Western Washington University Western Washington University

Professional Skills
and
Introduction to Professional Management
Summer 2008

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Self-Awareness

Organizations frequently facilitate employee self-awareness by engaging in teambuilding that helps employees understand themselves and others as they work together. In this class, we use six measures that provide feedback about three personal dimensions: personal values, cognitive style, and attitudes toward change. We use measures of these dimensions to provoke thought about how you interact with others in teams and organizations in general. When analyzing the results of any survey, it is important to be critical. Remember: the objective is reflection and thought-provocation – accuracy of the results is not necessary for you to benefit from the testing experience! It is important to be critical of the results in terms of how you feel they reflect your values, personality, attitude, and interaction style.

Below is a summary of each of the self-awareness dimensions we explore, along with a description of the measures used to enhance reflection on how each individual interacts in the team setting.

Personal Values: Personal values are the criteria we use for the choices we make. They help us decide everything from the trivial to the very important. At work and in teams, our values influence how we interact with others. Our priorities in terms of relationships versus tasks, quality versus quantity, or time spent at work versus time spent with family are determined by our values. Our values guide us when we need to make trade-offs between things we need and want to do when time, funds, and/or opportunities are limited.

The Rokeach Value Survey provides you with an opportunity to choose and prioritize among values that will be pertinent to your teamwork. This instrument requires you to rank order both terminal values (1st list) and instrumental values (2nd list). After completing this survey, transfer the top five values for each list to the worksheet attached to this handout.

Cognitive Style: A person’s cognitive style reflects their approach to life in terms of how they think about situations and act on those thoughts. We primarily think of a person’s cognitive style as their personality. Knowledge about how your personality is perceived by others can be very useful when working in a team. It can help you “play to your strengths” and be aware of what can cause you stress. Your “sensitive line” is the place where certain situations, people, or behaviors can cause you stress and thus to behave in ways that are not productive for either yourself or the others involved. Self-awareness of your sensitive line is imperative for effective interaction with others in the work place.

Understanding the personalities of those you work with is important as well. Personality tests are frequently used in the workplace to enhance understanding of why people approach work differently. Many organizations use the following personality tests in their employee development efforts.

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter 2 assesses your personality from your responses to an online survey. This personality assessment is modeled after the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and will provide you with an analysis of your personality temperament (one of four) and a 4-letter acronym of your personality type. As with any survey, these results are based on your responses and may or may not be accurate in your view. Make sure to read about your temperament and type on the website and reflect on whether or not this information is accurate. If the results don’t feel right to you, look at how you scored on some of the dimensions. Sometimes a change in one dimension can lead you to a better view of your personality. Take some time to read through the other temperaments to see if there is another one that is a better fit in your opinion.

The Assertiveness profile is a fun on-line test that can give you some feedback on how assertive you are with others. If you find this survey intriguing, take the time to pay for the other more involved (and accurate) assessment at Queendom.com. For this exercise, however, it is only necessary to take the free test via the link on the worksheet.

The Learning Style Inventory provides feedback about your preferences when learning from experience. The learning cycle includes four processes: experience, reflection, planning, and experimentation. Each individual naturally prefers one or more phase, and in teams, individuals tend to gravitate more toward their preferred learning process. Understanding your preferences can help you to make efforts to compensate when working alone or with others.

Attitude Toward Change: In the New Economy, change is not only inevitable, it is necessary to stay competitive and dynamic in the business world. Understanding how you cope with change – and various types of change – can help you anticipate issues surrounding change that may be more challenging for you, and also areas that you can excel. In teams and organizations, it is often important to take time to plan and implement changes so that everyone can work more efficiently and effectively. Understanding how each individual approaches change can help the team or organization as a whole plan change efforts that all can accept and work toward.

The Tolerance of Ambiguity survey measures how you respond to change – does it make you uncomfortable, or are you enthusiastic when faced with uncertainty or complex situations? There are three dimensions measured: Novelty (comfort with new situations), Complexity (comfort with complex situations), and Insolubility (comfort with problems that have never been solved before).

Locus of Control indicates a person’s perceptions of the limitations on their abilities to change the status quo. Individuals with a more external locus of control tend to perceive the control they have as limited by fate or other external factors. Those who have a more internal locus of control tend to feel they control their own destiny – they see their own pro-activity as instrumental in affecting their future. Understanding your own locus of control – and those of your teammates – can help you to best facilitate change in your team.

Self Awareness is an essential skill for effective team members, leaders and managers. Developing self-awareness is a lifelong process, and so periodically reflecting on your own values, personality, behaviors, and attitudes can be extremely important to enhancing your own career potential. In addition, as you work in teams in the future, utilizing self-assessment tools will be a necessary method (frequently required by organizations) in increasing self- and other-awareness.

Self-Awareness Worksheet:

Name:

Instructions for all surveys:

Complete and score the three surveys handed out in class (Rokeach Value Survey, Learning Style Inventory, and Tolerance for Ambiguity Scale).

Also complete the Keirsey Temperament Sorter II, the Locus of Control Web Survey, and the Assertiveness Personality Test. The scoring instructions are attached to the survey when needed. Follow the scoring instructions carefully.

Enter your scores on this worksheet and attach it to your 2-page summary (instructions at the bottom of this handout). Remember: surveys provide you with information about yourself, they do not tell you who you are! So be critical in your analysis. This worksheet is due during the class session on Monday, June 23rd, 2-4pm.

INSTRUMENT ASSESSMENT MEASURE
o Keirsey Temperament (one of four) -
o Keirsey Personality Type (one of sixteen -- 4 letter type -
o Rokeach Value Survey Top 5 Terminal Values 1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
Top 5 Instrumental Values 1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
o Assertiveness Personality Profile Score -
o Learning Style Profile (use map for scoring) -
o Tolerance of Ambiguity Novelty Score -
Complexity Score -
Insolubility Score -
Total Score (sum of 3 above) -
o Locus of Control -- Total Score (higher is more internal) -

Self-Assessment Profile:

After discussing your assessment during our class session on self-assessment, you will be asked to provide a brief, 1-2 page (typed, double-spaced) summary of your perceived skill strengths and weaknesses based on the assessment above. In your summary, you may use bullets if you like. I encourage you to integrate the assessment from this assignment with any other feedback you have received throughout your work and school careers that seems relevant to develop a summary of your strengths and weaknesses that is insightful and useful. This write-up is due during the PM session on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008.


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