My ISTJ nature shows that I am internally focused. In order to improve my interpersonal skills by developing the aforementioned traits, I will need to shift my focus to the external world. I will need to actively consider the view points of my co-workers rather than imposing my own ideas on them (Thompson, 2006).
There are a few different options to me for developing these skills in the next 180 days. I can focus on the functional aspects of these skills. This would be easy to learn because I could utilize my abilities in vision development and planning to keep these skills at the forefront of my mind. The skills could then be learned by treating them as any other technical skill. Another option would place the learning emphasis on the underlying attitude of selflessness and focus on others. As the attitude develops, the functional skills will naturally flow from that. A third option would recognize that the attitude shift may come slowly on its own and should therefore be combined with an emphasis on the outward skills manifestations. The plan I have determined to be the best is the latter, and is based on the fundamental interpersonal skill building strategy outlined in the seminal work by Goldsmith and McFall (1975) involving analyzing effective responses to difficult situations, deriving underlying principles of behavior and developing scoring criteria for self-evaluation.
Over the next thirty days I will undertake a few tasks in order to build my interpersonal skills. I will make adjustments to my social activities, away from internally-focused ones to ones that involve a high degree of interpersonal interaction. I will write down and review daily the basic interpersonal skills I need to exercise, so that I can be mindful of them when I interact with others. I will work on the philosophy of selflessness by building my knowledge of the concept -- reading texts from academics, Buddhists, and others devoted to selflessness.
This will continue into the sixty day period as well. By this point, I will have the theoretical background from my readings and will be able to place more emphasis on practical application of the concepts. I will begin to perform self-evaluations of my progress at building interpersonal skills. At this point, I will begin to attempt to solve problems and address issues without relying on my technical skills, to test the development of my interpersonal skills.
Based on my assessments I will compose a revised action plan to carry me through the remainder of the 180 days. I will engage in supplementary reading. I will also continue to increase my social interaction because the more interaction I have in more different circumstances, the more adaptable a listener and communicator I will be. As with the second month, the fourth month will be focused on evaluation of my progress. I should see significant progress at this point, as measured by the same tests I have taken already and by self-assessment. The two interim review periods will provide me with the opportunity to assess my program and make adjustments. Throughout the entire process, I will seek out a mentor to guide me in my efforts -- somebody who has been through this same process and understands the challenges I will face and how to overcome them.
I believe that my rational nature is my greatest strength. One of the benefits of being so rational is that I can build interpersonal skills in the same manner in which I built my technical skills. I simply need to make a plan, stick to it, and make adjustments as needed along the way. I have proven adaptable to change, and this will help me with the changes I will need to make for this project. With a strong vision and strong project design, I will be able to build my interpersonal skills in a controlled, organized fashion both on the surface level and on the underlying philosophical level.
Locke, E. (1999). The Essence of Leadership: The Four Keys to Leading Successfully. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Perce, K. (1998). Project management skills. American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Journal. Vol. 46, 8, 391-403.
Thompson, S. (2006). How to improve your interpersonal skills for career advancement. Associated Content. Retrieved December 12, 2009 from http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/100865/how_to_improve_your_interpersonal_skills_pg2.html?cat=31
Goldsmith, J. & McFall, R. (1975). Development and evaluation of interpersonal skill-training program for psychiatric inpatients. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Vol.…