Avoid the Personality Trap

2 minute read

Creatures of Habit

Most people think of their personality as a fixed reference for how they are. In reality, each of us has cultivated a set of interpersonal tools and models we use in working with others over time. As creatures that like routines, we identify what patterns work well in certain situations and help us navigate others effectively, so we repeatedly get “good” results.

Each Situation is Unique

Here’s where that comes up short…we fail to see the costs and payoffs of a tool in particular situations. It’s easy to fall into the thoughtless routine of behaving or communicating in a specific way because it has created results we want. That’s the definition of a habit. We trip ourselves up in not looking at the specific situation we’re in. This is where we can think through what we want to create, see who’s involved, identify how this is different from other scenarios, and consider more behaviors and communication options we can employ. Especially as leaders, it’s essential we don’t limit ourselves in how we work with others.

So getting past our “personalities” helps us to think more broadly, not define ourselves so narrowly, and be more open to testing out something new — a new way to think, a new way to act, and a new way to communicate. The more we grow our tools and our awareness, the more we leave a rigid “personality” behind to be who we truly want to be in any situation.