Self-awareness is the basis of conscious life. People, whose level of self-awareness is high, are more rational and flexible in life. Of course, each person has strengths and weaknesses. However, those people, who are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, can use and improve them consciously. Understanding strengths and developmental needs is necessary to use more of the strengths and hide the weaknesses, while they are being improved. This paper is a self-awareness assignment, which explores two areas of strengths, two areas of weaknesses, and then develops a plan of action related to a single strength and a single weakness. It should be noted that this paper deals with those my strengths and weaknesses, which are associated with leadership.
In order to execute this self-awareness assignment, I completed seven psychological tests, which helped me understand myself and significantly increase the level of self-awareness.
1. Consider how you exemplify the strengths / areas for development. Provide concrete examples of how you demonstrate these strengths / weaknesses in your daily life (at work or at school).
Speaking of strengths, positive affectivity is the quality that helps me minimize the negative experience in life and maximize the positive one. My positive affectivity manifests every day in communication with other people. In fact, I almost do not do anything intentionally to make people like me, but I always feel that I am liked by them. Sometimes they even tell me about that. An example from daily life is about control of emotions at school. Once it happened so that the teacher gave me a bad grade just because of the fact that he thought I had cheated. In reality, everything was the opposite way. Some of my classmates, who were not ready for the lesson, copied my answers for the test. Thus, our responses were identical, which made teacher think that my classmates` work was the original one, and I just cheated. In this situation I faced with unreasonable injustice and could flare aggressively. Nevertheless, I decided to go to the teacher and asked him politely to question me again verbally, so that he became convinced of my knowledge. At the same time, I did not betray my classmates that they cheated, because it is not human. As a result, I received a well-deserved high grade without spoiling the relations with my classmates and teacher.
Social competence is one more strength that helps me interact effectively with people. It is said that social competence is the ability to understand the causes of people`s actions, emotions and decisions and stay unbiased in this case (Luthans et al, 2004.). Speaking of real life examples, I often use social competence at school, especially by picking up non-verbal clues to people. For example, if the teacher looks tensed, holds his hands in his pockets and decisively walks in the class, the best response of the student is to follow teacher`s instructions. At the same time, when the teacher asks a verbal question, the answer to which should be chosen from multiple choice, it often happens so that the teacher`s facial expression shows the correct answer to the question. This ability helped me many times.
Weaknesses are also an integral part of my life. Mental stuck to the events is one of my weaknesses. When something happens in my life, especially if it is a negative event for me, it is difficult to throw an event out of my head. It sticks to my head for a long time. It would be nice if in such cases the brain analyzed past event, and just looked for reasons why it had happened. But this is not happening. The situation is just being replayed for many times. Such a state depends on the degree of emotional intensity. The mind can get stuck in my head for a few hours, days or even weeks. For example, such mental stuck once occurred in the situation that is described two paragraphs above (about an unfairly low assessment that the teacher gave me because he thought I cheated, though it was not true). In reality, I quickly solved that problem simply by an honest conversation with a teacher that helped me save good relationship and reputation. At the same time, this situation and unpleasant feelings that I felt at the time of obtaining an unfair assessment stuck inside me for a long time. I know that it is an absolutely irrational use of my energy, but this state stayed with me for several days.
Another weakness of mine is the lack of habit to analyze recent events in written form. In more simple terms, the most effective way to analyze a past event is to write down and analyze the reasons why it happened (Harris, 2006). This method helps people get rid of mental jam and draw useful conclusions (Wilhelm, 2003). However, I do not practice the written analysis of past events, although I know that it is very effective. An example can be taken from a situation where I received an unfairly low score and then replayed that situation in my head over and over again. If I had a habit of writing the analysis of adverse events, I would get rid of the obsessive thoughts much faster and more efficiently.
2. Describe how each of the strengths / weaknesses impacts your performance at work and / or how it currently affects your performance at school. If you find that you can not identify how the strength / weakness helps / hinders your performance, then re-consider why it is a strength or why you would want to improve the skill, or go back to step 1 and identify another area for development.
Positive affectivity helps me in all areas of life, including school. Thanks to positive affectivity, I am active, responsive, attentive, and inspired most of the time. In fact, people tend to lean to people who are in good spirits and to those who are constantly evolving. Positive affectivity helps me develop faster, because I am able to find positive moments in any life situation.
Social competence helps me spend time with people more effectively. This means that I am mostly sympathetic and sociable. This enables me to find a common language with any person. I can say that I feel the mood of people through understanding of non-verbal communication signs. As a result, I almost do not put people in awkward situations.
Nevertheless, I find it hard to put the event out of my mind. This habit takes a lot of time and efforts, since a person can not do anything else when his or her thoughts are turning around the situation (Rodríguez-Martín et al., 2013). This happens often enough with both negative and positive events. But it always takes away too much of my time and attention.
Another my weakness is the lack of habit to write down the recent events and the reasons why they occurred. I do not do this, because it takes too much time. It is difficult for me to sit for a long time and write down everything that happened with me in this or that situation. However, because I do not write these problematic situations, I often think about them for a very long time.
Integrating Academic Research
1. I chose social competence as the strength and a need for a written analysis of the events (especially the negative ones) as the weakness.
2. Speaking about future careers, these two qualities, which I have described above, are related to leadership, because the effective leader should necessarily possess social competence (Messick & Kramer, 2004). In addition, an effective leader or manager needs to solve the current problems quickly and efficiently, without being stuck on them. Therefore, being preoccupied with thoughts about the event instead of written analysis of everything that happened is an absolutely inefficient and destructive skill that needs to be minimized in order to be an effective leader. I am talking about leadership because I see my future career related to leadership and management. A theoretical approach to the problem, which I have described, is associated with the concept of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is considered to be an important component of effective leadership (George, 2000). Emotional intelligence is the ability to interact with and to feel people with different personal characteristics (Mayer et al, 2000.). Therefore, it is a very useful skill for my future career and everyday life.
1. Develop a plan of action for capitalizing on one strength (SMART technology).
Specific. I want to achieve a maximum level of social competence because it will help me understand people and be effective in communicating.
Measurable. Social competence is visible when the number of people whose motives I do not understand reduces.
Assignable. I can achieve this goal by reading books, visiting practical training and solving problematic situations with a positive outcome in real life.
Realistic. This goal is realistic, as people are social creatures who live in the community. Therefore, I should be able to communicate effectively with the public.
Time-related. I plan to become more socially competent in two months. Nevertheless, this is only short-term goal. Two months are enough for conscious visiting two training sessions and reading two books.
B. In order to be successful in my career, I need to be perfectly social competent. Given that I pretend to take a leader or managerial position in the future, I need to be able to understand the nature and the inner world of people perfectly. It is necessary to form a solid team and to reach out to each employee.
2. Develop a plan for one of my areas of weakness (SMART technology).
Specific. I want to learn how to write down the problems and solve them "on paper" because it will help me save time for thinking about the problem.
Measurable. The effect will be seen when I will be able to forget the problem immediately after the decision.
Assignable. I can achieve this with the help of self-practice.
Realistic. This goal is relevant for me because it will help me get rid of the unpleasant habit (to think about what happened many times).
Time-related. It is said that the habit is fixed after 21 days. Accordingly, during the following 21 days, I plan to record all the problematic situations that happen, not just to scroll through them in my head anymore.
B. Improvements as a result of getting rid of this weakness will be evident in the way of my thinking. This will happen when my mind will not be stuck on playing the same situation a million times, but it will quickly find a solution and "let the situation go". This might be achieved by a written analysis of problematic situations.
C. Many scientists and psychologists say that the ability to analyze events in written form is the skill that can be easily developed if one pays attention to it (McFadzean, 2000). This skill develops over time and becomes more efficient every time a person writes down all the thoughts about the problem on paper or in electronic form.
George, J. M. (2000). Emotions and leadership: The role of emotional intelligence. Human relations, 53(8), 1027-1055.
Harris, R. (2006). Embracing your demons: An overview of acceptance and commitment therapy. Psychotherapy in Australia, 12(4), 70.
Luthans, F., Luthans, K. W., & Luthans, B. C. (2004). Positive psychological capital: Beyond human and social capital. Business horizons, 47(1), 45-50.
Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., Caruso, D. R., & Sitarenios, G. (2001). Emotional intelligence as a standard intelligence.
McFadzean, E. (2000). Techniques to enhance creative thinking. Team Performance Management: An International Journal, 6(3/4), 62-72.
Messick, D. M., & Kramer, R. M. (Eds.). (2004). The psychology of leadership: New perspectives and research. Psychology Press.
Rodríguez-Martín, B. C., Moritz, S., Molerio-Pérez, O., & Gil-Pérez, P. (2013). Effectiveness of association splitting in reducing unwanted intrusive thoughts in a nonclinical sample. Behavioural and cognitive psychotherapy, 41(04), 433-440.
Wilhelm, S. (2003). Cognitive treatment of obsessions. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 3(2), 187-200.