Part I: Personal Thinking Styles
As revealed by my personal Life Styles Inventory (Figure 1), my primary thinking style and back-up thinking style were Conventional (4 o’clock position) and Affiliative (2 o’clock position) respectively. There are many ways in which both the Conventional thinking style and Affiliative thinking style manifest in my life and work, none of which were all that evident until I explored my personal Life Styles Inventory. As stated in the Life Styles Inventory, my primary thinking style, the Conventional Style “measures our tendency to act in a conforming way…representing a preoccupation with adhering to rules and established procedures, maintaining a low profile, and blending in with our particular environment to avoid calling attention to ourselves.” (LSI, Conventional Style) Even though I do not see myself as a complete conformist, I do tend to fall in line in the workplace so that I can learn as much as I can from the proven and effective system that I am working within. In the past, if I found myself working in an environment that has not been proven or effective I would not stick around too long because I felt that I had nothing to gain from the job or experience. So, in that situation I would have to agree that the Conventional Style would be one of my primary thinking styles. My back up thinking style of Affiliative is said to “measure our degree of commitment to forming and sustaining satisfying relationships…affiliative people seek out, establish, value, and maintain close associations with others, and appreciate people and enjoy being in the company of others.” (LSI, Affiliative Style) Even though I do see myself as a people person, I was surprised to see the Affiliative Style as my backup personal thinking style. I do understand and appreciate the importance of what healthy relationships bring in the workforce, but I am not sure that it is as important to me as the Life Styles Inventory would suggest. I always seek out healthy and productive relationships in my work, but I am always the first one to cut short a relationship in the workforce if it is leading to, or has the potential to lead to unhealthy characteristics and traits within my productivity as an employee. For example, in my current job I have cultivated many strong relationships within my department with one in particular standing out. With continued progression of our daily conversations I realized that my work, and probably theirs, was being negatively affected due to the time we would spend talking about non work related activities. This of course, being a Conventional Style of thinker, was not an option for me. So, what I ultimately had to do was not only cut back on the amount of time I spent socializing with this individual, but also cut back on socializing with all other individuals that I grew close to.
When thinking of a limiting style in relation to what I think might be working against me to increase my overall effectiveness, I think of two. The first style that comes to mind is actually my back up thinking style of Affiliative. I see over and over in every job that I have been in the distractions that an Affiliative thinking style can bring to an employee’s productivity. Without constant evaluations a person can easily be consumed with the distractions that workplace relationships can bring. The second limiting style that I think works against me in my overall effectiveness is my avoidance thinking style. I believe as a productive manager avoiding situations to preclude confrontations with other employees can be very detrimental to a managers overall effectiveness. There is no doubt that there are many situations within an organization where a manager is going to have to intervene and confront different confrontations in order to sustain and increase the overall effectiveness of his or her responsibilities. And unless a manager does not have a...