Using NLP for Personal Development
Organizations today seek employees that are multi talented. Prospective candidates have to exhibit characteristics such as technical expertise, leadership skills, initiative and enthusiasm, communication skills, confidence and self-motivation. Technical professionals of today are provided with a variety of trainings and courses. However, if an individual does not understand the significance of these trainings, it becomes a waste of time, effort and money. Professionals of today need to interact with people of varied personalities. A mismatch of style or approach towards a common goal can result in conflicts and failure.
Every person is unique, and therefore every person needs to be interacted with using a different approach. Neuro-linguistic Programming can develop or retrieve the inner qualities in any individual that can help him achieve personal excellence.
There are several methods to understand your own characteristics, and improve the dormant qualities in order to develop the Neuro-linguistic self. There are two tests related to Neuro-linguistic Programming, transactional analysis and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Both these self-analysis methods are included in Neuro-linguistic courses.
Neuro-linguistic Self Analysis – Transactional Analysis
Transactional analysis, or TA, was popular in the 1960s and described how we take on different roles in a relationship, either a parent, adult or a child. It tries to explain why we are the way we are today, by looking at the patterns of our past and how they affect our present behavior. The concepts of TA are described in the book titled “I’m OK, You’re OK” by Tom Harris, which indicates that if we are OK with ourselves, others can be OK too. Transactional analysis categorizes how we interact with each other.
We can take one of the three states of parent, adult or child, also called PAC. These three states are ego states, and we respond in one of these three states to the world. A child tries to get things done his way, and is ignorant of others needs. An adult looks at the world more objectively and rationally and behaves accordingly. A parent is a kind of legislator who makes clear rules, and can be caring in nature. In our interactions with others, we can develop these three ego states at different levels of intensity. Sometimes, there can be an imbalance between the states. Neuro-linguistic Programming provides techniques to maintain a balance between these states.
Neuro-linguistic Self Analysis – Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, has replaced the transactional analysis test for self-development. MBTI is a widely used personality type indicator in organizations worldwide. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was developed by mother Katharine Briggs and daughter Isabel Myers. It is used in several Neuro-linguistic courses for differentiating between personality types and the likely behaviors. Technical professionals can take this Neuro-linguistic test to understand their inner style or preference of work, and can use it to understand the behaviors of others. MBTI provides significant insights into why we usually behave the way we do, and what our Neuro-linguistic preferences are.
As offered in Neuro-linguistic courses, the MBTI test describes sixteen different personality types, the results being surprisingly accurate. MBTI identifies four primary areas in any individual:
1) Extroverted or Introverted: This element of MBTI identifies whether we draw our energy and inspiration from inside or outside. If you need solitude to recharge your batteries and are most comfortable in your own company, you are an introverted person. On the other hand, if you always seek and enjoy the company of other people, and find yourself relaxed when in the midst of others, you are an extroverted person.
2) Sensing or Intuitive: Neuro-linguistic courses teach us that we use our external and internal senses to form a representation of an experience. As per Neuro-linguistic training, we either use the external senses such as vision, sound, smell, taste and touch or internally remember an experience. People who like to get an idea of precise details using their senses are of the Sensing type. On the other hand, there are people who put together patterns and possibilities, and make a decision based on their gut feeling. These people are of the Intuitive type, since they rely on intuition. This type can tell us how a person reaches a decision, either with precise details using Neuro-linguistic senses or by looking at the general picture. The type is related to the big chunk, small chunk concept of Neuro-linguistic Programming.
3) Thinking or Feeling: After the information about an experience reaches the mind, a person can take two different approaches to process it. A person who applies logic, principles and rules to the information is of the Thinking type. Such a person is objective in nature and dissociates himself from the situation or experience. On the other hand, a person can process the information according to his values, beliefs and feelings. This kind of person is of Feeling type, and gives more importance to relationships and maintaining a state of harmony.
4) Perceiving or Judging: This type indicates how a person prefers to reach a decision and is reflected on the lifestyle. A person who has an open lifestyle and is exhibits a willingness to adjust is of the Perceiving type. Such a person is more flexible and spontaneous in nature, and will usually take a decision as late as possible. Perceivers like to collect as much information as possible. On the other hand, a person who likes certainty in life, and likes to know where he stands as a person is of the Judging type. Such a person tends to reach a decision as soon as possible, and he derives satisfaction from the act of deciding.
Technical programmers and software developers can take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test in order to assess their own types and that of their teammates. Neuro-linguistic training explains that no particular type is better than any other type, and each preference has its own advantages and disadvantages. By understanding our own and other’s types, we can gain insight into why we have or do not have rapport with other people in our life. We usually will find ourselves comfortable with people with the same preference as ours, whereas might have difficulty interacting with people of opposite types. Neuro-linguistic Programming can be used in cases where people have dissimilar types. Neuro-linguistic training can provide techniques to match other’s styles and help us appreciate why people act the way they do.
Neuro-linguistic training can help us understand the differences in our personality based on our natural preferences. Using this information, we can learn to value difference amongst each other. Using these Neuro-linguistic tests, we can understand each other’s weaknesses and strengths and adjust our behavior to fortify the strengths and minimize the weaknesses. Neuro-linguistic courses can also help us develop our personality type, by changing our behavior and style of working. For example, a programmer can be primarily of the Perceiving type, being in the habit to collect all necessary details before taking a decision. However, in order for him to take on managerial roles, he needs to develop the Judging preference as well, so that quicker decisions can be made.
After understanding our personality type, we can begin to understand how we do what we do in life. Understanding the actual reason behind our behavior makes us realize that we have a choice in everything we do. Either we can choose to do more of a particular behavior, or we can choose to do it differently. For example, when we wake up in the morning, we can choose to spend the rest of the day feeling relaxed, happy, comfortable and at peace with life. On the other hand, we can choose to get worried about our past, present and future, get irritated, tense, frustrated and sad. Neuro-linguistic training teaches us the value of bringing more choices and flexibility to life, by understanding the thought processes, values and beliefs behind all our actions.
Technical professionals need to maintain a balance in their life. They cannot afford to exhibit and stick to an extreme personality type, since this will result in rigidity and conflicts. Technical professionals need to interact with people of different personality types everyday. They need to be flexible and adapt themselves according to the person they are interacting with.
Neuro-linguistic Programming helps us understand that the only person we have complete control upon is ourselves. Therefore, professionals need to identify their own personality type, and that of others. By understanding the natural preferences, professionals can change their own behaviors according to their roles and responsibilities. A professional having a Sensing type can develop his Intuitive skills as well, by looking at the bigger picture and greater goal. An Intuitive type person can seek more details before making a decision.
We have a varying degree of each quality within ourselves. The dormant qualities can be developed and improved upon. By developing an overall personality and a balance between all types, we can achieve personal excellence.