We are all applied psychologists

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Published on Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:38 by Prelude Team

Personality and behaviour are the same right? Wrong!

I used to teach Senior Executives from all over the world how to understand, support, motivate and get the best out of people. When I taught the bit about how personality is the result of the interaction between Genetic and Environmental conditions: P = (GxE) and so is stable and predictable and once set does not basically change everyone used to like it. They’d say: “So that’s just how I’m built, you can’t change me,” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” But then I’d explain that behaviour is a result of the interaction between Personality and Situation, B = (PxS) and so change the situation we’re all capable of modifying our behaviour and it was less well-received, as it means they can, and indeed should, modify their approach depending on the person and the situation. So, we can’t change our personalities, but we can modify our behaviour. And this means accommodating, accept and allow for differences.

You see knowing you are (say) an Extravert and your colleague is an Introvert is in itself at best ‘interesting;’ but the practical aspects are so much more useful. So, you have tendency to talk around a subject, you like the whole interaction of chatting, and indeed it energises you. But once you know your colleague prefers to think things through before giving an answer and will feel overwhelmed by too many words, then you have a responsibility. You will tend to do your thinking out loud through speaking, your colleague prefers to think it through inside their head quietly then the answer will pop out perfectly formed. So, you think it through for them, consider what point you want to make, explain to them your views, ask for their views, then leave them alone to cogitate; then you get the best out of them and play to their strengths. Knowing a colleague is a Sensing type, and you are an Intuitive type works the same way. They need to take in information step by step, factually, rooted in the here and now and the practical. You prefer possibilities, concepts, ‘big picture’ thinking. But do it your way, they’ll get overwhelmed and may even not understand what you mean.

So, understand (yourself and your colleagues), adapt your behaviour and get the best out of all your interactions. Our sister company, Personality at work, will show you how to do that. Please feel free to have a look:

Personality at Work

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