Why is it important to understand personality?

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 10:30 by Bill McAneny

RunnerWhy is it important to understand personality? Well from an academic perspective it is just…well interesting. Oh but from a life perspective it is so much more than that. The better we understand ourselves and other people, the more successful we’ll be in dealing with people and situations; and getting it right. Psychology may be an academic discipline, but understanding personality it is a much more practical subject, it is about using psychology to your advantage in everyday situations, to ‘get’ people, to influence, help and support, to get your point across, in a way that's right for you, to better understand and shape decision-making, to motivate and manage people, and deal with conflict and most importantly to understand and manage our own impact on other people.

So sometimes it is important to differentiate between ‘psychology,’ the subject and ‘the subjects,’ ie the rest of us with all our foibles and idiosyncrasies. And like everything else practice makes perfect so using the Character Analysis can really help as it breaks down the elements into observable situations. Does someone tend to hold back initially and think things through, or ‘speak out loud?’ do they like to begin at the beginning or start with the possibilities? Do they exhibit a blunt directness or tactful diplomacy? Do they like to get the job done before chilling, or do they chill then get the job done? And of course you’ll get it wrong sometimes, we all do. That individual whom you identified as an Extravert because they were so outspoken and lucid, was in fact an Introvert who had been asked a question about something important to them, thought about it and went for it. But that’s all part of the learning.

We are all applied psychologists: we have friends, we go down the pub, we go to parties, we form part of teams and we make decisions about people all the time; and often get it wrong. So let’s start to get it right, it’s so much more rewarding.

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