I’m a planner. I have a need to look forward, to think ahead, to anticipate possibilities. I have a mind that once it starts thinking and planning, it’s difficult to shut off. Needless to say, the prospect of a full year dedicated to researching and learning about leadership in complex, hybrid, and work from anywhere teams has my mind running at full speed. However, a persuasive part of me, a small but unrelenting voice, constantly urges me to slow down, and lean into those parts of my strength base that will lay a solid foundation for an amazing year.
Today, this inner voice prompted me to once again consider my strengths, as well as some blind spots I need to be aware of along the journey. (Yes, I am a strong proponent of StrengthFinder and use it in my classes and with clients.) I’m pretty passionate about the need for leaders to know themselves – not for the purpose of self-edification, but rather for bringing the best of who they are to the teams they lead, AND surround themselves with others whose strengths when combined with the leader’s, create amazing results.
As a side note, if you are an individual in a position of influencing others, I highly recommend taking the time to get to know ‘you’. Consider looking into such psychometric assessment tools as Strengths Based Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, or High Potential Trait Index. Remember, this isn’t about navel-gazing but rather growing self-awareness , a key quality found in effective leaders.
Ok, so going back to my original reflections. I spent some time going through my psychometric assessment report from StrengthFinder; these statements really resonated with where I am, today, in light of my Extended Study Leave (ESL). Let me share some of my report insights (in no particular order of relevance):
- It’s very likely that you might be eager to get started on a project once you realize what can be accomplished in the coming weeks, months, or years.
- Your mind allows you to venture beyond the commonplace, the familiar, or the obvious.
- You can make things happen by turning thoughts into action.
- You refuse to be stifled by traditions or trapped by routines. You bristle when someone says, “We can’t change that. We’ve always done it this way.”
- You enjoy looking at the world from different perspectives and are always searching for connections.
- You feel confident in your ability to take risks and manage your own life. You have an inner compass that gives you certainty in your decisions.
- You are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. You have the ability to figure out how different people can work together productively.
- You love to learn, and you intuitively know how you learn best. Your natural ability to pick up and absorb information quickly and to challenge yourself to continually learn more keeps you on the cutting edge.
Remember I mentioned the idea of the ‘blind spots’ I need to watch out for? Here are some that hit those ‘ouch’ buttons for me:
- Because Relators (that’s me) typically do not trust others implicitly and people have to earn your trust over time, some may think you are hard to get to know.
- When working with others, sometimes they may misinterpret your strong Strategic talents as criticism.
- Sometimes you might charge ahead and act without a solid plan B.
- Because you speak with authority, you might be used to getting the final word.
- Before you commit to something, make sure you have the time and resources you need to do it right.
- You love the process of learning so much that the outcome might not matter to you. Be careful not to let the process of knowledge acquisition get in the way of your results and productivity.
So, with all this in mind, I am compelled to slow down, take a breath, create the plan, and follow it! The actual ‘agenda’ of actionable activities are laid out, thanks to the demand for a well thought out proposal required by the college. The ‘plan’ will address everything to be arranged before we hit ‘go’ on August 1, 2021. It’s about laying the foundation. The plan needs to be determined before jumping into the various research activities, in various locations, before meeting amazing people and expanding my learning, and before embracing new experiences. Time and focus must be first be given to the planning…it has to take the front seat in my mind…for now. Stay tuned as the plan emerges.
Note: if you want to talk some more about the tools mentioned in the blog, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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