Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Who am I?

Have you ever asked yourself, “Who am I?” If not, you better ask it. And ask it sooner than later…

Effective management starts with self management. And self management starts with self discovery. Each manager is his or her own best resource. As with any resource, managers should put sincere effort into the development and improvement of that resource. But, unless you know who you are, you won’t know what you can do and where you need help. Knowing your strengths as well as your weaknesses can help give direction in life, can make you much more effective in setting and reaching goals, and will make you a more well-rounded person.

You may argue that it is your Manager’s responsibility to identify (and provide you feedback on) your strengths and weaknesses. But is your life so insignificant for you that you’d throw it on mercy of someone else? Remember that your growth is your responsibility. Also, how many hours do you spend with your Boss every day? Every week? Every year? You spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year with yourself. So, who else can know you better than yourself? Once a while having a date with yourself, your inner self, could be an eye opening experience. Your Manager can just provide you few pointers, mostly generic ones. But you are different from any other person who has ever lived in the history of the universe. You are the only one in the whole of creation who has your particular set of abilities. Finding the Inner You is something that only you can do – Who else but you can know which abilities you possess and what kind of limitations you have. You know for sure that you are your well wisher; you know that you are not jealous of yourself; and you know that you are on your side. So, you can’t go wrong in judging yourself.

Knowing who you are means knowing what you can do (your strengths) and what you cannot do (your weaknesses). But identifying your strengths and weaknesses won’t be an easy task for you. It is really hard (and requires total truthfulness) to be completely honest with yourself about yourself. We think that we know right off what our strengths are. But trust me, mostly we don’t. We think we do, but we don’t. Unless we make a conscious effort to know, we won’t. Knowing your weaknesses is even harder to come to terms with. It’s easy to get confused between what you don’t like to do, versus where you’re actually the weakest. Knowing who you are also means knowing what you like to do (your likings) and what you do not like to do (your disliking). I will be talking more on all these in my blog, “Creating Your SWLD Matrix”.

After you know what’s there inside your toolbox, it is important for you to know what you want to do with your tools. A life without an aim is lame. Unless you know where you want to go, you will never reach there. Ambition drives motivation, determination, and all the ingredients to achieve success in your life. No matter how successful you are or a big loser you are, your dream or goal is there inside your mind. You might just hide it from everyone (including yourself), but it is there. And when you know who you are, your goal becomes crystal clear. I will be talking more on how to reach your professional goal in my blog, “Creating Your Career Graph Timeline”.

After you know who you are, help your team members also to know who they are. Encourage them to create their mySWLD matrix and their myTimeline. Remember that your organization invests money in you (the Managers), so that you may invest your time, your experience, your passion and your soul in your people (your team)! Ask your team to use these self analysis tools, and bring the notes to their 1:1 with you. Also explain to them how it would help you to help them even better. I will be talking more about this in my next blogs, “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine : For Managees”, and “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine : For Managers”…

6 comments:

Hemant said...

Good one... things seems to the point and its a good starting point.

Sandip Bumtariya said...

Strategy formulation involves 3 steps (be it for organizational growth or personal growth):
1) Where are we right now?
2) Where do we want to be?
3) How will we reach there?

Your write-up rightly talks about the 1st step for an individual.

About the aspect of working with your team members to make them aware of themselves, I think Trust plays a big role..May be you would address that as well in your next post :)

Keep writing and sharing...

Anthony said...

Excellent post, Naveen! Glad to see you are putting some of your thoughts and philosophies on paper (or online).

Some comments, questions, and suggestions:

* Strengths vs. weaknesses - how does your philosophy compare/contrast with 'Now, Discover Your Strengths', which seems to be endorsed by Adobe management?

* I actually have some mixed feelings about the above book. Yes, it makes sense to leverage your strengths and in some cases not waste time on shoring up weaknesses. But, there are times when weaknesses can become a strength if worked on.

* Similarly, sometimes weaknesses and things we dislike are that way because it takes us out of our comfort zone. People don't like being uncomfortable, yet true growth comes from getting out of our comfort zone and stretch. How would you recommend people identify these opportunities?

* Suggestion1: adding images and graphics can help reinforce some of your points and topics

* Suggestion 2: this first post was a biggie and you covered at least three different topics (1) you take control/responsibility, (2) SWLD, (3) my timeline. Each of these could be it's own blog post. It might be easier for the reader to digest as well. My 2 cents.

Naveen Goel said...

Thanks Tony for the detailed comments. I haven't looked at "Now Discover Your Strengths". Will definitely provide my comments on it after I read it.

You are absolutely correct in correlating weakness/dislikings to being in one comfort zone or the other. That's why it is extremely important to focus on these two quadrants. Many a times, when a person is foced to work on the areas-he-needs-improvement-on (of course providing him enough coaching, mentorship, guidance, direction, training, and tools & equipments to be successful), he not only improves in those areas (i.e., converts his weaknesses into his strenghts), but also becomes able to convert few of his dislikes into likings. I was actually planning to cover this topic in more detail in my next blog - "A Stitch in Time Saves Nine”…

Karthik Sankar said...

Hi Naveen,
You have rightly put that identifying strengths and weakness by oneself is a key to professional growth.

My 2 cents:
I think Passion also plays an important role because even if one might be good in a particular job if one is not passionate one would not become great in the job. There are factors like peer pressure and fear which pushes us to do what we are not passionate about.

Naveen Goel said...

You are right karthik. Passion is a key attribute. I covered it under 'Liking' quadrant.

Thanks and Regards,
Naveen

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