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The Coaching Corner with Michael Riegel: Stop Trying to Swim Against the Current

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I have gotten certified in the use of several assessment tools. Each time, I take the assessment myself and use the results as the basis for the online modules. Each time, I answer honestly and to the best of my ability. I don’t know about you, but the subjective wording of some questions seems to make me stop and think. Each time, I read the report and nod in agreement at the results. They all seem to measure different traits and yet measure the same traits. I think I’m at the point where taking one more assessment will not really give me any new information or insight.

So why do we put ourselves through the process? Perhaps we have a hard time accepting that the results are valid and reliable. Is there a tool that will miraculously announce that I’m an extrovert? Or that I now make decisions based on intuition rather than facts and data? That won’t happen unless I decide to mess with my answers to get a different outcome. That would be like my son taking a Harry Potter quiz to be considered a Gryffindor when he is really a Hufflepuff. I’m done taking assessments and will accept and be proud of who I am and how I am put together. Once we can get to that place, the I think the important question is: now what?

Emotions are Data

The ability to use the information is a crucial element of crafting a successful and meaningful career. I would suggest that there is an emotional component to any of the traits the tools measure. Dominance, extroversion, assertiveness, preferred pace, conformity, energy – all require EQ to leverage them for your benefit. Oh yeah, and to work with others in a complex system. The traits that you might believe have been present since childhood and your awareness provide an opportunity to modify your approach to someone whose traits you can recognize.

There Is No Correct Set of Traits to be a Leader

Leaders come in all stripes and colors. Each brings their unique set of traits, background, experience, perspective, and goals. Would you expect that Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, would have an identical set of traits as Indra Nooyi, former CEO of Pepsi. I am sure they faced many of the same challenges rising to the lofty heights of the C-suite though their skills, strengths, weaknesses, and tactics were likely highly individualized.

As the famous sailor Popeye said, “I am what I am and that’s all I am.” By embracing your unique combination of traits, recognizing the traits of others, and modifying your communications style to allow your message to be heard, you too can reach whatever lofty heights you set your eyes upon. Be yourself. People respond to authenticity and uniqueness. Why try to be someone or something you’re not when others will be drawn to who you already are.

Michael Riegel


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