The Life Style Inventory (LSI) exercise had helped me become more aware of the thought patterns and life principles that I value as a person and in my relationship with others. Who we are as persons greatly influence and affect how effective and efficient we can be as leaders and managers thus it is important to venture into an awareness activity that would bring us closer to who really are or to possibly refute and analyze what we learn and what we think we are. This paper presents my LSI results and a discussion of how the results mirror or contradict my personal belief about who I am as well as provide a course of action for the improvement of my not so effective styles.
Part I: Personal Thinking Styles
`Primary` and `Backup` Thinking Styles:
The LSI result form provides a circumplex profile (Figure 1; see appendix) which maps out the scores of my responses to the inventory and thus identifies the specific aspects of my LSI result. It is evident from Figure 1 that my highest score falls in the Affiliative style (2’o clock position). It can be said that my primary thinking style is affiliative which means that I tend to place importance and value to my interpersonal relationships and to always make sure that I do not make enemies and please everyone. In reflection, I agreed with this description because I must admit that I always strive to maintain harmony in all my relationships, may it be at work or in my neighborhood and with my family. I become uncomfortable when I hear people screaming at each other or getting angry, I always strive to say things kindly even if I am already upset with how things are being done. The second highest score fall on the Humanistic-encouraging style which then is my back-up thinking style. This meant that I dominantly want to and work in helping other people achieve their potentials and dreams. This is also true for me since I am drawn to volunteer on groups that help people become better persons. I also think about how my actions would affect other people, I try to not put people down, or to appear that I am better than they are. I am an encourager in the sense that I make it my personal mission to encourage those who are feeling depressed and those who think that they are unlucky and unloved. When I analyzed my primary and back-up thinking styles I realized that they actually compliment each other, since I seek and value affiliation with other people, I try to help them grow personally and professionally and that somehow I could see why people always say that I am a good person.
The style I have chosen to limit my effectiveness is that of being Oppositional (7’o clock position). The oppositional style is directly in conflict with humanistic-encouraging style, and since oppositional is in the aggressive-defensive styles I would really say that this style is working against me. Oppositional meant contradicting other people’s opinions and ideas or always correcting and trying to change other people. I know that this style does not really reflect who I am a hundred percent; I mean I have not gotten to the point of actually saying people are wrong because I am not good at confrontations, as much as possible I want to have peace in my work and in my home. On the other hand, I would like to point out, that sometimes I am like these, due to my wish to help and encourage people, and I always almost suggest things that they should do than what they originally have in mind. For example, my friend said she wanted to study photography, but since I knew that she was more talented at drawing, I readily said that she should consider going to fine arts than photography, which she actually did. In another instance, my boss assigned us to different committees for our company party, and although I was not on the program committee I told the one in charged that she should get someone from HRD to be the emcee because I knew she was good at it even if the committee chairperson had already volunteered to do it. Sometimes, I hear people say that I am being too interested in other people’s lives that sometimes they don’t ask for my opinion when they plan or brainstorm on a project. I think that this style have made me somewhat less of a team player, although I don’t really want to monopolize the good ideas, I can’t help myself when I start thinking of who would be the best for this particular task etc.
The behavior that I really want to change is being too quick to suggest and point –out the obvious, I feel that people like me for being supportive, for being encouraging and trying to please everybody, but somehow that behaviors also makes me unpopular with my peers. It appears that I volunteer them for something even if they don’t want to do it, but in good faith, I know that they could handle it well.
Part II: Impact On Management Style (25 points)
A manager spends most of his time planning the work of others and planning how to accomplish the goals of the department. I believe that I am good at planning, I usually have a good idea of who is good at something and I assign tasks to people who I personally know can perform adequately in that task. As to planning how to achieve goals, I personally am not that good at it; because sometimes I plan to do something like exercise 3 times a week and then I end up not exercising at all, or falling short from achieving it. Because, I go out of my way to please others, I end up doing things for others and don’t have enough time for myself.
I could say that I am a great organizer, I could organize parties, reunions, meetings and the like and I always come up with good ideas for it. But I know that organizing management wise is more than just being an event organizer, it takes the authority and power to command others to do specific tasks. I am actually not good at power and authority issues, I am actually low on power and medium on approval, which means that I would rather seek the approval of others by helping them than to order them to do things. I can actually suggest and assign but not demand them to do it.
I would say that I am not a good leader, if leadership means being able to delineate and be strong willed to exact others to perform then I am not that person. I would again work for others because their approval is important to me, I would rather maintain good interpersonal relationships and friendships than being honest and confrontational. I also tend to work towards boosting other people’s confidence and belief in their abilities, I do want to self-actualize but it is more of being a good person who is loved and appreciated by others.
Controlling is defined as taking action to ensure that procedures are carried out and taking corrective actions to remedy it if it is not implemented, by this definition alone, I feel in my heart that I am poor at this. I can actually encourage and inspire people to be the best that they can be, but if they fall short of achieving that, I don’t take it against them. Managers need to be controlling because they have to run an organization and they expect to see results, I expect people to try to do things that they like to do, and if they don’t do it, I end up doing it myself.
Part III: Genesis of Personal Styles (25 points)
I have grown up in a very closely knit family, and very traditional in its ways and upbringing. I am very close with my mother and sister and I turn to them for support and encouragement. My parents taught us that fighting or confronting someone is not the bets way to get things done, it would only lead to hurt and strain the relationship. As far back as I could remember, I was never hurt or humiliated in front of other people by my parents. When I wanted to do a play, or to go to summer camp, they were always supportive and I think I came out as a better person because of that. On the other hand, I spent my earl school years at a private school were I was taught to be humble and be a good worker; the premium was on how many things we get done well and not to be competitive with each other, which I must say have early on formed my work ethics. I have also been involved with a number of organizations as a volunteer and I was not designated as a leader and I did not aim for it too, I was used to being the follower, and the one who assists and helps the leader get things done. I was popular in our neighborhood and in school because I was always the kind one, and maybe it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy for me but I do know that I am happy being like that. From my family background and the experiences that I have had had made me believe that we become who we are because we are shaped by the environment that we grew up in. Studying to become a manager is a completely different world for me and here remains the challenge for me.
Part IV: Conclusion and Reflection (25 points)
I have taken on this course because I am venturing into a new field and which I would want to test myself and find out whether I can still improve myself. I generally have constructive styles and if I ask myself whether I envision a manager that has my styles, then I would probably say yes. I believe that a manager can be firm and compassionate at the same time, and that one can gain wisdom from others and each person really has something good to offer if we just listen to them. But my challenge remains how to achieve something for myself; I have been too absorbed in pleasing other people that I feel guilty talking about things that I have accomplished. With this exercise, I am reminded that I need to feel that I have accomplished something I could be proud of before I could ask others to do the same.
Figure 1 My LSI Styles Circumplex