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Understanding Individual Differences

Posted by iBlog on July 5, 2008

Understanding Individual Differences

Great interpersonal skills takes being sensitive, appreciating and honoring differences among people.

Being aware of the many different ways individuals can be different in how they perceive themselves and how they view the world, process information and make decisions.

Being willing to accept those differences without evaluation and to adopt one’s own style and behavior to adjust to the styles and behaviors of others.

Sensitivity to Differences

Global consulting requires consultants to be sensitive to differences in cultures as you work together with different clients around the globe. Being sensitive means being highly aware of different traditions, cultural ways, language meanings, customs, gestures and so on. These differences are sometimes visible and sometimes concealed. Be aware of words, meanings as there are differences that should be honored. After becoming aware of differences it is important to honor them by assuming that their perspective is valid by not placing judgement to others by cultural norms, respecting differences and developing mutually respectful working relationships.

Understanding Individual Differences

Being able to understand how people are different is important for various reasons.

It helps us to understand that our own attitudes, interests and perspectives as well as needs are important.
It legitimizes the different ways people approach problems.
It shows areas of potential misunderstanding and conflicts.
It helps us adapt our styles so that we work effectively with others.

There are four different ways of interacting with others:

Highly assertive, low on responsiveness. Results and accomplishment oriented. Comfortable in power, move quickly.

Low on assertiveness, response. They are organized, need to be accurate and task oriented.

High on assertiveness and responsiveness. They are involved, idea oriented, people focused.

Low on assertiveness, high in reponsiveness. They need cooperation and avoid conflict. People oriented.


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