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Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes for Your Personal Development

By: Rick Bowers


African hr manager listening to caucasian applicant at job interview

Personal development should be a crucial part of every business owner’s long term plans. If you’re not working on yourself, how can you expect the same of your team? Here are 5 mistakes you need to avoid making in your personal development.

You’re Not Actively Listening

Active listening is one of the most crucial skills you can learn for your workplace advancement. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good you are at your job or if your skillset is stellar— if you can’t connect with people and make them feel heard, you’re not going to reach your full potential.

It might feel challenging to make this happen while so many people are working remotely, but it’s actually the perfect time to develop your listening skills. One benefit of communicating over video chat is that you can monitor yourself and your reactions.

Instead of viewing this as a distraction, view it as a unique insight into your listening style. While you might be listening attentively, your facial expressions might indicate boredom or irritation. You can adjust on the fly and make sure that others feel heard by you.

You Aren’t Owning Your Experience

Being humble is good, but being self-deprecating is not. If you don’t advocate for yourself and own your experience in your field, you cause a chain reaction of negativity in your network and your personal development. Read here about what happens when you don’t own your experience.

This is especially important for the owners and leaders of businesses. If you can’t advocate for yourself and your team, why would investors take a chance on you? You absolutely need to be able to share your achievements and celebrate the wins in your business journey. This doesn’t make you arrogant; it makes you confident. Just make sure you can back it up with results.

You Avoid Conflict and Can’t Speak Up

While some personality types thrive in conflict, many people will avoid it at all costs. The truth is that no matter how hard you try, conflict is inevitable in the workplace. How you handle that conflict will define your professional relationships.

Try to view conflict as a communication error before seeing it as a personal attack. Then, it can become an opportunity to understand the other person better. One way to improve your understanding of others is to study up and learn about your behavioral style, and the best ways you can communicate with others. Use free resources like the Working from Home Report to invest in your self-understanding.

You Mask Your Real Personality

It’s hard to get a good grasp on this without some external insight because we all change our personalities to some degree for our jobs. At TTI Success Insights, we see this show up in the Natural and Adapted results of our assessments. The Natural graph reveals someone’s behavior in their private lives with friends and family, while the Adapted graph shows how that individual behaves in their workplace.

This is one of the ways we can measure if someone is in a role poorly suited to their personality. If their Natural score and Adapted score are wildly different, it means their job is straining their inherent style of behavior. This is called an over-extension, and while it doesn’t mean short-term doom in a job, it will result in long-term stress and unhappiness. It also can lead to a stall out in your career development; you might feel ‘stuck’ in a role and unable to progress.

The way to combat this comes from increasing your emotional intelligence. Once you are more self-aware, you can become in tune with yourself and understand where the tension is coming from. Are you in over your head in your position? Do you just need more support from leadership? Did you over or undersell your own motivators and desires to land the job? Answering these tough questions will enable you to get what you need from a position or your current business model.

Many business leaders have experienced such an over-extension, and as a result, went on to form their own companies. Increasing your awareness of this issue will help you support your team on their terms, which will increase engagement and loyalty.

You Don’t Take Risks

As the leader or founder of a small business, you’re used to taking calculated risks. This is the wise move, especially when finances are at stake. However, this caution over time can lead to a decline in your decision making and reactions. If every business move you make is risk-calculated, you will miss opportunities to challenge yourself and make your dreams a reality.

Try developing your growth mindset. Instead of viewing failures as a morale problem, you will be able to see them for what they are: opportunities. “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re stagnating. If you only stick to what you’re naturally good at, you are hugely limiting yourself,” says Jaime Faulkner of TTI Success Insights. “Instead, apply a growth mindset that focuses on learning the lesson from all experiences, successes, and failures. It will only add to your credibility.”

Move Forward in Your Personal Development

The sneaky thing about these problems is that they mostly occur by accident. When one of these issues pops up, it can be tempting to push it to the side and focus on something more pressing. However, if you do this enough, your communication skills, mindset, and stress levels will all take a hit.

Just by reading this article, you’ve already increased your awareness of possible areas of improvement. Do some soul searching and get started today! Improvement starts when you decide it does.

Published: July 14, 2020

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Rick Bowers

Rick Bowers

Rick Bowers is the President of TTI Success Insights, an industry-leading assessment provider based in Scottsdale, AZ that is dedicated to revealing human potential through assessment solutions and research. TTI SI has administered over 30 million assessments worldwide and holds a direct presence in 58 countries around the world. Connect with TTI SI on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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