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Self-Awareness in Human Interactions Essay

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Updated: Mar 20th, 2021

Introduction

Self-awareness is crucial in all human interactions. Understanding ourselves makes it possible for us to participate more meaningfully in groups. This paper presents the findings of a self-awareness exercise. I have collated the views of seven people who know me well as a means of finding out certain things about myself that I may be unaware of. In cases where I am aware, I believe that their feedback will strengthen my ideas about myself and provide me with a means of determining which areas of my group participation traits need improvement. The people who agreed to provide me with this information have interacted with me at the group level. Most of them have been members of shared workgroups and have had to deal with me on various issues. In some cases, I was the group leader while in others I was a participating member. The situations vary from group to group. Some of them are class-based while others are institution-based. I trust their views and take their opinion seriously.

I collected the data in written form, all in soft copy. I have analyzed it using the five questions provided for the exercise. The five questions address the issues of personal strengths and weaknesses. They also address likable and alienating qualities. At the end of the paper, I have analyzed the feedback they provided to bring out my personality trait and behavioral tendencies. I have used them to develop a consistent view of my personality and my tendencies. I have to say that they have helped me to increase my awareness as far as my team working style is concerned. Primarily I have very strong relational qualities. I am also a feeler. My biggest weakness is taking things personally. I have identified this as serious enough to negate the achievements my relational strength provides.

My Strengths

I received valuable feedback relating to how I add value to my workgroup. One respondent stated that I seek consensus on issues even if the majority hold a view that is contrary to mine. The respondent reported that I seek to develop relationships before I set upon tasks. I also have a warm presence that makes people feel comfortable because they feel they can trust me. The second respondent identified my strengths as the ability to go the extra mile to ensure the successful completion of assigned tasks. The respondent also added that I can compromise to ensure that the whole group moves forward. This respondent included an example of a time when I took charge to get the group moving forward. We had a problem deciding on our meeting logistics. I offered my house for the group meeting and then we worked out a convenient time for everyone. The third response concurred with the second response that I have a strong sense of relationships. The respondent said that I concentrate on developing personal relationships making it beneficial for all parties involved. This respondent also said that I have a way of creating balance and seeking clarity on issues. This makes the group proceed onto the task without ambiguity.

The fourth respondent identified a “thorough assessment” of the group’s needs and dynamics as my unique contribution to the group’s development. This respondent also identified me as a natural leader. This is because I moved to provide leadership for the group without a direct requirement for me to do so. To the next respondent, the asset that I am in the group is my non-conventional approach to issues. The respondent also said that I encourage the group members. The fifth respondent said that I “bring forth creative ideas”. The final respondent perceives me as a reliable worker and someone who takes tasks without complaining.

Examples of How I Applied these Strengths

The first example that team members noted how I applied my strengths was in remaining confident in my knowledge and experience. Also, the first respondent noted that I lightened up tense moments when the group had a conflict. The second respondent recalls an incident where I wanted to take charge of a specific component of the project we were working on. Upon realizing that the group had settled on another plan for accomplishing the task, I went with the group’s proposal. The third respondent identified my participation in the online residency ambassadorial role as an example of an application of my strengths. The respondent said that my ability to develop relationships “was well-received” in that context. The respondent added that the group members appreciated my concern for their well-being.

The fourth respondent, who is the owner of a bed and breakfast facility, recalled a situation where I undertook the development of a marketing plan for her business in concert with her employees. During that time, I called for a staff where we jointly developed a plan. Through this process, I applied analytical skills enabling me to develop a thorough understanding of the operations of the business. Unlike before the meeting, the staff saw the business on the same page and felt motivated by their participation. The fifth respondent identified a situation where I remained focused on the task at hand despite an ongoing interpersonal conflict with one of the group members. The respondent adds, “You did your part”, showing that I did everything in my power to resolve the issues. The sixth respondent remembered my participation in the Adult Learning Class, where he says I provided creative ideas. The final respondent noted the timely completion of my tasks in the Leadership Class, despite group-wide problems associated with difficulties in working with google docs.

Traits I Should Maintain

The third question related to traits that each respondent felt I should maintain. The first respondent said that I would do well to maintain adaptability and flexibility especially when working with people from different cultures and backgrounds. The respondent added that I should not let personality and cultural differences affect my participation. The second respondent pointed out a few qualities I should maintain. They included being accommodative and cooperative, calm, and good listening skills. In the respondent’s assessment, these qualities predisposed me to a great leadership career. The third respondent encouraged me to carry on being relationship-focused. The justification for this was that this quality made it easy to work with me since I developed relationships first. Also, the respondent said that I needed to remain keen to share my viewpoint because it made a real difference.

The fourth respondent recognized my ability to bring people together. In this relation, the respondent said, “I would like to see you continue bringing folks together with the use of your special talents”. The fifth respondent concurred with the third respondent saying they would like me to continue being assertive especially in class, to get my point of view across. The sixth respondent liked my analytical thinking skills best. He said it was a great asset to the group and that I needed to continue making it available. The final respondent encouraged me to continue accepting challenges. The respondent said that I would be beneficial to many groups if I continue being reliable and delivered results.

Traits I Should Discard

The respondents encouraged me to discard some traits. The first respondent said that I would do well to stop being too silent during conflicts. The respondent said that I needed to learn to speak out more often during the tense moments that ensue when a conflict plays out. The second respondent related an incident where I took an issue personally and withdrew from the group’s deliberations. The respondent explained that I misunderstood the intention of the group and overreacted by reducing my participation in that particular session. The respondent hopes that it was a one-off incident. The respondent encouraged me to be more assertive because there is more value I can add to the group that way. The third respondent wanted me to “stop holding back” and to stop taking issues personally. This respondent encouraged me to deal with issues as issues without getting them mixed up with the people. I received encouragement to be more assertive also.

The fourth respondent did not list anything in particular that I should stop doing. The fifth respondent asked that I stop being flustered in class. This respondent believed I could communicate more clearly despite the language barrier since English is not my first language. The respondent pointed out that I tended to talk around my point other than getting straight to it. The sixth respondent felt that I held back during discussions and encouraged me to come forth more forcefully. The respondent added that this holding back robbed the group of valuable contribution.

Improvements I Should Make

The following were the contributions of the respondents about changes I can make to improve my group participation. I received encouragement from the first respondent to continue working with my natural gifts. The respondent pointed out that I had an easy way around people, which brought people together. The second respondent said that I would do well to work on being more assertive. The justification offered was that I had a lot to offer to the groups I worked with. The third respondent identified my “emotional response to probing”. The respondent meant that I acted defensively when someone tried to find out what I was thinking about an issue. The respondent wanted to assure me that there were times when people were genuinely interested in my thoughts on the issue and did not plan to use the information I gave maliciously. The same respondent continued to encourage me to develop a higher threshold for conflict because certain issues could only be resolved after a session of intense conflict.

The fourth respondent urged me to carry on working together with groups because I had a natural knack there. The fifth respondent suggested that I put more effort into my communication with the rest of the class. The concern that there were people who missed what I said because of the language barrier motivated this suggestion. This response said that I had a duty to confirm with the people that I spoke with to ensure that they had understood what I said to make sure nothing was lost. The sixth respondent confirmed the need for me to become more assertive when communicating. This respondent pointed out that I should be able to speak up and ensure my point gets across even if the group has many people with strong opinions.

Recap of Data, Assessment, and Recognition of Patterns

Based on the data I collected, the following are the issues I identified. On my strengths, I learned that I have a keen interest in relationships and generally try to have everyone on board as we undertake a project. Also, I learned that I can go the extra mile to assure the successful completion of a project. I also identified an obvious strength as my analytical skills, creativity, and the ability to motivate groups. I have applied these strengths in various environments. They include group discussions, group activities, the work environment, and conflict resolution. The traits that I will do well to maintain include my relational approach to teamwork. Many of the respondents alluded to this as a particular personality trait. Also, they proposed that I retain personal qualities such as being accommodative, calm, and cooperative. They urged me to guard my listening skills and to remain adaptable and flexible in my undertakings. I was encouraged to work on being assertive especially in class-like situations.

I was encouraged to discard some traits. They include the avoidance of conflict and being too sensitive. I received advice that I become more tolerant to conflict and to allow them to play out in full. Other traits to discard include lack of assertiveness and failure to contribute effectively to group activities and avoiding taking issues personally. There was the challenge to avoid getting flustered when communicating to ensure that I got my point across. Finally, I received advice that I must stop being too polite and become forceful to get my point of view across.

Discussion of Persons Interviewed Light of Their Comments

Seven respondents provided me with the information I needed for this exercise. Six of them were classmates while one of them was my volunteer job manager named Angie. The classmates were Mckenna, Grace, Luis, Dana, Wavey, and David. Angie’s comments were all positive and she failed to identify any negative areas or those that I could improve on. I suspect the reason for this was the limited interaction we had because of the relatively short duration we spent together during the volunteer stint. Mckenna provided me with very detailed comments. She raised the issues relating to my focus on relationships. Grace was not too pleased with the one instance that I became very personal. She communicated very carefully and with enough sensitivity to ensure I got her point without offending me. We worked with Luis as Ambassadors for the online residency. Luis communicated very directly and with a brave tone. He did not shy away from controversy. He was among those that encouraged me to develop a greater threshold for tolerating conflict. I think he suspected that I was overly sensitive about people’s feelings and hence intolerant to conflict.

I was in the same Strategic Leadership Class with Dana and later worked together on group assignments. She was concerned about my ability to communicate assertively in English and encouraged me to work harder at getting my thoughts across. She is a natural communicator hence I understand why she had a particular concern with my communication skills. I shared the same Adult Learning Class with Wavey. My creativity and analytical thinking skills impressed Wavey. Wavey is not a loud person, but is withdrawn and is very reflective. No wonder he recognized creativity and analytical skills when he saw them. He is also a man of a few words, explaining why he chose to answer only the questions he felt he had sufficient understanding. The final person who provided me with data is David. We were in the same Leadership Class. David has a knack for getting things done. No wonder he noticed my efficiency in getting things done no matter the difficulties I had to endure. He also noted my inhibited communication style, which he encouraged me to adapt to a more aggressive one to get my make my contribution.

Collective Viewpoints

I learned that I am a relational person and a peacemaker. I tend to take things personally. I am also efficient and dependable. Being relational stood out as the most consistent trait I displayed in my group interactions. On the positive side, it provided team members with a safe environment. They felt that I cared about their feelings and I prioritized who they are above what we were to do. On the negative side, it made me too careful to be critical, making me ineffective as a group member because I was afraid to hurt anyone’s feelings. As a peacemaker, I always tried to avoid conflict and to keep the peace. This reduced my threshold for withstanding conflict even when the conflict was healthy.

The tendency to take things personally although not regular, still received many mentions. I feel that when I do this, I alienate people who are unable to reconcile my likable personality with the defensiveness I display when feeling personal. This trait has the potential of eroding all the gains made in making relationships work. I need to commit myself to work out ways of dealing with this trait so that it does not short-circuit my strengths.

I have also learned that it is apparent to the group members that I am an efficient and dependable person. There were several mentions of instances where I withstood challenges to deliver tasks on schedule. I also learned that these qualities make me a valued member of the teams. Group members admire my tenacity. I will continue to hone these qualities as I go on participating in team activities in the future.

Finally, I learned that I am both creative and analytical. Creativity came up at least twice in the assessment while the analytical trait got a single mention. However, many of the descriptions provided are consistent with an analytical person. These descriptions include, “thorough assessment”. Another allusion to it is being overly sensitive, which is a negative manifestation of this quality.

The SACC Performance Profile

With the benefit of the analysis above, I would like to state that under the SACC model my priority is ACCEPTANCE. I value people a lot and expect them to value my contribution in return. I have a strong sense of relationships and relational issues hurt me most. The next issue in order of priority is CONTROL. I have an incessant desire to keep my environment under control. I interpret conflict as a lack of control and therefore I do everything in my power to avoid conflict. I also go out of my way to diffuse conflict. This has its basis in the need for CONTROL. The third need in order of priority that I have under the SACC profile is SECURITY. I do not feel as strongly about my security in a position as I do about relationships and having some form of control over my environment. Finally, the last need under the SACC performance profile is COMPETENCE. Granted, I have shown a strong performance where I have been. However, this performance for me is a natural part of a commitment to people and agreements. For as long as we have agreed that I am responsible for something, I cannot bring myself to let the group down. I will do everything in my power to get the job done.

Conclusion

I have found this exercise extremely useful in finding out about my strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth as far as team participation is concerned. I am now clear on which areas of my profile require work. I understand the areas where I have a natural tendency to perform well and potential pitfalls. Through this exercise, I believe I have become a better person already because knowledge is power.

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IvyPanda. "Self-Awareness in Human Interactions." March 20, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/self-awareness-in-human-interactions/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Self-Awareness in Human Interactions." March 20, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/self-awareness-in-human-interactions/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Self-Awareness in Human Interactions'. 20 March.

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