Understanding and Appreciating individual Differences
Diagnosing fundamental differences in others is, similarly, an important part of being an effective manager. Diversity in a group, showing in different ways of thinking, diffrent opinions, cultural views... foster creativity, complex problem solving and likelihood that working colleagues will challenge the perspective of the authority figure; lack of diversity in the composition of key decision-making bodies makes it difficult for them to recognize changes in their environment and to respond in appropriately new and novel ways (Cameron, Kim & Whetten, 1987).
One key to helping individuals feel comfortable discussing ways in which they are different is by sharing a commitment to focusing on differences not distinctions. We observe differences; we create distinctions. Differents help us understand potential sources of misunderstanding between people and give us clues for how we can work together more effectivily. Distinctions create social barriers between people for the express purpose of creating advantages and disadvantages.
The creation of such distinctions destroys trust among people.
The point is, recognizing differences is not the same as evaluating distinctions. One is helpful; the other is hurful.
Important Areas of Self-Awareness:
- Emotional intelligence: the ability to manage oneself and to manage relationships with others. Competencies in this area, including self-awareness, wre twice as important in contributing to excellence as cognitive intelligence (IQ) and expertise (Goleman, 1998a).
- Personal values: are the core of the dynamics of behavior, and play so large a part in unifying personality. Two major types of value are considered: instrumental and terminal.
- Cognitive style: which refers to the manner in which individuals gather and process information. The differences in cognitive style influence perception, learning, problem solving, decision making, communication, and creativity.
- Orientation toward change: fucuses on the methods people use to cope with change in their environment. Two important dimensions related with this: locus of control and intolerance of ambiguity.
- Core self-evaluation: