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Be Aware and Allow for Your Own Preferences

If you know your own preferences then you will understand yourself better and that is likely to enhance your relationships with others. Also, if you know your own preferences you will be more aware of your own biases and that will help you to avoid stereotyping others in a negative fashion.

Avery helpful thing for us all to do is to develop the capacity to think and behave, at least to some degree, in opposite ways to our preferences. This helps us to be more versatile. It also helps us to become more aware and sensitive to those who are different. It helps us to be more empathetic by allowing us to stand in their shoes and see the world from their perspective.

Here are a few simple ways of doing this:

If you are an extravert. Your tendency is to speak first and listen second. Force yourself to listen more. Occasionally in meetings sit back and say nothing. Reflect back what other people have said before offering a reply.

If you are an introvert. Your tendency is to reflect and contemplate. Try some small talk by gossiping over coffee or before your meeting starts. Speak up in meetings, early on, without being asked.

If you are practical. Your tendency is to stay attentive to current issues. Give reign to your imagination. Give yourself a target to come up with one new idea per day about work, leisure, family and so on for a month.

If you are creative. Your tendency is to think about possibilities and the future. Concentrate on the present and forget the future for a while. Enjoy what is going on around you. Give some information to a colleague in a literal step-by-step fashion.

If you are analytical. Your tendency is to be objective and impersonal. Next time you make a decision appeal to the heart as well as to the head. Think about the implications of the decision for other people.

If you are a ‘feeling’ person. Your tendency is to want harmony and to base decisions on beliefs and values. When disagreement occurs in a meeting, avoid rescuing others. Say to yourself, ‘It is only an exchange of ideas; there is nothing personal’. Try your hand at reaching a decision between options based entirely on a pros-and-cons analysis.

If you are structured. Your tendency is to want a planned and scheduled existence. Try to let things happen. Occasionally let one thing that bothers you go unattended.

If you are flexible. Your tendency is to be spontaneous and to keep options open. Try to finish some important tasks ahead of schedule and promise yourself that you won’t be distracted until the jobs are done.