My Life Styles Inventory Essay

My Life Styles Inventory Leadership and Organizational Behavior GM591 Deena Lampe Keller Graduate School of Management May 19, 2010 Timothy S. Mowbray, DM My Life Styles Inventory In my Leadership and Organizational Behavior class, I had the task of completing a Life Styles Inventory Survey to come up with a self-description of my thinking styles. The goal of this exercise is to find out how thinking styles may influence my behavior as a manager and to help me to determine how to use the results for self-improvement.

After taking this inventory, my circumplex shows that my primary thinking style is affiliative (2 o’clock position) and my back up thinking style is conventional (4 o’clock position). I can identify with the affiliative style of thinking; however, I do not believe the conventional thinking style is a true depiction of the way I think. Part I: “Primary” and “Backup” Thinking Styles According to the LSI results, the customized interpretation of the affiliative scale measures a degree of commitment to forming and sustaining satisfying relationships (http://www. humansynergistics. com/system/affiliative. aspx).

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This is an accurate description of how I think about relationships in my life. In grade school, classmates would constantly try to pick fights with me and I always had to defend myself. I often questioned who my friends were because the people who I thought were my friends would turn on me in an instant. From that point, I have had the need to build strong, meaningful relationships with people and I have a strong desire to be well-liked by others. I value relationships above everything else, and will go out of my way to help people. I am, considerably, more comfortable with people who I have strong, emotional, and social ties to.

I have tried to develop strong relationships with coworkers, customers, and new acquaintances when the opportunity arises. I am committed to developing lasting, amicable working relationships with coworkers and clients or others such as neighbors, the parents of my son’s friends, or teachers at my son’s school. The affiliative thinking style is apparent with my strong, finely tuned, interpersonal skills, my tendency to value relationships and to motivate others by using praise, open/honest communication, and compassion towards people. My “Backup” thinking style as shown on the circumplex is conventional.

I don’t identify with this style because this style is characterized by a preoccupation in holding fast to rules and customary procedures, blending in or remaining inconspicuous so that a person can keep themselves from being noticed (http://www. humansynergistics. com/system/conventional. aspx). I would describe myself as unique and not afraid to venture out and try new things. When I was in my early twenties, I pursued a modeling career. I was fortunate enough to move to Phoenix, AZ and attend a modeling school, which got me ready to compete in a national modeling convention in New York, NY.

If I were conventional in my thinking, I would have never attempted to travel across the globe to pursue a profession as competitive as modeling. I lived in New York and Germany where I modeled in runway shows in front of many people. Although I only scored in the 57th percentile in achievement thinking style, on this survey, I feel that I can identify more with the constructive style and not at all with the conventional, (passive/defensive) style. I set goals and consistently accomplish tasks, which are both achievement-oriented strengths.

I consider myself to be ambitious, realistic, enjoy challenges, and have a high level of aspiration and good analytical skills to name a few, which are also traits of the achievement thinking style. “Limiting” Style I have chosen the dependent thinking style as one that might be working against me to reduce my professional effectiveness as a manager. I say this because, I can be overcautious at times, I have an over-concern with pleasing people, feelings of helplessness in some situations, and difficulty making decisions at times. I have had some setbacks within the last year after being laid off from a company that I worked at for 12 years.

This setback in my life has made me feel helpless, has given me the feeling of not being able to accomplish things and I find myself questioning my abilities. One behavior that I would like to change is the feeling of helplessness. In changing this trait, I will gain a sense of control over my life, I will be able to accomplish tasks in a more efficient manner, will gain confidence to persevere no matter what setbacks I endure. It will give me the courage to take risks and the ability to face adversity and not let it drag me down.

Part II: Impact on Management Style It has been awhile since I have been a manager, but I am successful at getting the job done with effective planning and problem solving. I like to encourage and train my co-workers to become more efficient in accomplishing tasks. The affiliative style that I possess would most closely relate to the organizing and leading functions of management. I am constantly looking for new ways to be more efficient on the job, and I like to arrange resources to accomplish objectives (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, Uhl-Bien, 2010).

I also try to develop and maintain good interpersonal relationships, while having open and honest communication with my coworkers or bosses and I try to keep people enthusiastic and motivated about their jobs (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, Uhl-Bien, 2010). Part III: Genesis of Personal Styles My personal style was developed as a child as I constantly looked for approval from my Mother and Father. I remember when I was able to read a whole book, by myself, and I went outside to show my Mom and Dad what I had accomplished.

They were so busy working in the yard that they didn’t seem to be as enthusiastic as I was, which in turn, made me feel that my accomplishment was not important and insignificant. Therefore, that is why I try so hard to build strong, mutual relationships with people and go out of my way to help coworkers, friends, family and associates. My Mom and Dad both worked at the local telephone company in my hometown. My Mom worked many nights and weekends and my Dad would retire to the chair where he would fall asleep, therefore, I had to do homework by myself without much help from my parents.

Since I was able to do my homework on my own, I attribute my need to try and solve problems on my own in a work environment, before asking for help. I like to troubleshoot problems and I am an analytical thinker, which is what drives my planning and problem-solving techniques. Part IV: Conclusion and Reflection Taking the Life Styles Inventory survey has really confirmed many things that I already knew about myself but have not developed. The results from the Life Styles Inventory Survey have motivated me to turn the traits from this survey into marketable skills.

My goal in GM591 is to learn how to be an effective manager and to use what I have learned about my thinking styles to help me take steps to change some unfavorable traits in order to further my career and develop my relationships in my personal life. As I reflect on this exercise, I believe this Leadership and Organizational class will permit me to obtain further insight about how organizational behavior concepts apply to the workplace and how they affect management styles. References Lafferty, J. (1973). Life Styles Inventory. Retrieved from http://www. survey-server2. com/lsiuniversity/part. enu. asp. Accessed May 19, 2010. Schermerhorn, J. R. , Hunt, J. G. , & Osborn, R. N. , Uhl-Bien, M. (2010). Organizational Behavior (11th ed. ). : John Wiley & Sons. Appendix A: Life Styles Inventory Results Your LSI Styles Circumplex To accurately interpret your LSI results, it is important for you to consider your score on each style in terms of its range (high, medium, or low) on the profile. The three ranges correspond to the percentile points in the circumplex and in the table on the previous page. Page 2 Appendix B: The Affiliative Style of Thinking The Affiliative Style Man is a knot, a web, a mesh into which relationships are tied. Only those relationships matter”    — Saint Exupery Show Me My Circumplex | The Affiliative scale measures our degree of commitment to forming and sustaining satisfying relationships. This style represents a need for social interaction and interpersonal contact. Affiliative people seek out, establish, value, and maintain close associations with others. These individuals appreciate people and enjoy being in the company of others. In fact, they tend to be most comfortable when among those with whom they have established strong emotional and social ties. Family, personal and business relationships are all equally important to affiliative people. Others tend to see them as warm, trusting and socially skilled. They share their thoughts and feelings easily, and help others to feel important and worthwhile. In general, this style is characterized by: * A tendency to value relationships above all else * A need to build relationships that are meaningful and reciprocal * Strong, well-developed interpersonal skills * A tendency to motivate others using genuine praise and friendliness The Affiliative Manager Affiliative managers are typically well-liked by both subordinates and co-workers.

They believe that personal satisfaction contributes to effective job performance, and demonstrate concern for staff members and their needs. Affiliative managers emphasize teamwork, and value subordinates who cooperate and work well with each other. To be most effective, these managers must balance their considerable people skills with a concern for completing projects in a timely manner: otherwise, they may have difficulty encouraging and sustaining productivity. Your Results on the Affiliative Style Your results on this style, as indicated by the , are in the high range.

Thus it is likely that you’ll find the following to be descriptive of you: Affiliative Scores in the High Range | You tend to be most effective and comfortable in the company of others. You will generally strive to improve and maintain those relationships that are important to you. You value teamwork, cooperation and mutually rewarding relationships. You express your liking for a people, and because you are tactful and considerate of others’ feelings, they tend to like you in return. | People with scores in the medium and low ranges may exhibit different thinking and behavioral tendencies that those described above.

While your score did not fall in those ranges, you may find the following descriptions useful: Affiliative Scores in the Medium Range | Look at your score carefully to determine its closeness to the High or Low range. If you scored closer to the High range, you are basically a friendly person who enjoys people. You are able to establish warm, trusting relationships with those who interest you. If you scored closer to the Low range, relationships tend to be moderately important to you. Although you may not avoid entering into relationships, you are less likely to initiate them.

Your score could also reflect some temporary setback in a significant relationship. | Affiliative Scores in the Low Range | You tend to be reserved and detached. Because others probably find you difficult to approach, it may be hard for you to initiate and build satisfying relationships. Your score could also indicate that you avoid relationships because you fear being hurt. You tend to be uncomfortable sharing your feelings and thoughts: in fact, you may be suspicious of those who do. Others may find it hard to get to know you. This may cause you to miss out on the encouragement and support a strong network of friends can provide. How Affiliative Relates to Other Styles Note: In this section, statements that are followed by a green , indicate statements that are relevant to your profile. Other statements, followed by a red , indicate statements that may not apply directly to you. These statements may still be of interest in that they describe how the different styles work together. A higher Power (8 o’clock position) score usually results in a lower Affiliative score. The Power style represents a primary concern with dominating and controlling others — characteristics that onflict with the cooperative, friendly behavior associated with Affiliative. If your scores for both styles are higher, you may experience frustration: having a desire to be close to others but wanting to control or dominate them does not encourage meaningful relationships. Both the Humanistic-Encouraging (1 o’clock position) and the Affiliative styles are oriented toward people. Affiliative individuals focus on sustaining warm, friendly relationships; Humanistic-Encouraging individuals are more concerned with supporting others in their efforts to improve.

Affiliative people establish conditional relationships based on a reciprocal liking for one another, while Humanistic-Encouraging people have an unconditional liking for others, and do not need to be liked in return. Having a Humanistic-Encouraging score that is slightly higher than your Affiliative score is most effective. A higher Achievement (11 o’clock position) score signals a healthy concern for task accomplishment, and therefore balances well with the more people-oriented characteristics of Affiliative. Having higher scores for both styles represents an effective approach to life, with equal concerns for tasks and people.

Having higher scores for Conventional, Dependent and/or Avoidance (4, 5, and 6 o’clock positions) can diminish your Affiliative behavior. Because these defensive styles are characterized by a need for self-protection and a tendency to withdraw from interpersonal contact, using them discourages the formation of meaningful relationships. Becoming More Effective: Steps To Change Being liked and feeling a sense of belonging are benefits of the Affiliative style. Acquiring strong interpersonal skills can help you strengthen your ability to form healthy relationships.

The more these statements describe you, the less Affiliative you are now: * Have difficulty meeting people * Lack effectiveness at work due to strained relationships * Resist expressing your feelings * Feel as if no one truly understands you * Avoid group activities * Cannot sustain relationships * Feel lonely quite often * Cannot relax around people * Feel unimportant and disliked Use these suggestions to become more Affiliative: * Work at getting to know one person well. Ask open-ended questions that express an interest in him or her. * Practice communicating effectively.

Communication involves talking and listening: concentrate on improving both skills. * Communicate your sociability by smiling often, touching when appropriate, and making eye contact. * Learn to express your thoughts and feelings. To become more comfortable doing this, concentrate on developing a trusting relationship with one other person. * Take a motivational course or join a professional, civic or recreational group. These activities can not only result in new friendships, but also a greater appreciation of people. * Look for ways to interact with others, both at work and in your personal life.

Stretch yourself by striking up conversations with people you don’t know well. Becoming more Affiliative can result in these benefits: * Satisfying relationships * The ability to express your feelings openly and honestly * A “support system” of friends * Increased productivity at work due to more cooperative relationships * An interesting social life that includes interactions with a variety of people * Feelings of comfort and ease around people * The ability to work well and cooperate as part of a team Affiliative individuals look for opportunities to establish enjoyable, rewarding relationships.

Appendix C: The Conventional Style of Thinking The Conventional Style “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. ”   — John F Kennedy Show Me My Circumplex | The Conventional scale measures our tendency to act in a conforming way. While some conformity is necessary in life, too much can be restrictive. The Conventional style represents 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.

When we rely on established routines to determine how we do things, we risk losing our sense of uniqueness and individuality. | Conventionality can become a mask to hide behind. Because they want to be seen as “normal,” conventional people stick to doing things “the way they have always been done” and try never to rock the boat. Consequently, others tend to view these individuals as somewhat dull and uninteresting. Although conventional people are typically responsible and reliable, their preference for maintaining the status quo can substantially reduce their creativity and level of achievement.

In general, this style is characterized by: * A tendency to view rules as a source of comfort and security * A preference for staying unseen and unnoticed * A tendency to cover up mistakes * Reduced initiative * A preoccupation with appearing average, “normal,” and like everyone else * Unquestioned obedience to authority figures and rules * A reduction in originality * Feelings of security within a bureaucracy The Conventional Manager Because conventional managers find comfort in the enforcement of rules and standardized procedures, they establish a predictable work environment that discourages innovative thinking.

Doing things “by the book” and strictly adhering to the reporting relationships in the formal organizational chart characterize the conventional manager’s approach. Because they are typically concerned with doing exactly what is expected, these managers often lack the ability to motivate subordinates to set goals and improve their performance. Your Results on the Conventional Style Your results on this style, as indicated by the , are in the high range. Thus it is likely that you’ll find the following to be descriptive of you: Conventional Scores in the High Range | You probably see rules as more important than ideas.

Your overly conservative behavior can keep you from trying new things. You may have difficulty taking even small risks. In a sense, being conventional involves trading your creativity and spontaneity for feelings of security. Your tendency to hide behind regulations and procedures can involve discounting your own beliefs and opinions. | People with scores in the medium and low ranges may exhibit different thinking and behavioral tendencies that those described above. While your score did not fall in those ranges, you may find the following descriptions useful: Conventional Scores in the Medium Range Look at your score carefully and determine its closeness to the High or Low range. If you scored closer to the High range, you probably have respect for doing things the way they have always been done. Because you are concerned with how you appear to others, you usually avoid situations containing risk, new opportunity, or need for innovation. Your preference for sticking with what worked in the past may help you feel secure but it can also prevent you from working up to your potential. | If you scored closer to the Low range, you may not always follow established procedures to the letter.

Instead, you tend to use your own judgment to determine whether or not to “bend” rules in some circumstances. Although you might prefer to use conservative approaches to some problems, you are capable of coming up with fresh solutions and taking occasional risks. Conventional Scores in the Low Range | You prefer to think for yourself, rather than allowing rules and procedures to dictate how you do things. While you may be receptive to the input of others, you are comfortable making your own decisions. You can recognize and appreciate your own uniqueness, as well as what is special in others.

Free from the stifling effects of conventional behavior, you are probably able to explore creative solutions to problems. | How Conventional Relates to Other Styles Note: In this section, statements that are followed by a green , indicate statements that are relevant to your profile. Other statements, followed by a red , indicate statements that may not apply directly to you. These statements may still be of interest in that they describe how the different styles work together. Higher scores for the Approval (3 o’clock position) and/or Dependent (5 o’clock position) styles often accompany a higher Conventional score.

Scoring higher in Approval and/or Dependent means that you focus on doing what others expect, while scoring higher in Conventional means you want to appear nonthreatening to be accepted by others. Your Achievement (11 o’clock position) score is influenced by how conventional you are. A preoccupation with following the rules prevents you from setting goals and consistently accomplishing tasks — both achievement-oriented strengths. To become less tied to conventional approaches, concentrate on developing the characteristics of the Achievement style. Your Self-Actualizing (12 o’clock position) score is also related to your Conventional score.

The Self-Actualizing style is characterized by a tendency to be inner-directed, or guided by your own beliefs and values. The Conventional style reflects a tendency to be outer-directed, or guided by established procedures. A higher Perfectionistic (10 o’clock position) score indicates that you need to be seen as perfect in order to feel worthwhile. Using a combination of Perfectionistic and Conventional can have a restrictive effect on everything you do: you typically won’t risk doing anything out of the ordinary because you fear failure and the increased visibility it can bring.

Becoming More Effective: Steps To Change Placing narrow boundaries on your behavior can severely inhibit your growth and development. If you are to fulfill your potential, you will need to challenge the effectiveness of being conventional. The more these statements describe you, the more Conventional you are now: * Reluctant to try new things * Prefer to follow others’ orders * Uncomfortable varying your daily routine * Have difficulty making decisions * Fear being asked your opinion * Pride yourself on your ability to do exactly what is expected * Seldom, if ever, question or dispute a rule Overly concerned with how others do things Use these suggestions to become less Conventional: * Recognize that conventionality is a way of hiding yourself and avoiding developing as a person. By giving up control of your life to outside factors, you become a mirror that reflects the expectations of everyone but yourself. * Ask yourself if your life is how you want it to be, or if it has become merely adherence to rules and others’ expectations. If so, question the effectiveness of continuing to behave this way. * Break out of your routine and do something — anything — different.

Eat in a new restaurant, take an unexplored route to work, or buy something in a color you normally don’t wear. * Focus on your own unique strengths and skills. Recognize and appreciate the things that make you different from others. * Take a moderate risk and challenge some procedure that you have been accepting without question. * Continually remind yourself that your sense of self-worth is not tied to how well you “blend in” and follow the rules. * First formulate your own beliefs and convictions, then learn to stand behind them. Rely upon and trust your own judgment. Look for ways to do things differently at work and at home. Using a new method might help you do something better. * Listen to yourself. Decide what you want out of life and go after it. Live your life for you. Becoming less Conventional can result in these benefits: * The freedom to express yourself * Creative, innovative approaches to tasks * Self-set standards and goals * A stronger, more individualized sense of self * Renewed belief in yourself * Increased flexibility * The confidence to fulfill your potential * Spontaneity * The ability to make your own decisions The freedom to take risks Conventional people strictly adhere to and seldom question established rules and procedures. Appendix D: The Dependent Style of Thinking The Dependent Style “He who follows another sees nothing, learns nothing, nay, seeks nothing. ” — Sir William Osler Show Me My Circumplex | The Dependent scale measures the degree to which we feel our efforts do not count. Dependent behavior originates in a need for security and self-protection: dependent people typically feel that they have very little control over their lives.

This type of behavior may be long-standing, or due to temporary life changes such as a new job, a promotion, an illness, or the break-up of a close relationship. When dependent behavior occurs as a result of a temporary life change, the feelings of dependency tend to diminish as the particular situation is resolved. | Situations with the potential to create feelings of dependency are common. Newly-promoted people may feel temporarily dependent in their new positions; however, these feelings tend to disappear once they are more comfortable and feel a sense of direction.

Severe problems can occur when one chooses to be dependent on others over a long time period: it is then that dependency begins to erode feelings of self-esteem. Overly-dependent people are generally more comfortable letting others determine their behavior than they are guiding their own lives. They use dependent behavior as a defense against feeling threatened or being rejected by others. In general, this style is characterized by: * An over-concern with pleasing people, and not questioning others or taking independent action * A passive attitude * Feelings of helplessness The presence of rapid change or traumatic set-backs in one’s life * A tendency to be easily influenced * A lack of self-respect, which results in feeling unable to accomplish things * Difficulty making decisions The Dependent Manager The pervasive feeling that their efforts don’t count usually prevents dependent managers from taking control of situations and managing effectively. Their preference for following rather than leading prompts these managers to constantly rely on others for direction. They rarely challenge anything or take even moderate risks.

The behavior of dependent managers is often a reaction to a Power-oriented (8 o’clock position) supervisor. Your Results on the Dependent Style Your results on this style, as indicated by the , are in the medium range. Thus it is likely that you’ll find the following to be descriptive of you: Dependent Scores in the Medium Range | Look at your score carefully to determine its closeness to the High or Low range. If you scored closer to the High range, you may find that your feelings of dependency are eroding your ability to get things done.

When making decisions, you are likely to seek the opinions of others not because you value participative decision-making, but because you feel safer when others set the course. If you scored closer to the Low range, you may have some doubts about taking responsibility and being held accountable for your actions, but you can be competent in response to problems and challenges. | People with scores in the high and low ranges may exhibit different thinking and behavioral tendencies that those described above. While your score did not fall in those ranges, you may find the following descriptions useful: Dependent Scores in the High Range You tend to feel helpless in one or more areas of life, and may believe that your effort makes little difference. You generally allow others to control too much of what you do, and tend to feel overwhelmed and threatened most of the time. Because you typically view things in terms of how they affect you, you may misinterpret people’s actions and be particularly vulnerable to mistreatment by others. To protect yourself, you will generally let others call the shots, and avoid threatening or challenging anyone. | You can be highly sensitive to people’s feelings and their reactions to you.

While sensitivity, modesty, and tactfulness are the more positive characteristics of this style, you may be seen as too agreeable: as a result, your opinions and thoughts may be discounted by others. Because you tend to doubt yourself, it can be difficult for you to rely on your own judgment. Your cautious nature can prevent you from setting goals or taking risks. Establishing a pattern of dependent behavior can eventually lead to depression and the development of stress-related illness. Dependent Scores in the Low Range | You do not rely heavily on others for direction.

You probably have confidence in yourself and are able to exercise control over your own life. You generally like responsibility and are capable of taking charge. As a result, you may dislike feeling constrained or dominated by others. You probably recognize that living your own life involves an element of chance, and therefore typically aren’t afraid of venturing into the unknown and taking occasional risks. | If you score extremely low on this scale, you may see being dependent as a severe weakness. This could signal an inability to work effectively with others.

Check your scores for the Power (8 o’clock position) or Competitive (9 o’clock position) styles. Higher scores in these styles can indicate an overly judgmental approach to others, and a subsequent breakdown in your ability to relate well with them. How Dependent Relates to Other Styles Note: In this section, statements that are followed by a green , indicate statements that are relevant to your profile. Other statements, followed by a red , indicate statements that may not apply directly to you. These statements may still be of interest in that they describe how the different styles work together.

Your Achievement (11 o’clock position) score influences your level of dependence. Being achievement-oriented can significantly increase your ability to set and accomplish your own goals, and decrease your reliance on others to direct you. Your scores for Approval (3 o’clock position) and/or Conventional (4 o’clock position) may be similar to your Dependent score: all three styles reflect a fear of being rejected by others. Self-Actualizing (12 o’clock position) people are independent and act according to their own beliefs. This quality contrasts with a dependent person’s tendency to give up control to others.

If you scored higher on the Dependent scale, working to strengthen your Self-Actualizing score will help you learn to rely on yourself. Becoming More Effective: Steps To Change Allowing those around you to have excessive influence over how you live your life can eventually rob you of your contentment and self-respect. Learning to think for yourself and openly communicating your independence can help you become less dependent. The more these statements describe you, the more Dependent you are now: * Feel dependent upon others for direction Believe that your effort doesn’t count for very much * Feel helpless and weak * Easily threatened and intimidated * Cannot say “no” to others * Always do what is expected * Feel that others are responsible for your happiness Use these suggestions to become more independent: * Learn something new. Deliberately acquiring a new skill will help you recognize that your effort counts, and may reduce your feelings of helplessness. Read the Achievement (11 o’clock position) style interpretation for information on the value of developing cause-and-effect thinking. Take an assertiveness training course, or read a book on the subject. Learn to trust your own judgment, and demonstrate your belief in yourself by speaking up more often in groups. * Realize that no one can make you happy or unhappy. Only you have the power to determine how you feel by controlling what you think. * Remember that your sense of self-worth originates within you, and is not determined by others. * Set a few small goals. Accomplishing them will help you believe in your ability to make positive changes in your life. Strive to make decisions independently. Weigh the pros and cons of each choice and decide on the best one. * Take the initiative and assume a leadership role. When interacting with others, try a more challenging, questioning approach. Instead of waiting for someone to direct you, take action yourself. Take small steps toward developing leadership behavior. * Watch your speech patterns. Be especially aware of how often you use qualifiers (“It’s only my opinion but … ” ). Try to eliminate them, and be more positive and direct (“I think we should . . . “).

Ask someone to act as your “coach,” and call your attention to times when your speech reflects dependency. Becoming more independent can result in these benefits: * A sense of control over your life * Self-set standards and goals * The ability to accomplish tasks more efficiently * Improvement in the quality of your relationships * The ability to take risks when appropriate * Reduced symptoms of stress * Defined beliefs and values * The ability to relax around others * The freedom to be yourself Dependent individuals typically rely on others for help, guidance and direction.