The soiled thoughts of an aspiring superintendent

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Personality: Behavioral traits versus Behavioral Characteristics March 14, 2011

Filed under: Independent Study: Personalities in the workplace — Graham J. Wieja @ 7:38 pm

People instinctively act for the betterment of themselves. Motivating factors are essential to successful management of people because people are seeking the best reward possible for themselves. The tricky part of all of this is that motivating factors differ from person to person. We as bosses need to discover what motivating factors we can offer and find employees that fit this model.
People have an innate need to feel accepted for who they are and be recognized for the contributions they can make as an employee. It’s like my football coach always told me, you look good you feel good, you feel good you play good, you play good you usually win. Who doesn’t like winning with the exception of maybe Charlie Sheen!
Traits Versus Characteristics
There is a theory that the personality has two aspects:
1. Inherited behavior (traits)
2. Learned behavior (characteristics)
Traits
Traits are responsible for telling our brain how to develop and function through the gathering and processing of information decision making. Traits can’t be changed. Traits are what drive the choices we make and how we decide to put them into action. Our behavior then tells other people how to interact and communicate with us, and defines how we’ll deal with them. Personality traits are important especially in instilling a value system within us and in determining what motivates us.
Characteristics
Characteristics imply how we act, express, and communicate ourselves with each other in a society. I believe they are the driving force to modern social structure. I feel this way because to me characteristics are what deem an individual socially acceptable. In essence, each human being is bound to do what is best for them. Why then do we see so people go out of their way to do something for someone else with absolutely no return on their investment? Why is it that when natural disaster strikes in one part of the world you see the absolute worst of society: looters, theft, civil war and unrest; whereas if you take the recent tsunami in Japan you see several stories of people coming together in massive amounts to try to achieve a goal as fundamental as having available fresh water? It has been instilled in them, through their culture, to do right by others when they are in need. The same cannot be said and is clearly evident in third world countries.
I believe it all comes back to the desire to be accepted. Without the feeling of acceptance comes the feeling of inadequacy. To most, the feeling of inadequacy far outweighs the burden of doing something for someone else. In a sense it is a test of will, trait vs. characteristic within every one of us. On the one hand you have yourself, a human being driven to be free in all respects: from freedom of speech, to the right of lifestyle. On the other hand you subject them to society which by the very nature of it tells us to abandon our innate senses and seek conformity. Suddenly the ideology of blazing your own trail gives way to taking the path of least resistance.

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