Do you really know the “real” you? Almost everyone will emphatically say yes.
So, what is the “real” you? Is it what you think of yourself or is it what others think of you? If it is who you think you are, then everyone will answer the above question, yes. People can easily list the characteristics that describe themselves. However, if the real you is what others think of you, then I would suggest that most people don’t know who they are, at least to some degree. Other people must work with you, live with you, and interact with you so what they think of you is the most important thing, so I would conclude that the real you is what others think of you.
Almost everyone can list their weaknesses. But if you really felt they were weaknesses, wouldn’t you try to change them? I would say that one of my weaknesses is that I don’t live in the moment and that I am always looking for the next thing (my wife would wholeheartedly agree). However, I am quick to say that is actually a strength. After all, it makes me efficient and helps me stay ahead. Another example is my communication style. My wife thinks I am too direct, and I would say that I agree, however, do I? Actually, I think it makes me a better communicator.
Have you ever said, “That person has no idea how they negatively impact others?” What if people say that about you? That would be scary. So how do you honestly learn what other people think of you? That may seem easy, but it is almost impossible for even the most perceptive people.
One option is to ask the people that are closest to you. This can be effective, but you need to understand a few potential problems. First, this group can be biased positively or negatively because of the relationship. For example, when my kids were teenagers, they would have been very biased negatively, right boys? Close friends can be biased positively because they are “like” you, including the weaknesses. Finally, most people will not be candid. Another option is to ask a consultant. This can be effective as well if the consultant is good and uses the right assessment tools. The last option I will mention is to participate in an anonymous 360-degree assessment with your team. In this format, it is important to look for trends, not one-off opinions. I like this method the best. Before you embark on any of these options, ask yourself, are you willing to listen to the feedback with a desire to change?
In conclusion, the most important thing is that you are comfortable and happy with who you think you are! If you are, then none of this diatribe really matters. Well, I hope it was at least fun to read and made you think a little.
Have a great holiday and we have enjoyed working with all our constituents in 2023.
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