The Strengths and Limitations of Self-Awareness Tools

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Self-awareness inventories abound: MBTI, Team Roles, DISC, Social Styles, and the list goes on and on. These inventories are tremendously useful in highlighting a critical lesson: not everyone is the same, and that’s a good thing. People differ from one another along many measures, such as their preferences for detailed versus conceptual information, for planning versus being spontaneous, and for their patterns of behavior relating to demonstrating emotions versus controlling the expression of their emotions, just to name a very few.

While these inventories can provide tremendous self-insight and shed light on why we may feel incompatible with some of our co-workers, they can never tell the whole story. They serve as a great icebreaker for understanding dissimilarities, and can provide non-judgmental language for discussing differences. But, these inventories just help us to scratch the surface of who we are. Ultimately, we need to get to know key people as individuals. And we need to help people know the information about us that will make our interactions more successful.

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