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Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Personality Puzzle

As a cohort over the past several months, we've uncovered and peeled back so many layers of information, that I'm not sure where to begin.  The Emerging Leaders Program has made me truly self reflect both professionally and personally not only as a nonprofit manager, but as a leader.  With limited experience in the management world, this program has truly opened my eyes into the inner workings and intricacies of professional relationships and the importance of understanding supervisors, peers and direct reports.  I've always naturally stepped up as a leader, despite my slightly introverted self and I've never given it a second thought.  However, understanding individual working styles, communication techniques and personal interactions is a larger, more detailed and complicated puzzle than I could have imagined.

While I've always considered myself personable and easily amenable to challenging personalities, the management piece of nonprofit has reared its share of obstacles.  Before meeting this wonderful cohort of individuals and developing a new knowledge base through our classes, I took professional clashes and made them personal character flaws and poor management on my behalf. I spent many meetings, check-ins and trainings harping on small details and retracing my steps in attempt to "fix" working relationships with direct reports, supervisors and peers - all the while not paying attention to the fact that people are simply hardwired differently and all relationships cannot be approached in the same manner.

Having a better understanding of differing personalities through the Myers Briggs and class discussion has really given me a new approach not only to working with veteran staff, but in hiring and on-boarding new staff.  Over the past month we have been working tirelessly at my organization to hire a new manager and with the knowledge of this personality puzzle, we are truly trying to make a conscious effort to find the perfect puzzle piece.  While so many candidates would be a fine fit, the ideal applicant, with the exact cocktail of professional and personal traits has yet to burst through our doors.  With this new perspective, tackling the extra projects and meetings until we find this perfect addition to our ever growing team, seems like the smallest of sacrifices.  With the holiday season fast approaching it's only a matter of time before the season's new hire present comes into the fold - fingers crossed until that day and we'll continue puzzling away.

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