The Liberating Power of Self-Awareness

There was a time when I felt very resistant to personality profiles like DISC or Myers-Briggs. The way I saw it was that a leader had to be whatever he/she needed to be at the moment and that giving too much weight to profiles was too constraining. Now I see that I couldn’t have been more mixed up.

At SGR, we use both of those tools; and we use another tool called “IOPT”, which stands for Input Output Processing Template.

Tens of thousands of people have taken the IOPT survey. Most of the time, a person will smile when he/she reads the reports and say, “That’s right! That’s me!” Sometimes a person will protest that his/her profile isn’t accurate, but usually the team responds by saying, “Oh yes it is!”

IOPT measures two things:

  1. Are you systematic or unpatterned in the way you process information?
  2. Are you oriented toward contemplation or toward action?

Sounds simple, right? It is, but it has huge implications for both self-management and for working with others. Let’s look first at self-management:

  • Self-awareness is liberating—not constraining. Understanding your preferences doesn’t mean you are incapable of looking at it in a different way. However, you probably have a “default” preference, and knowing it allows you to use it to your advantage.
  • Self-awareness is liberating—for the people around you. There’s nothing right or wrong in the way you process information; but don’t kid yourself, it is affecting the people around you. By becoming more self-aware, you will see the emotional impact you are having on others. Believe me, they will be grateful.
  • Self-awareness is liberating—for being successful. I am what IOPT calls an “RS-Reactive Stimulator”. That means I am unpatterned in how I process information, and I am oriented toward action. I have a lot of ideas, and I am anxious to put them into action. This works great when a quick resolution is needed and when “good enough” really is good enough. (It isn’t always.) But, when it’s better to think through all the ramifications and carefully plan out each step (which also isn’t always best), I can tell myself, “RS Mode may not be the best approach to this one.”

Does that mean I am incapable of the task at hand? No, it just means my normal way of thinking isn’t a recipe for success in this situation. It means there is another way to approach the situation; and if I can’t, perhaps others on my team can!

That leads me to another way that IOPT can help you—Working with Teams! We’ll look at that next week…

Mike Mowery


Written by:
Mike Mowery
Director of Leadership Development, Strategic Government Resources
governmentresource.com

3 responses

  1. Socrates said, “Know thyself”.
    And 2,000 years later, the better Managers are those who most accurately know their own strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, buttons, etc.

    1. That’s right, David. It’s all about coming to terms with who you are and then handling situations accordingly. It sounds so simple, but for some leaders, it’s probably the hardest thing to do.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. […] my last blog, I wrote about the liberating power of self-awareness and the usefulness of self-analysis profiles […]

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