Change My Personality?

Dear Jean,

My boss would like me to be more of a people person.  Because I supervise five people, this has come up on every review.  It’s not that I don’t like people, but I find many people extremely annoying.  How can I change my personality?

Reply:

I don’t think it’s a good idea to try to change your personality.  It sounds like all you need to do is add some people skills.  And believe me, they can be acquired.  The best training for this in the nation is the Dale Carnegie course.  I have seen a 10-week course dramatically alter a person’s career opportunities.  These skills are crucial.  You will learn such things as how to be a good listener and how to get others to talk about themselves; how to show genuine interest in other people; how to supervise without criticizing, condemning, or complaining; and how just smiling can make people around you feel differently.  As a bonus, Dale Carnegie training (at www.dalecarnegie.com) will enhance your family relationships as well.

There are also life coaches and business coaches that can help. Be sure to get a referral if you go this route.  It can be a waste of time and money if you get a mediocre coach.

I too had to change the way I dealt with people.  To do this, I first made a solemn vow to myself to change, and then I listened to educational tapes night and day.  I listened to them when I got ready for work; I listened to them as I drove to and from work.  It’s amazing how much motivation and education you can get in your car.

This became a lifelong habit, and even though the subject matter of the tapes I listen to changes, I always take along 6 to 12 hours of listening on any road trip.  Head for the public library; see what it has to offer.  My largest source of business education tapes is Nightingale Conant.  You can find them on the web at www.nightingale.com.

Make it a goal to turn on a tape the minute you get in the car.  Before too long, you will have an education equivalent to a master’s degree just from your commute and your driving around town.

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