Life style inventory
`Primary` and `Backup` Thinking Styles:
What are your `primary` and `backup` personal thinking styles as revealed by your completed LSI? Discuss with examples how your `primary` and `backup` personal styles are manifested in your life and work (see the LSI Self Development Guide online). (Please include a copy of your Circumplex profile as an appendix to this assignment or paste a copy into your document).
The completed LSI profile reveals that the ‘primary’ thinking style is a combination of Dependent and Oppositional, while the ‘backup’ thinking style is Avoidance.
The Dependent style of thinking is reflected by a marked level of need for self-protection and the added anxiety regarding the lack of control over significant proceedings. Individuals with this style of thinking tend to allow other people to make decisions on their behalf and are overtly dependent on others for assistance. Such people are also obedient and eager to obey others commands. Most people with a Dependent style of thinking are likely to have undergone tumultuous changes in their professional or personal lives in the recent past. People with a dependent style of thinking are likely to look to others for taking essential decisions. As a result they prove disastrous as managers or in any other decision-making positions.
The Oppositional style of thinking is in many ways related to the Dependent style in the sense that it too shows a definite inclination on the part of the individual to grapple for control (often in a ridiculous manner) over events occurring in their surroundings. A person with an Oppositional style of thinking has a definite need for safety, which makes itself apparent by means of a pessimistic and skeptical manner. Such people can often introduce various new ideas by asking difficult questions, but mostly their criticism is directed purely at gaining attention. Often such people hold other people responsible for their own blunders.
People with oppositional style of thinking can seriously damage team atmosphere by unnecessarily criticizing ideas or decisions without providing any constructive solutions. If their own ideas go wrong they will easily blame others and protect them and thereby throw others in a risky position.
The Avoidance style of thinking reveals an individual’s tendency to be apprehensive and self-protective and therefore keen to withdraw him/her from demanding situations. People with such a style of thinking are eager to stay away from risks and “play it safe”. They are known to keep away from collective activities or discussions and respond to any given situation in an evasive, irresolute way.
People with avoidance style of thinking will always stay on the fringe and ease out of all situations where they are likely to have to take decisions or provide opinions. They are not only not team players but also adverse to the idea of taking risks and making any headway in terms of projects. As a result they prove completely worthless in any organizational setting.
`Limiting` Style: Using the style interpretations in the LSI Guide, identify and illustrate one style you think might be working against you to reduce your effectiveness. Name the style you have chosen, make a few remarks about why you are choosing this style as limiting your professional effectiveness in organizations, and then select one behavior associated with this style that you think you would like to change.
At a mere 9 percentile the subject’s Perfectionist style is found to be unusually low. On the whole this seems to be the only style that is keeping the subject on a leash with regards to his/her effectiveness in an organizational setting.
A perfectionist tends to be particularly finicky about the nitty-gritty’s of any activity and is preoccupied with attaining faultless results. While such a love for finesse is undoubtedly a commendable trait I have always thought that too much of emphasis on perfection can often get obsessive and seriously hamper a project. Also, in a number of cases when people are busy improvising or innovating new ways to deal with a certain scenario or even creating new ways of doing something then the process itself tends to become more significant than perfection at that level. Under such circumstances the development of the method should be given utmost importance, perfection can be attained later when the procedure itself is completed. However, a perfectionstic style emphasizes on perfection and perfection alone at all given times. This undue emphasis seems a little out of place in all types’ of organizations.
Also, a Perfectionist style of thinking often makes people become a little too demanding as a result they often tend to become impatient and thoroughly apathetic to other people’s emotions. This seriously hampers a team format where every member is required to stay on cordial terms with each other.
Part II: Impact On Management Style
What impact do your personal styles have on your management style? Explore/assess the impact of your personal styles on your effectiveness as a manager in terms of the functions of management (the functions of management are described in Chapter 1 of your text).
An individual with a combination of Dependent and Oppositional style of thinking is not appropriate for taking up managerial jobs. This is because such individuals are both incapable of taking decisions and co-operating with others. Being dependent such an individual will continually fizzle out of decision-making situations (it doesn’t help of course that the individual’s backup thinking style is Avoidance) and turn to others for taking significant decisions on his/her behalf. Such an individual who continually relies on other people will not prove inspirational for the workers working under him/her and will therefore be in no position to motivate them under any position.
Also, thanks to the subject’s additional Oppositional traits he/she will be unduly critical (thereby earning unpopularity amongst co-workers) and be eager to blame others for his/her own mistakes. The fact that the present subject also displays Avoidance as his/her backup thinking style also acts against his/her favor; it proves that the subject will also be reluctant to provide any real help during a decision making process and choose to remain away from any group activity. As a result the presence of such an individual will never prove beneficial to any project the organization takes up. Thus it might be safely said that the present subject will work particularly badly in any organizational setting, both at a managerial level and even at a worker level. (Lamb, 2004)
Part III: Genesis of Personal Styles
Speculate on how you developed the personal styles that were revealed in your LSI. What role, for example, did family relationships; school, organizational memberships, culture, etc. have in shaping your personal style?
As mentioned earlier the development of a Dependent style of thinking has much to do with recent developments in either the personal or professional life of an individual. A recent failure (I got my second divorce last month and lost my son’s custody due to my drinking problem) that might have shaken an individual’s confidence can contribute to a person’s habit to stay dependent on others for taking decisions for him/her.
The same lack of conviction is ultimately the root cause of an Oppositional style of thinking. In many ways a badly bruised ego and a severely shaken confidence (which might have been a result of a decent bit of bullying during my high school days) can push people far enough to try and prove himself/herself at every turn. Criticizing others and interrupting others at all times is yet another way of doing the same. Also, a single child who might have remained the sole center of attraction at home for a relatively long time can show traces of an Oppositional style of thinking. This is because such individuals are rarely prepared to share their spotlight with anyone else; as a result they try at all times to divert people’s attention to themselves even if that diversion is by means of ridiculously crafted criticism. Although I am not a single child, my sister is 16 years older than I am, and has always been more of a parent to me than a sibling.
A person showing traits of a Dependent style of thinking is also keeping with this explanation. Single children, pampered and taken care of by their parents for a long time often have most of the significant decisions in their life taken by others. They therefore never quite learn to take decisions on their own; instead they continue to turn to others for providing solutions to problems that might crop up before them.
Part IV: Conclusion and Reflection
Think about your LSI results and your responses to the above questions. Close your paper with a statement of at least one question or goal you hope your work in GM 591 will help you to address, and a comment of a few sentences to describe the value of this exercise to your personal and professional development
This paper revealed to me the sort of negative experiences I might be dragging with myself to my workspace. To gain success I will have to shed these inhibitions and instead relax and contribute to my organization the sort of positive qualities that I might have. Also, I will certainly make a deliberate attempt to participate in all office activities and discussions on a regular basis and try my best to take up responsibilities and fulfill them to the best of my abilities.
In the GM 591 I will hope to find a solution to my problem with Perfectionist style of thinking. With a bit of luck I shall also be provided answers regarding my queries about changing my Avoidance style of thinking.
Lamb, Davis; (2004); Cult to Culture: The Development of Civilization on the Strategic Strata; National Book Trust: Wellington