My Hardwiring – A Case Study – Part 3

Our three major ways of receiving information from the world around us – our sense of hearing, of seeing, and our kinesthetic sense – have a major bearing on how we absorb and understand that information. And while our senses are always “on” when we’re awake, they are not equally effective at processing the information that comes our way. “Wait a minute,” you might say, “my hearing is fine, my vision is 20-20, and I easily take in information about my immediate environment.” That may all be true. But that doesn’t mean all three of those senses are equally effective. Here’s why:

Early in your brain’s growth your nervous system developed a dominant pattern for processing information, using your three primary senses. One sense is the best-developed – your “conscious” sense. One is not as well developed, but helps to support your strongest sense; let’s call that your “subconscious” sense. The third sense is significantly weaker; we call that your “unconscious” sense. While you do use all three senses to take in and process information, your dominant or conscious sense is simply more effective.

So, what does this mean for you? For me? My weakest sense is Auditory – information that is only “told” to me simply doesn’t seem to get processed effectively in my brain. What I see and experience, however, seems to make more sense and create more lasting impressions for me. Like many who are primarily Visual and Kinesthetic, seeing/reading information and writing/drawing/notetaking seems to “lock in” the information. I often take notes during meetings and the physical (kinesthetic) act of writing the note plus the visual act of seeing the information on paper tends to make the information “stick” much better, even if I don’t look at my notes ever again.

What about your information processing preferences? Which senses seem to work best for you? Which sense seems to be the least effective way to gather information?

Next Time: The final piece of hardwiring – Talents & Strengths

To order “The 8 Essential Skills for Supervisors & Managers” visit Amazon.com.

My Hardwiring – A Case Study – Part 2

As an ENFJ I have some company within the U.S. population; we make up a little more than 8% of the country and do share some common general traits. But my personality preferences are only part of what makes up my individual “hardwiring.”

   

Which Hemisphere Dominates?

We use both “sides” of our brain all the time and constantly, however the nural connections are usually more well developed on one side. That side becomes our “dominant” hemisphere and seems to get used for about 60% of our mental work. Our dominant “side” has a profound effect on the way we prefer to learn. Left-brain people seem to learn best through understanding the details, facts, and logic of an issue or situation. In school they usually prefer objective, fact-based tests. They tend to be interested in “how” something should be done. Right-brain people seem to learn best through understanding the “big picture” first and look for patterns and relationships among the facts and details. Usually their visual sense is fairly well-developed and use color, music, and drawings to anchor what they learn. Not surprisingly, Sensors are more likely to be left-brain dominant and iNtuitives like me are more likely to be right-brain dominant.

Think about yourself; perhaps you know which “side” tends to be your dominant hemisphere. Maybe you’ve never thought about it before. Then ask yourself how you can better use this part of your hardwiring to be better at the things that are really important to you. The next step in the journey.

Next time: Visual, Kinesthetic, Auditory – Dealing with Incoming Information

My Hardwiring – A Case Study – Part 1

The easiest way I can think of to illustrate the way our hardwiring influences and steers us in certain directions is to use my own hardwiring as an example. At the risk of telling you more about me than you might care to know, here goes:

Personality Preferences – I’m an Extravert – outgoing, highly verbal, and get energized by being around other people. I’m more interested in action than I am sitting and thinking deeply about events or issues. I’m interested in the “big picture” – the “why” of things a lot more than I am interested in the “how” or details of things. I pay attention to the mission, need to craft or see the vision of what we are trying to accomplish, and use my gut-feel or intuition to help me make decisions. When making those decisions I consider the impact on others, my internal value system as well as analyzing the logic and bottom-line effects. What’s best for people is going to get my nod most of the time. I prefer to plan my work and work my plan most of the time when it comes to my professional life; schedules and deadlines are helpful, and having an organized, neat environment feels comfortable. That’s not quite so important in my personal life and that seems to be increasing as I get older. From a Myers-Briggs standpoint, that makes me an Extravert, iNtuitive, Feeler, Judger (ENFJ) with some well-developed Perceiver tendencies.

For more information on the Myers-Briggs, see the website at Midwest Consulting Group.

What about your personality preferences? Care to share?

Next Time – My Hardwiring – A Case Study – Part 2

To order The 8 Essential Skills for Supervisors & Managers” visit Amazon.com.

What’s Your Hardwiring?

We all have our individual “hardwiring” – those aspects of who we are that are the product of our genetic makeup and early nurturing. In some ways we are driven to behave, react, communicate, and think as we do. Often subconsciously, and sometimes in spite of our conscious desire otherwise. Over the years some particularly valuable and practical tools have helped us better understand  ourselves. As a result, we come to understand other people better.

A combination of factors make up our hardwiring:

  • Personality  – our preferences – those in-born ways of looking at the world, what energizes us, how we make decision, and what we pay attention to. We use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to help understand Personality.
  • Hemisphere – while we use both right and left hemispheres of our brain all the time, but most of us utilize one hemisphere more than the other. Whether we are Left Brain or Right Brain dominant has a major affect on how we learn new information and skills.
  • Information Processing – our three major senses (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic) provide us with most of the information we use in life. Information we acquire through our dominent sense seems clearer and is more easily absorbed.
  • Talents & Strengths – our innate individual “gifts” – those aspects of who we are when we’re at our best. We use the Clifton StrengthFinder assessment to help people understand their talents and those of others.

Understanding yourself is an essential part of Skill 1 – Managing Yourself. What’s your hardwiring like?

Next time – My Hardwiring – a case study – Part 1

Why Skill 1 is “Managing Yourself”

Some would claim that Communication is the most important skill. Others would argue that being good at Solving Problems and Making Decisions is the most important. Still others will assert that Building Successful Relationships is more important than anything else. I believe Managing Yourself is Skill 1 – the most important and critical initial skill. And, of course, I’m about to tell you why.

The ability to effectively manage your own life is, to me, the foundational skill – all the other skills flow from this ability. Learning, developing, and practicing good self-management puts you in the position of being able to acquire the rest of the 8 Essential Skills And the opposite is also true; the supervisor or manager who is poor at managing themself is going to have a difficult time acquiring the rest of the skillset. The result is a rather ineffective, probably unsuccessful manager.

We’re not talking just about managing yourself at work. What I really mean is learning how to handle the pace and density of our modern life. Life is a combination of professional and personal tasks, projects, relationships, plans, information, and challenges. The sheer volume of information, ideas, communications, commitments, projects, and tasks tends to grow all the time. The mix changes constantly, as do priorities. And as our careers advance and our personal life progresses, the more complex the mix seems to become. Managing Yourself involves learning a set of skills, but more importantly, it involves knowing who you are, what you stand for, and what drives you as a person.

Managing Yourself starts with knowing yourself.

Next Time: What’s Your Hardwiring?

Ken & His Talents

Ken was a middle manager in a manufacturing company. He had a talent for communication – for vividly passing on to others the company’s and unit’s vision and strategy. Like most managers at his level he also had budget responsibilities, for which he had little talent or interest.

Many companies would send Ken through a series of budget or financial training programs, trying to improve his skills. Over time he might improve his skills to the point of basic competence, but the financial end of the unit will never be a strong suit. Instead, Ken’s company recognized his strengths. He went through a basic training program in the company’s budget process and then delegated most of this responsibility to a trusted team member who understood the process and enjoyed working with financial data. This freed Ken to concentrate on doing what he liked and what he did best. He continues to work hard to improve his communication skills, keeps up to speed about industry developments, and is seen as a high-potential candidate for movement into corporate planning and executive management.

Lessons Learned

Thanks, in part, to his company’s support, Ken was able to focus on one of his talents and turn it into a significant strength. By building on his talents and managing around his weakness in budgeting, he is in line for the executive suite and the company is growing a highly valuable employee.

Skill 1 – Managing Yourself

Your ability to be successful in your organizational role begins with how well you manage yourself, and that’s pretty much up to you. But understanding yourself is the first step if you want to become truly effective personally and professionally. Self-knowledge is the first requirement of self-management. And the ability to manage yourself is indeed the first essential skill – Skill 1 – in becoming a successful supervisor and manager.

What do you think? Of the 8 Essential Skills, it seems to me that you can’t manage others well if you can’t manage yourself. If you’ll play along for a minute and accept that Managing Yourself  is one of the 8 Essential Skills, then what do you think is involved in successfully managing yourself?