for example. When we picture someone of high EQ we may imagine a calm person, considerate, deliberately spoken and perhaps empathetic. While all these skills and characteristics probably exist in people who have developed Soft Skills / EQ, they also commonly exist in people who haven’t. We have strengths and weaknesses and the area of soft skills is no different. Some skills come naturally and some take a great deal of effort. Do you know which are which for you personally?
I am sure most of you have come across ‘personality testing’ or ‘typing’. And I will also hazard a guess that a fair percentage you have negative thoughts on the idea. If not negative then you probably question the usefulness and applicability. I don’t blame you! I have learnt more than a handful of models/theories, some at depth and others superficially. For many years I carried similar thoughts on personality types. Here are some common comments you may have also heard, or think yourself;
– I don’t like being pigeon holed.
– Well, some of it I could see was me but I am not like x, y and z
– It’s all good but it doesn’t change anything, I can’t use it.
I think I figured out why personality typing is a four letter word. I believe the majority of ‘team building’, ‘communication’ and ‘leadership’ training performed these days is done so by people regurgitating template and mostly out of date content. Some trainers may not truly understand the content, or be skilled enough to deliver it. Also, the timeframes are short and they are always completed in a group setting; no depth or trust. All in all there shouldn’t be any surprise people take very little away and find it unrelated to their issues or environment.
Personality typing when done right will be an extraordinary learning event for you. And continuous learning and focus on who we are as individuals acts like a guide when developing Soft Skills. I guarantee if you are experiencing personal, work or family challenges it will help explain why. If you or your team want to be more successful then you will understand what you need to focus on.
Let me share two specific pieces of who I am as examples of the clarity and depth you can gain. I am largely idealistic, which may seem good but what it commonly translates to is discontentment with what I have. For parts of my life I idealise possibilities and find holes and problems, rather than appreciate things. I am also a planner; I plan years in advance and to fair detail. I have about 4 holidays planned down to the food budget, roads to drive, kilometres travelled each day and accommodation to book. Some of these won’t be happening for many years to come. That I know these two things helps me spot idealism and insert some practical thinking. And realise that a lot of people are going to seem somewhat undirected and disorganised to me, I’m actually the strange one. People probably also get frustrated with the level of planning I go to. That I choose to plan holidays is a combination of both these traits (and some more) 🙂