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Personal growth and group development

on 23 January 2016


Awareness of self: an awareness of one’s own personality and individuality.

"Self-awareness is a psychological state in which people are aware of their traits, feelings and behavior. Alternately, it can be defined as the realization of oneself as an individual entity."

Self-awareness is "a psychological state in which one takes oneself as an object of attention."

Types of self awareness:

Psychologists often break self-awareness down into two different types, either public or private.

Public Self-Awareness: This type emerges when people are aware of how they appear to others. Public self-awareness often emerges in situations when people are at the center of attention, such as when giving a presentation or talking to a group of friends. This type of self-awareness often compels people to adhere to social norms. When we are aware that we are being watched and evaluated, we often try to behave in ways that are socially acceptable and desirable. Public self-awareness can also lead to evaluation anxiety in which people become distressed, anxious, or worried about how they are perceived by others.

Private Self-Awareness: This type happens when people become aware of some aspects of themselves, but only in a private way. For example, seeing your face in the mirror is a type of private self-awareness. Feeling your stomach lurch when you realize you forgot to study for an important test or feeling your heart flutter when you see someone you are attracted to are also good examples of private self-awareness.

Emotional intelligence (EI): EI is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they're telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic.

EI is the ability to monitor one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. Currently, there are three main models of EI:

1. Ability model
2. Mixed model (usually subsumed under trait EI)
3. Trait model


The ability-based model views emotions as useful sources of information that help one to make sense of and navigate the social environment. The model proposes that individuals vary in their ability to process information of an emotional nature and in their ability to relate emotional processing to a wider cognition. This ability is seen to manifest itself in certain adaptive behaviors. The model claims that EI includes four types of abilities:

1. Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one's own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.

2. Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.

3. Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.

4. Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.

 Mixed Model:

Mixed model focuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. This model outlines five main EI constructs :

1. Self-awareness – the ability to know one's emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
2. Self-regulation – involves controlling or redirecting one's disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
3. Social skill – managing relationships to move people in the desired direction
4. Empathy - considering other people's feelings especially when making decision
5. Motivation - being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.

It includes a set of emotional competencies within each construct of EI. Emotional competencies are not innate talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and can be developed to achieve outstanding performance. Goleman posits that individuals are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies.

Trait Model:

Trait EI is "a constellation of emotional self-perceptions located at the lower levels  of personality." In lay terms, trait EI refers to an individual's self-perceptions of their emotional abilities. This definition of EI encompasses behavioral dispositions and self-perceived abilities and is measured by self report, as opposed to the ability based model which refers to actual abilities, which have proven highly resistant to scientific measurement. Trait EI should be investigated within a personality framework. An alternative label for the same construct is trait emotional self-efficacy.

The conceptualization of EI as a personality trait leads to a construct that lies outside the taxonomy of human cognitive ability. This is an important distinction in as much as it bears directly on the operationalization of the construct and the theories and hypotheses that are formulated about it.

"EI is compared and contrasted with a measure of abstract intelligence but not with a personality measure, or with a personality measure but not with a measure of academic intelligence." Landy (2005)

The Four Branches of Emotional Intelligence:

1.  Perceiving Emotions: The first step in understanding emotions is to accurately perceive them. In many cases, this might involve understanding nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions.

2. Reasoning With Emotions: The next step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity. Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to; we respond emotionally to things that garner our attention.

3. Understanding Emotions: The emotions that we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings. If someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must interpret the cause of their anger and what it might mean. For example, if your boss is acting angry, it might mean that he is dissatisfied with your work; or it could be because he got a speeding ticket on his way to work that morning or that he's been fighting with his wife.

4. Managing Emotions: The ability to manage emotions effectively is a key part of emotional intelligence. Regulating emotions, responding appropriately and responding to the emotions of others are all important aspect of emotional management.

How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence:

Observe how you react to people. Do you rush to judgment before you know all of the facts? Do you stereotype? Look honestly at how you think and interact with other people. Try to put yourself in their place, and be more open and accepting of their perspectives and needs.

Look at your work environment. Do you seek attention for your accomplishments? Humility can be a wonderful quality, and it doesn't mean that you're shy or lack self-confidence. When you practice humility, you say that you know what you did, and you can be quietly confident about it. Give others a chance to shine – put the focus on them, and don't worry too much about getting praise for yourself.

Do a self-evaluation. What are your weaknesses? Are you willing to accept that you're not perfect and that you could work on some areas to make yourself a better person? Have the courage to look at yourself honestly – it can change your life.

Examine how you react to stressful situations. Do you become upset every time there's a delay or something doesn't happen the way you want? Do you blame others or become angry at them, even when it's not their fault? The ability to stay calm and in control in difficult situations is highly valued – in the business world and outside it. Keep your emotions under control when things go wrong.

Take responsibility for your actions. If you hurt someone's feelings, apologize   directly – don't ignore what you did or avoid the person. People are usually more willing to forgive and forget if you make an honest attempt to make things right.

Examine how your actions will affect others – before you take those actions. If your decision will impact others, put yourself in their place. How will they feel if you do this? Would you want that experience? If you must take the action, how can you help others deal with the effects?

Body language:

Body language refers to various forms of nonverbal communication, wherein a person may reveal clues as to some unspoken intention or feeling through their physical behavior. These behaviors include (but are not limited to) facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space.

The difference between the words people speak and our understanding of what they are saying comes from non-verbal communication, otherwise known as "body language." By developing your awareness of the signs and signals of body language, you can more easily understand other people, and more effectively communicate with them. There are sometimes subtle – and sometimes not so subtle – movements, gestures, facial expressions and even shifts in our whole bodies that indicate something is going on. The way we talk, walk, sit and stand all say something about us, and whatever is happening on the inside can be reflected on the outside.

Body language puts you in a better position to communicate effectively with them. What's more, by increasing your understanding of others, you can also become more aware of the messages that you convey to them. There are times when we send mixed messages – we say one thing yet our body language reveals something different. This non-verbal language will affect how we act and react to others, and how they react to us. Recall a time when you met someone new at work. Or think about the last time you watched a speaker deliver a presentation.

What were your first impressions? Did you sense confidence or a lack of confidence in them? Did you want to associate with them or not? Were you convinced by them?

Did they stride into the room, engage you and maintain eye contact or were they tentative, shuffling towards you with eyes averted, before sliding into a chair? What about their handshake – firm and strong or weak and limp?

Moving along in the conversation, did they maintain solid eye contact or were they frequently looking away? Did their face appear relaxed or was it tight and tense? What about their hand and arm movements? Were their gestures wide, flowing and open or were they tight, jerky and closed?

As you observe others, you can identify some common signs and signals that give away whether they are feeling confident or not. Typical things to look for in confident people include:

• Posture – standing tall with shoulders back.
• Eye contact – solid with a "smiling" face.
• Gestures with hands and arms – purposeful and deliberate.
• Speech – slow and clear.
• Tone of voice – moderate to low.

As well as deciphering other people's body language, you can use this knowledge to convey feelings that you're not actually experiencing.

For example, if you are about to enter into a situation where you are not as confident as you'd like to be, such as giving a big presentation or attending an important meeting, you can adopt these 'confidence' signs and signals to project confidence.

Some of the common signs that the person you are speaking with may be feeling defensive include:

• Hand/arm gestures are small and close to his or her body.
• Facial expressions are minimal.
• Body is physically turned away from you.
• Arms are crossed in front of body.
• Eyes maintain little contact, or are downcast.

Working with groups and disengagement:

You can actively engage the audience when you need to if you're alert to some of the typical signs and signals of people not being engaged. Some of these signs and signals include:

•  Heads are down.
•  Eyes are glazed, or gazing at something else.
•  Hands may be picking at clothes, or fiddling with pens.
•  People may be writing or doodling.
•  They may be sitting slumped in their chairs.
• When you pick up that someone appears not to be engaged in what is going on, you can do something to re-engage him or her and bring their focus back to what you are saying, such as asking them a direct question.
• And while this is going on, make sure that your own body language is saying what you want it to.


Of  all the non-verbal body language that we may observe, being able to tell whether a person is lying or not will stand you in good stead.

Some of the typical signs and signals that a person is lying include:

• Eyes maintain little or no eye contact, or there may be rapid eye movements, with pupils constricted.
• Hand or fingers are in front of his or her mouth when speaking.
• His or her body is physically turned away from you, or there are unusual/un-natural body gestures.
• His or her breathing rate increases.
• Complexion changes such as in color; red in face or neck area.
• Perspiration increases.
• Voice changes such as change in pitch, stammering, throat clearing.

As with all non-verbal language, it's important to remember here that everyone's personal body language is slightly different. If you notice some of the typical non-verbal signs of lying, you shouldn't necessarily jump to conclusions, as many of these signals can be confused with the appearance of nervousness. What you should do, however, is use these signals as a prompt to probe further, ask more questions and explore the area in more detail to determine whether they are being truthful or not.

Further clarification is always worthwhile when checking out your understanding of someone's body language, and this is particularly true during job interviews and in negotiating situations.

Interviews and negotiations, and reflection:

Be that in an interview situation or when negotiating something with someone, showing that you are indeed thinking over your answer is a positive thing. Some typical signs and signals that a person is reflecting on their answer include:

• Eyes look away and return to engage contact only when answering.
• Finger stroking on chin.
• Hand to cheek.
• Head tilted with eyes looking up.

So, whether you are on the receiving end of someone pondering, or you are doing the pondering, there are certain gestures that give it away.

One size does NOT fit all:

Each person is unique, and that their signs and signals might have a different underlying cause from the ones you suspect. This is often the case when people have different past experiences, and particularly where cultural differences are large. This is why it's important to check that your interpretation of someone else's body language is correct.

To help practice and further develop your skill in picking up body language, engage in people-watching. Observe people – be that on a bus/train or on television without the sound – and just notice how they act and react to each other. When you watch others, try to guess what they are saying or get a sense of what is going on between them.


A habitual or characteristic manner, mode, or way of doing something; distinctive quality or style, as in behavior or speech:

Polite an helpful
A “can-do” attitude
Initiative, self starter
Hard worker


Proper telephone etiquette is very important in that you are representing. Remembering to use proper telephone etiquette, whether answering the phone or making phone calls, leaves callers with a favorable impression of you..  Following are some helpful hints that will help to make your phone conversations more effective. 

A few key things to remember when it comes to phone etiquette:

i. Using phrases such as "thank you" and "please" are essential in displaying a professional atmosphere.

ii. Listen actively and listen to others without interrupting.

iii. Don't make people dread having to answer their phone or call.

The following phone tips should always be followed.

1. Speak clearly. A picture paints a thousand words but the caller on the other end of the phone can only hear you. They cannot see your face or body language. Therefore, taking the time to speak clearly, slowly and in a cheerful, professional voice is very important.

2. Use your normal tone of voice when answering a call. If you have a tendency to speak loud or shout, avoid doing so on the telephone.

3. Do not eat or drink while you are on telephone.

4. Do not use slang words or Poor Language. Respond clearly with “yes” or “no” when speaking. Never use swear words.

5. Address the Caller Properly by his or her title. (i.e. Good morning Mr. Brown, Good afternoon Ms. Sanders). Never address an unfamiliar caller by his or her first name.

6. Listen to the Caller and what they have to say. The ability to listen is a problem in general but it is very important to listen to what the caller has to say. It is always a good habit to repeat the information back to the client when you are taking a message. Verify that you have heard and transcribed the message accurately.

7. Be patient and helpful. If a caller is irate or upset, listen to what they have to say and then refer them to the appropriate resource. Never snap back or act rude to the caller.

8. Always ask if you can put the caller on hold. If you are responsible for answering multiple calls at once, always ask the caller politely if you may put them on hold. Remember that the caller could have already waited several minutes before getting connected to you and may not take lightly to being put on hold. Never leave the person on hold for more than a few seconds or they may become upset and hang up.

9. Always focus on the call. Try not to get distracted by people around you. If someone tries to interrupt you while you are on a call, politely remind them that you are on a call and that you will be with them as soon as you are finished.

Answering Calls

• Try to answer the phone within three rings. Answering a phone too fast can catch the caller off guard and waiting too long can make the caller angry.

• Answer with a friendly greeting. (Example - "Good Afternoon, Lisa speaking, how may I help you?").

• Smile - it shows, even through the phone lines; speak in a pleasant tone of voice - the caller will appreciate it.

• Ask the caller for their name, even if their name is not necessary for the call. This shows you have taken an interest in them. 

• Use the hold button when leaving a line so that the caller does not accidentally overhear conversations being held nearby.

• When you are out of the office or away from your desk for more than a few minutes, forward your phone to voicemail.

Making Calls

• When you call someone and they answer the phone, do not say "Who am I speaking with?" without first identifying yourself: (Example - "This is Lisa from….. To whom am I speaking?")

•Always know and state the purpose of the communication.

•When you reach a wrong number, don't argue with the person who answered the call or keep them on the line. Say: "I'm sorry, I must have the wrong number. Please excuse the interruption." And then hang up.

• If you told a person you would call at a certain time, call them as you promised. If you need to delay the conversation, call to postpone it, but do not make the other person wait around for your call.

• If you don't leave a number/message for someone to call you back, don't become angry if they are not available when you call again.

Handling Rude or Impatient Callers

• Stay calm. Try to remain diplomatic and polite. Getting angry will only make them angrier.

• Always show willingness to resolve the problem or conflict.

• Try to think like the caller. Remember, their problems and concerns are important.

• If you are in a non-supervisory position: Offer to have your supervisor talk to the caller or call him/her back if the caller persists.

• If you are supervisor: Be willing to handle irate callers. Speak slowly and calmly. Be firm with your answers, but understanding. Sometimes the irate caller just wants someone in a supervisory capacity to listen to their story even if you are unable to help them.

Taking Messages

• Be prepared with pen and message slip when you answer the phone.

• When taking messages be sure to ask for:

  • Caller's name
  • Caller's phone number and/or extension

• Repeat the message to the caller.

• Be sure to fill in the date, time, and your initials.

• Place the message slip in the called party's inbox or in a conspicuous place in their office, such as their chair.

• Don't forget that you can transfer them to voicemail instead of taking a paper message, but don't forget to ask, "Would you like me to transfer you to his/her voicemail?" Do not assume that the caller would rather go to voicemail. Always ask first.

Ending Conversations 

There are several ways that you can end a long phone call without making up a story or sounding rude:

• Leave the conversation open.
•Promise to finish your discussion at another time.
•End on an "up" note.
• Tell the person how much you've enjoyed speaking with him/her.
• Before hanging up, be sure that you have answered all the caller's questions
• Always end with a pleasantry such as : "Have a nice day" or "It was nice speaking with you".


Activity leading to skilled behavior.


Perhaps, you needed to convince a prospective client to do business with your organization. Or maybe you had to present to executive board members, and you knew that they would be peppering you with questions about your proposal.

Whatever the situation, chances are that you were nervous about the meeting; and practicing in front of a mirror may not have helped you overcome your anxiety, especially with respect to answering difficult questions.

This is where role-playing can be useful. Now we'll look at what role play is, and we'll see how one can use this technique to prepare for a variety of challenging and difficult situations.

Uses and Benefits

Role-playing takes place between two or more people, who act out roles to explore a particular scenario.

It's most useful to help you or your team prepare for unfamiliar or difficult situations. For example, you can use it to practice sales meetings, interviews, presentations, or emotionally difficult conversations, such as when you're revolving conflict.

By acting scenarios like these out, you can explore how other people are likely to respond to different approaches; and you can get a feel for approaches that are likely to work, and for those that might be counter-productive. You can also get a sense of what other people are likely to be thinking and feeling in the situation.

Also, by preparing for a situation using role-play, you build up experience and self-confidence with handling the situation in real life, and you can develop quick and instinctively correct reactions to situations. This means that you'll react effectively as situations evolve, rather than making mistakes or becoming overwhelmed by events.

You can also use role-play to spark brainstorming sessions, to improve communication between team members, and to see problems or situations from different perspectives.

How to Use Role Playing:

It is easy to set up and run a role-playing session. It will help to follow the five steps below.

Step 1: Identify the Situation

To start the process, gather people together, introduce the problem, and encourage an open discussion to uncover all of the relevant issues. This will help people to start thinking about the problem before the role-play begins.

If you're in a group and people are unfamiliar with each other, consider doing some icebreaker exercises beforehand.

Step 2: Add Details

Next, set up a scenario in enough detail for it to feel "real." Make sure that everyone is clear about the problem that you're trying to work through, and that they know what you want to achieve by the end of the session.

Step 3: Assign Roles

Once you've set the scene, identify the various fictional characters involved in the scenario. Some of these may be people who have to deal with the situation when it actually happens (for example, salespeople). Others will represent people who are supportive or hostile, depending on the scenario (for example, an angry client).

Once you've identified these roles, allocate them to the people involved in your exercise; they should use their imagination to put themselves inside the minds of the people that they're representing. This involves trying to understand their perspectives, goals, motivations, and feelings when they enter the situation. (You may find the perpetual positions technique useful here.)

Step 4: Act Out the Scenario

Each person can then assume their role, and act out the situation, trying different approaches where necessary.

It can be useful if the scenarios build up in intensity. For instance, if the aim of your role-play is to practice a sales meeting, the person playing the role of the potential client could start as an ideal client, and, through a series of scenarios, could become increasingly hostile and difficult. You could then test and practice different approaches for handling situations, so that you can give participants experience in handling them.

Step 5: Discuss What You Have Learned

When you finish the role-play, discuss what you've learned, so that you or the people involved can learn from the experience.

For example, if you're using role-play as part of a training exercise, you could lead a discussion on the scenarios you have explored, and ask for written summaries of observations and conclusions from everyone who was involved.

Team building conflict resolution:                                                       

Styles of Conflict and Their Uses

Collaborating – assertive and co-operative

It is useful:

• to find an integrative solution when both sets of concerns are too important  to be compromised
• when your objective is to learn, for example, testing your assumptions, understanding the views of others
• to merge insights from people with different perspectives on a problem
• to gain commitment by incorporating other’s concerns into a  consensual decision
• to work through hard feelings which have been interfering with an interpersonal relationship.

Competing – assertive and uncooperative

It is useful:

• when quick decisive action is vital, for example, emergencies
• on issues vital to organizational welfare when you know you are right.
• to protect yourself against people who take advantage of non competitive behavior

Accommodating – unassertive and co-operative

It is useful:

• when you realize that you are wrong
• when the issue is much more important to the other person than to you
• when continued competition would only damage your cause
• when avoiding disruption is especially important
• to aid in the development of others – allowing them to experiment and learn from their         mistakes.

Avoiding – unassertive and uncooperative

 It is useful:

• when other more important issues are pressing
• when you see no chance of satisfying your concerns
• when the potential damage of confronting a conflict outweighs the benefits of its solution
• to let people cool down, to reduce tensions to a productive level and to regain perspective and composure

Compromising – intermediate in both assertion and co-operation

 It is useful:

 • when goals are moderately more important but not worth the effort of potential disruption of more assertive approaches
• to achieve temporary settlement to complex issues
 • to arrive at expedient solutions under time pressure
 • as a back-up when collaboration or competition fails.

A-E-I-O-U Approach to Resolving Conflict  

A = Accept others  Requires accepting the diversity of the group (or person) and assuming they will cooperate.  

E = Express your feelings Identify your feelings and any concerns you have about the issue (conflict).  Describe any concerns you may have about the current behavior of the group (or person). 

I = Indicate how you would like to proceed in the resolving of the issue

Discuss what behavior you’d like to see from the group (or person) as the issue is discussed.  Identify basic ground rules for how to proceed (no interrupting, creative thinking, group involvement, brainstorming, etc). 

O = Outcomes are discussed  

**Can be done as Brain Exchange  

Step 1:  Discuss all possible solutions to the issue.   
Step 2:  Ask the group (or person) what is the payoff or consequence of each resolution.  

U = Understanding on a mutual basis is achieved

Discuss all suggestions until the entire group (or person) understands and agrees to a solution.    

Stages of team development:

Forming a team takes time, and members often go through recognizable stages as they change from being collections of strangers to united groups with common goals. Tuckman's Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing model describes these stages. When you understand it, you can help your new team become effective more quickly.


In this stage, most team members are positive and polite. Some are anxious, as they haven't fully understood what work the team will do. Others are simply excited about the task ahead.

As leader, you play a dominant role at this stage, because team members' roles and responsibilities aren't clear.

This stage can last for some time, as people start to work together, and as they make an effort to get to know their new colleagues.


Next, the team moves into the Storming can also happen in other situations. For example, team members may challenge your authority, or jockey for position as their roles are clarified. Or, if you haven't defined clearly how the team will work, people may feel overwhelmed by their workload, or they could be uncomfortable with the approach you're using

Storming phase, where people start to push against the boundaries established in the forming stage. This is the stage where many teams fail.

Storming often starts where there is a conflict between team members' natural working styles. People may work in different ways for all sorts of reasons, but if differing working styles cause unforeseen problems, they may become frustrated.

Some may question the worth of the team's goal, and they may resist taking on tasks.

Team members who stick with the task at hand may experience stress, particularly as they don't have the support of established processes, or strong relationships with their colleagues.


Gradually, the team moves into the norming stage. This is when people start to resolve their differences, appreciate colleagues' strengths, and respect your authority as a leader.

Now that your team members know one-another better, they may socialize together, and they are able to ask each other for help and provide constructive feedback. People develop a stronger commitment to the team goal, and you start to see good progress towards it.

There is often a prolonged overlap between storming and norming, because, as new tasks come up, the team may lapse back into behavior from the storming stage.


The team reaches the performing stage when hard work leads, without friction, to the achievement of the team's goal. The structures and processes that you have set up support this well.

As leader, you can delegate much of your work, and you can concentrate on developing team members. It feels easy to be part of the team at this stage, and people who join or leave won't disrupt performance.


Many teams will reach this stage eventually. For example, project teams exist for only a fixed period, and even permanent teams may be disbanded through organizational restructuring.

Team members who like routine, or who have developed close working relationships with other team members, may find this stage difficult, particularly if their future now looks uncertain.

Teamwork for innovation and change:

Team work. Team dynamics. Team effort. Managing Teams for Innovation and Success takes a strategic, global approach to every aspect of teams—creating, managing, and leading them. Great teams can stimulate creativity and innovation, make an organization more adaptive to market forces, and drive breakthrough results. But building and developing successful teams is complex. Managing Teams for Innovation and Success provides strategies, skills, and hands-on simulations to challenge your assumptions and transform your teams.

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