Individual Differences – What make up a person’s behavior?

Each person is different from another person. What we can observe is a person’s behavior – how we behave, how we talk and do something. However, what actually make up a person’s behavior conststs of several factors which are not visible.

Much like the iceberg below:

Behavior

Our knowledge and skills, attitude and values, beliefs and personality are the factors that make up our behavior. These are the reasons why we act the way we do, and why one person is different from another.

Let us go into detail on Personality factor that influences our behavior.

Personality is…

  • relatively stable across different situations;
  • enduring across time; and
  • expressed through patterns of behaviours that distinguish one person from another.

From our own observation, we can actually see / describe the personality of people close to us, as it actually relatively consistent across context.

We also normally observe that certain personality types gets along well with certain types of personality.

Personality differences, for example, can lead to interpersonal antagonism, which can stymie the formation of productive teams. However, the appropriate balance of personalities can lead to the formation of effective teams.

In the personality theories, there are 2 major approach:

  1. Nomothetic approach: This approach strongly supports the view that personalities are fixed and determined by heredity, and cannot be significantly influenced by environmental factors.
  2. Idiographic approach: This approach takes the opposite perspective – It recognizes that individuals do have unique innate charateristics, it also suggests that personality can be moulded and that both personality and behavior and influeced by specific environmental experiences.

(Organisational Behaviour, Individuals, Groups and Organisations by Ian Brooks)

There are various studies on personality, which I will share in my next post. By understanding this and how to apply this in your hiring and team development, it will greatly help you and your team to achieve better fit and becoming more productive team.

4 Leadership Lessons from Shackleton

Remember the Case Study I shared previously on Shackleton?

In this post, I would like to share the summary – 4 leadership lessons from Shackleton. Even though we may not face life-and-death situation like Shackleton did, but the lessons can help us to better ourselves in our leadership journey.

4 Leadership Lessons from Shackleton Case Study

As we can see here, Shackleton managed to easily toggle his focus on daily operations and also leading the mission. He also takes full responsibility, visionary in the humanity and also has the discipline to continually move forward. These 4 are very important leadership values in order for us to be successful in achieving our goals.

How do you see these values impact in your daily life as a leader?

Case Study: Shackleton

One of the case study on leadership is on Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

It’s an interesting story, of how a journey to explore and walk across the continent of antartica, became a journey to survive. He needed to manage his team’s energy to ensure that they survive the perilous journey.

You can read more about this Case Study here:

https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/shackleton-an-entrepreneur-of-survival
https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/25/business/leadership-lessons-from-the-shackleton-expedition.html

It’s a story full of leadership and management lessons. The 3 practices esstial to Shackleton’s success as a leader:

  1. He continuously assess and reasses his approach to the changing mission. This allows him to reflect and see the best approach to achieve the mission’s objective.
  2. He showed relentless commitment to his primary objective – the safe return of his tem – while being entirely flexible about how to achieve it. This allows him to find the best way on how to achieve the objective, rather than stick to one method only.
  3. He maintained his team’s belief in the mission by managing both collective and individual energy. By having good team’s energy, they are able to work together to achieve the missions, and avoid giving up on the objectives.

Shackleton also practiced “keeping your friends close, and your enemies closer”. He identified the team members who may be threat to keeping up the team’s energy to stay in the same tent as him, so that he can manage them closely. This shows that you have to manage the enemies of change so that they do not take the mission off course.

A lot of leadership and management lessons can be learned through this Case Study.

Main Forces that Affect Team’s Energy

I have shared 3 main forces in my previous posts, today I would like to share 5 more main forces on this topic. These are some of the points that I learned in the MBA class I am taking currently – People, Work and Organisations. The book that we use in this class is Organisational Behavior by Ian Brooks (Fifth Edition).

Firstly, you need to have purpose, goals to achieve. When the company or organization set clear goals for their team, the team will be more energized and focused on the same goals.

Then, understand that each individual is different. They are a part of a team – but the factors for their motivation differs from one another. Some may like the challenge, some may like the financial motivator, and more. You cannot use one size fits all in managing each person’s motivation.

Of course, one of the most important aspect in building your team is the hiring part. It can make or break your team. Ensure that you hire those with positive attitude, grit and positive outlooks.

Then, by having cross-functional teams that fosters collaboration – you can achieve better results, and increase the team’s energy. Marketing and design teams, design and engineering / development teams, sales and customer success teams, and a variety of other teams that find mutual advantage in collaborating and working toward a similar objective are examples of cross functional teams.

And last but not least is the team cohesion and bonding. This is one of the topic I discussed with one of my teammates today. We were talking about some historical stories about the company, team and improvements over the years. My teammate brought up that good bonding we have in the company helps to solve a lot of problems. It makes the work more fun and enjoyable. By having good team cohesion and bonding, many problems can be solved easily – as this allows better communication and teamwork. That is why teambuilding activities are actually important (it’s not just for fun) and the team members should be encouraged to work closely with one another and build bonds through projects, learning and helping out each other.

I am glad I had a good chat with him today – I felt, this too is a part of building bonds. It was quite enjoyable and let us learn more about each other too.

Aku Negaraku

Today I am feeling a bit patriotic.

I love my country, Malaysia.

Malaysia is great. And I believe all of us Malaysians are striving so that we can always improve and be the best version we can ever be. So that Malaysia can be the best country we can ever be.

I always believe Malaysia is the best country to live in, to build my family, to give my children the best environment to grow in.

I hope I can contribute to helping Malaysia to be better too.

When I was younger, someone said to me “Don’t ask what your country have done for you. But ask, what have you done for your country?”.

I felt that I have not achieved much in my past 35 years of life. But I hope every single step I took and will take, will be towards achieving my dreams – of contributing to Malaysia and to the Muslims all over the world. To bring up my beloved country to be the best, and to help all the Muslims wherever they are.

This has been my ambition, and it will always be.

Let’s work together to grow Malaysia together. It’s our future. It’s our children’s future.

Selamat Hari Kemerdekaan yang ke – 64, Negaraku Malaysia.

Team’s Energy: Involve People in Sorting Out and Dealing with Situations

One of the main forces that affect the most on a team’s energy, is involving people in sorting out and dealing with situations.

The wording is quite straightforward and I believe that most understand what it means.

So in this post, let me share my story.

I am a problem solver – and I like to move fast. So usually if I / we face with certain problems and I know how to solve it – I usually just proceed with it without much discussion.

So what I did previously, is I always try to solve everything by myself – unless it is something that I really don’t know how to solve it (Usually if I had issues with very deeply technical things – I would let my brother/sister to solve them).

Even though I managed to solve the problems fast, but a few issues arised:

  1. Of course I felt tired and frustrated because I felt that I have to do everything by myself (this is so plain negative thinking actually – other people wanted to help, but I didn’t give them the opportunity).
  2. Non inclusive community – my team would feel that I am the one who call all the shots, and they felt like they were not included in decision making process. This makes them felt like they are not part of the team. So here, it becomes like receiving instructions and carrying them – this lowered team energy level.
  3. The solution may not be the best – As I proceed with my own knowledge and experience without taking into consideration others’ knowledge and experiences.

This happened due to I felt the need to be in control in every different aspects in the business. However, by doing this, I was also becoming the bottleneck in the company.

Along the way, I tried to learn how to let go. It’s hard, but it is required for us to grow.

Letting go does not mean not caring. It is actually putting trust in your team.

By letting go, I am actually giving opportunities to the team members to sort out the problems we faced and deal with situations. This gives opportunities for them to learn, sharpen their problem solving skills, and also leverage on knowledge and experiences of more people – thus, getting to much better solutions in the long run.

Sometimes, I need to be the facilitator in the problem solving process, but most of the time, they actually know how to solve them. Not only this free up my time to focus on growth, but also the team members felt a part of the team, and have a stronger bond.

All these years, I see that those who I let them be involved in sorting out and deal with situations by themselves / among the team – they grow faster, they can level up much better and I can rely on them more, than those who don’t.

Imagine if you were an apple tree

A few years back, I used to visit counsellors to get counselling sessions. Those years were very challenging years as I was tested not only in work-related areas, but also friendships, financial and more.

The first counsellor I met, opened my eyes to the world of counselling. From that day onwards, I believe counselling plays a big role in mental and emotional health.

During the first session, one of the question that was asked to me,

“What if you were an apple tree?”

Person A came to you and water you. How would you respond?
Person B came to you and climbed you to get the apples. How would you respond?
Person C threw sticks at you to get the apples. How would you respond?

As a normal human being, of course I feel like throwing sticks back at Person C. Haha.

But, as an apple tree, our objective is actually to produce apples. So, who cares what other people do? Why do we need to retaliate or respond negatively when we perceive other people as treating us negatively? Sometimes that’s the only way that they know how to get something or to get response from us.

Person A came. We give them good apples.
Person B came. We give them good apples.
Person C came. We give them good apples.

At the time when Person D came with an axe to chop us down, Person A, B and C will inform that we produce good apples and stop us from being cut down.

This story opened my eyes. Why do we treat people like how we feel they treated us? No matter how they treat us, we should always treat them well.

Sometimes, this is easier said than done. As usual, to develop a new habit, you need to consciously make the good decision, until it comes naturally to you.

Alhamdulillah, the multiple counselling sessions I had attended over a course of few years managed to help pull me out from depression that I faced at that time.

I know, sometimes I tend to forget the teachings and reacted like any normal person would. But as always, I try to reflect back to the counselling sessions and remember all the helpful councillors.

I am grateful.

If you are constantly sad, stressed or depressed, and have never met with a counsellor before, you should.

counselling #apples #react #positive

Team is the most valuable resource a leader has

Hi everyone,

Today I would like to share a bit on Leadership.

Currently I am going through my MBA course, Organizational Behaviour.

I believe taking MBA will greatly help me improving myself so that I can be a better leader, and help us to improve our company to greater heights.

I decide to start writing about the course(s) that I take throughout this MBA program so that it can become a way for me to write again the things that I read, and learned – It helps me to understand the materials more and how to apply it in real life situations. I will also share some of my experiences from time to time as well. And hopefully some of the knowledge and sharing will also be able to help you as well.

Team is the most valuable resource a leader has.

One of the most importact aspect of a leader is to manage the energy, outlook, engagement and cohesion of your team.

Why?

With these qualities, you and the team will become stronger and more resilient to achieve your goals and overcome the challenges.

So now, let’s look at the energy. It’s easier to work with a team full of energy than those who have less energy such as less motivation.

What are the main forces that affect the most on team’s energy? Today, I will share two of the main forces. Insya Allah, I will share more in the next post(s).

  1. Your energy as the leader

You yourself need to have the energy in order for your team to have the energy. Build your energy and grit so that your teammates can see how energized you are and be more motivated too. Demotivated leaders will also bred demotivated team.

I have been in situations where I myself became demotivated and weak. It’s very stressful for myself, and possibly more stressful for my teammates as well. I tried hard to mask my tiredness and lack of motivation – but that also becomes stressful for me as I had to act unnaturally – which is going against my emotional state at that point of time.

However, it’s very important to manage your energy and emotions too. This is one of the things I need to learn and improve myself as well.

So, what to do in this situation? Different people may have different ways to overcome the challenges. Sometimes I will take a break or holiday leave, so that I can get a way a bit to re-energize. However, most of the time if I have too much on my plate, I am unable to turn my brain off – so what I do is, I try to find a change of environment by doing my work somewhere else besides my normal workstation.

What would you do in this situation? Please share with us =)

2. Constant Communication

Next, miscommunication or lack of communication will also impact of the team’s energy. This is especially a delicate matter due to the needs of communication may differ from one person to another.

Some may need more communications and some may need less. Some people may treat more communications as something annoying, but some may treat lack of communication as not caring enough towards them.

Especially now that many of us are working from home due to the pandemic, this has become bigger issue across many different teams.

I myself faced this issue as well. This is something I try to constantly learn, but this is also the area I regularly failed. Some people may feel I communicated too much and may be tired of answering my phone calls and emails. But some people may feel I communicated way less, and they felt being left out. It’s a delicate balance which I am still trying to work on.

For you, what are the amount of communications that you think is good?

Hope to hear some sharing from you too so that we can help improve each other and better ourselves in overcoming the challenges.

Count Your Blessings Day #11 (Posted 29 April 2021)

Salam Nuzul Quran everyone! (Sorry for sharing this a tad late on my blog!)

Today, I would like to share about our Mama, Zurhiati Saad.

Mama was a teacher throughout her whole career. For her, studies and academic is everything.

When we were young, Mama would always give us tuitions (along with our friends too). This is one of the ways she made sure we study. We had tuitions almost every night on different subjects. Until now I still don’t know how did Mama get her energy and time to do all of those. I am trying to do it with my kids – but couldn’t 100% emulate Mama. I probably only manage to study with them just 2-3 nights per week.

I still remember, to ensure that we have conducive space to study, one of our bedrooms was converted into study room with tables, chairs and whiteboard. All 4 of us would sleep in 1 bedroom. We had triple decker bed. 2 of us would share a bed, or add another mattress on the floor.

I still remember, she would always ask us about our results. If we didn’t get A, she would ask, why didn’t we get A? If we got 95%, she would ask, why didn’t we get 100%? Haha. I remember that one day, Zul Az brought his books and studied in front of Mama and followed her everywhere – to the kitchen, bedroom, and even in front of the bathroom as evidence that he is studying. That’s how much Mama put importance in our studies. Mama was also very generous in regards of books. If we ask for any books, even comic books, she would 100% buy them for us.

All those time and sacrifices she made when we were small, paid off well. Alhamdulillah all of us achieved good scores in our examinations, and received scholarships to study. And the scholarships came at the best time too – the business weren’t doing so well and the money was drying up fast at that time. It was a very stressful time for my parents. My parents often told us, Allah sent rezeki through us, through the scholarships. Alhamdulillah.

Mama has just retired end of last year and she is now enjoying her retirement – by learning programming!

Thank you, Mama for everything you have done for us. We are so blessed to have a great mother like you.Thank you, Allah for all the blessings you have given us.