If you Google the term ‘personality development’ you will come across pages and pages of websites offering personality development courses. While we would presume that you are looking for this information because you want to bring some positive change in your life, it is natural to be a little doubtful and wonder whether is it possible to change something so intrinsic as one’s personality. A clear cut Yes or No answer is not correct in this case – you can’t change a person’s entire way of functioning and thinking through a training programme, BUT you CAN undoubtedly set them on the path to bring about vital transformation in some key areas. With CBT-backed (cognitive behavioural therapy) sessions, you can also introduce a new manner of thinking, analysing, and processing information and interacting with the world.
At SoaringEagles, we have conducted personality development sessions with thousands of youngsters and professionals, and we ALWAYS begin with an in-depth module to create SELF AWARENESS. Because we believe – and we have seen this approach work wonders – that you can only bring change to your life and personality when you KNOW yourself. What motivates you, what scares you, what you like, and how you think – once you know who you are, then you can use that knowledge to change.
A vital aspect of this approach is to understand the factors that make us who we are –
This is the first and the most fixed determinant of an individual’s personality. It includes factors such as heredity, physique, physical appearance, brain functioning, nervous system, and intelligence. All these can affect how we develop and behave since our childhood. For example, a child who matures ahead of his peers and grows taller will be treated differently than his peers who are more immature looking. He will be respected on the playground, expected to behave more maturely by adults and might be left alone by bullies due to his size. All these experiences will shape his personality.
While a person’s initial personality owns a lot to his/her mother, studies cite that a father’s love contributes as much to a child’s development.
Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut and his colleague Abdul Khaleque examined 36 studies (with over 10,000 participants) from around the world. They found children feel more anxious and insecure, or act more hostile and aggressive toward others, in response to rejection by their parents. And findings from 500+ studies that oftentimes the impact of a father’s rejection can be much greater than the mother’s.
Child-rearing practices and approach also play an important part as the child grows older. For example, an authoritative upbringing tends to inculcate a quite and socially unassertive personality, whereas parents who are less restrictive have children who are more spontaneous and confident.
Of course, with time, peers, friends, and other social factors also seep into the mix and contribute to the formation of an individual’s personality.
Your background, your social environment, even your socio-economic background have a significant impact on your personality. Every culture has a specific mindset, norms, expectation, and patterns of parenting that is unique. It is so deeply imbibed in our everyday life that unknowingly it controls almost every aspect of our lives and influences our personality.
And lastly, your experiences and situations also impact how you approach problems and react to situations. Living in a certain environment or repeatedly dealing with a particular scenario, changes personality traits subtly.
Personality is intrinsic and deep-rooted; you cannot really change your personality type or the core of your thought process. It is almost like your default setting. Every time you do something that is not natural to your personality, chances are you will snap back to your default setting as soon as you get the chance.
But this doesn’t mean that everything is written in stone! Far from it. If there are certain parts of your personality that you are unhappy with, then you should certainly take steps to change them. The process is almost like rewiring your brain to think or react differently, AND with constant practice, it is possible.
At Soaring Eagles, we routinely help people become better communicators; think, react, and act positively; understand the negative beliefs they are holding on to and cut them lose and so much more. Some changes are easier to achieve (such as improving body language and communication), some require more long term effort (such as becoming assertive) – but change is always attainable.
2020 is coming to an end and what a year it’s been! The global pandemic has really challenged us in so many ways and it’s been hard for many of us to feel in control as the crisis just drags on. Our businesses have taken a hit but we know that there are many around us who have been hit even harder.
It’s natural then for many business leaders to feel guilty about the hard decisions they’ve had to take in terms of layoffs, closures and disruptions in service. A client of mine had to let go of a senior employee in the US and he knew this meant that the employee had to go back to his home country and his entire life would get disrupted. He was also worried that the employee would no longer have health cover to take care of the special needs of his child. A friend who is the CHRO of a large organisation was distraught when a young employee passed away due to COVID and he felt he couldn’t do anything to save her.
Guilt is an unsettling emotion to deal with. But it’s also a sign that you’re a conscientious leader. While there are many things that are out of your control, one way of dealing with this guilt when it hits you is to re-evaluate and improve the way you approach your employees and company, and demonstrate compassionate leadership in difficult circumstances.
Here are 5 ways in which you can do this:
If you have a small team, it’s possible for you to do so yourself. If you have a large employees base, put together small cross-functional teams to spread out and listen to the wider group. This will help you plan your initiatives better.
When you have no choice but to implement furloughs, reduced hours, or pay cuts, don’t delegate sharing the news to HR - it feels demoralizing, disrespectful, and lacks empathy. If you are responsible for the decision, it is you who should be sharing it. This sends a clear message to not just the people who are impacted but also the others around them and support the morale of the team.
If some of your decisions have gone wrong and negatively affected others, take remedial action as soon as you know or can and do it as publicly as possible. Acknowledge your mistake and then communicate new developments frequently and consistently. Decisions can go either r way based on the limited information that we operate on – you are not expected to be right all the time. But how you own up and make amends is what your team and customers are looking at.
Try and see what benefits can be retained even when someone goes on a furlough or pay cut. Help the ones who’ve been laid off to find new jobs. Provide career transition support wherever possible.
People respond to that. They connect with you and they trust you when you’re being the best version of you. Talk about how you balance your own personal and work commitments. Talk about your own challenges and encourage sharing of tips and resources for managing workload, scheduling and so on. You don’t have to have a stoic mask all the time. Let people know that you also struggle sometimes and that’s okay. That’s being human.
So, to sum it up, it’s understandable if you as a leader are struggling with guilty feelings as you see the disruptions and struggles that the Covid-19 crisis is causing your employees and colleagues, sometimes specifically as a result of your own actions. But if you reframe your feelings of guilt as an opportunity to consciously and thoughtfully make the best decisions possible, communicate clearly, and behave with compassion and concern for both your employees and yourself, then you can help steer their teams and organizations toward better times.
If you want to talk about this, just click on Request Consultation and pick a convenient time for discussion or send me a WhatsApp message using the button above.
Many times, when I bring up coaching with business leaders and owners, they react by saying that I’m doing well. I don’t think I need a coach.
To my mind, there are two possible reasons for this reaction – one, they are not aware about what real coaching is and its benefits, and two, they are not ready to have a hard look at themselves and see what’s not working. They may be afraid of what they might uncover and are happier just coasting along till they are forced to confront these issues.
I always make an effort to explain what real coaching is and how it’s different from having a mentor or guide or just reading self-help books. I also make it a point to share that coaching is not about solving problems. It is about unblocking the realisation of your potential. You can do and achieve much more than what you are doing currently just by getting out of your own way. A coach helps you get out of your own way and go after those big hairy audacious goals.
Ask yourself this
Having a coach is not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of ambition, it’s a sign of hunger for bigger impact, it’s a sign of courage to work on oneself.
Go ahead, tell me you don’t need a coach…
Click on the Request Consultation button above for a discovery call.
To be truly listened to is an amazing experience, partly because it is so rare! When another person is totally with you – leaning in, interested in every word, eager to empathize – you feel seen and understood. When people feel that they are really being listened to, they open up more as they feel safe and secure and the trust between the parties grows.
Unfortunately, most people do not listen at a very deep level as they are preoccupied with the challenges of their fast-paced life. As a result, most conversations tend to skim on the surface.
The absence of real listening is especially prevalent at work. Under pressure to get the job done, we listen for the minimum of what we need to know so that we can move on to the next fire that needs fighting. So, what’s the consequence of this? Everyone is talking, no on is listening. As a result, employee engagement has become a serious issue in organisations today.
This is becoming a bigger problem in this COVID scenario as employees are dispersed and the conversations are very transactional and brief. Leaders seem to have become busier and more distracted in recent times.
How often are you as a leader distracted in a conversation or a meeting with your team? How often are you as a leader not psychologically present when you are virtually with your team? How often do you cancel, interrupt or shorten meetings with your people in favour of some other stakeholder, priority or task? How often do you make your people wait, ask, or even hope for your leadership? Ironically, now more than ever, leaders need to be deeply and continuously connected with their teams.
What your team needs right now is authentic and unequivocal leadership presence. So, turn off the noise in your head. Turn off the noise from your technology. Focus your mind and your time on the people you lead and they, in turn, will follow and support your leadership efforts.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to take the time to connect, to show that you care about your employees as people. Listening deeply will also help you understand what their challenges and expectations, and gives you a chance to share what your intentions and goals in a way that everyone can be aligned.
Listening is a skill that you can gain from training and practice. And who better to learn if from than coaches. Effective coaches tend to be gifted listeners and they hone their listening skills to reach a high level of proficiency. This enables us coaches to reach the inner recesses of your mind and help you get those deep insights.
In the book, Co-Active Coaching, Henry and Karen Kimsey-House explain the three levels of listening and how the art of listening can be cultivated.
Level 1 listening is an interaction where the primary focus of you as the listener is on your own thoughts, opinions, judgments, and feelings. You relate the words you hear to your own experiences or needs. For example, if we are buying a car, we will be listening at Level 1 to the salesperson to see how the car features will fit our needs and budget.
Level 2 listening takes the communication one step further. It involves paying attention to the tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. As you filter out your internal chatter and distractions from the environment, you are able to tune in to the meaning of the words, choose a way to respond, and assess the effect of the response on the speaker.
Level 3 listening brings an entirely new state of awareness to the conversation. It involves doing everything at Level 2, plus using your intuition and being open to receiving more information in any form that it presents itself. If you get a hunch, for example, while listening to someone, you could bring it up without being attached to it. Without insisting on being right, observe the effect it has on the speaker and be aware of where the conversation goes next.
For instance, you may say: “I understand that you are happy with the results, but I have a feeling that you have something else on your mind.” The response may be, “No, not really,” or “Yes, actually, I wanted to tell you about this issue that came up with our project.” It is irrelevant if you are right or wrong; what is important is the effect on the conversation.
So, there you have it – why it is important for you as a leader to hone your listening skills and how you can enhance your depth of listening. The art of listening takes time to develop, but it can be practiced daily. It builds trust and understanding and contributes significantly to your effectiveness as a leader.
If you want to discuss further, just schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking this link above.
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