In a recent Inc.com article, Jeff Haden listed 10 words to never use in describing oneself. It’s a pretty good list, and Jeff’s reasoning appears right on the mark. (I do disagree with “Passionate,” however…it’s far better than “specialized,” “focused,” or “concentrated, I think). But his article made me think about how I describe myself, so I thought that perhaps I’d put together my own descriptive list, my “6 Ps”:
- Passionate – Yes, I’m leading off with this, simply because Jeff disliked it (Sorry, Jeff). The reason I think this descriptor is better than those he favored is that it speaks to the combined emotional commitment one has toward the primary areas of focus. Simply being focused, concentrated, or specialized does not speak to the underlying drive that propels one forward.
- People-Focused – Nearly every aspect of my personality focuses on the relationships and interactions I have with others. In my teaching, I steer away from lecturing, preferring instead small-group or one-on-one mentoring and coaching. It’s not the process that matters most, but the people involved, in my opinion.
- Positivist – Yes, usually skeptical as well, but always evidence-based. Want to make an argument to persuade me of something, focus on the valid, reliable, and credible evidence, not so much on the “gut feeling.”
- Principled – When I believe in something, you’d better be prepared to see me fight for it. That’s not something that’s always appreciated in today’s business world, but it’s authentically me.
- Proactive – Don’t get me wrong, I can put out fires with the best of them. I simply don’t think it’s the most effective or efficient way to address issues. I’d prefer anticipating issues, mitigating risks, or, where reaction is required, taking time afterwards to understand that root cause and address that before it becomes a fire again.
- Persistent – Some many call it stubborn, but I prefer Persistent. I don’t give up easily. I persevere despite the discomfort.
Now, it’s critical to admit that any of these, in its extreme can quickly become a negative behavior or trait. That’s something about which I (as does anyone) need to remain constantly vigilant. But it’s a start….
So, what are those descriptors (regardless of their starting letters) that speak to who you are?