Because I have such a strong interpersonal component to my communication style, thinking out loud frequently, I have to remind myself to take time for reflection (intrapersonal). Those of us who are strongly interpersonal often need to seek this kind of balance. Engaging with others to sort out thoughts and feelings and benefiting from the collective feels natural and is easy, yet balance is important and taking time for personal reflection really does pay off.
Working with groups and teaching them how to use the Communication Styles Framework, I also encounter many people with a strong intrapersonal component, many of whom say, “I just don’t have the time I need for reflection, despite knowing that it’s necessary for me to clarify my thoughts and feelings. I’m just too busy.” Often a comment like this comes from women and men in leadership positions, whose days are filled with solving problems and other responses their jobs demands.
When we start looking at core processing strengths and the needs that accompany them, individuals who are strong intrapersonally become determined to find the time they require to adequately reflect (even if it’s five minutes a day!) and process more internally before commenting and making decisions on matters of importance. Leadership requires maintaining awareness and focus on the bigger picture and key goals. Without adequate reflection, it’s difficult to stay connected so that each decision (day to day) is in service of those goals and the bigger picture (vision).
We live in a fast paced world. Some decisions need to be made on the spot, but often we make quick decisions just to get the matter accomplished when we should take time to be more deliberate, where deeper thought and reflection are necessary. Regardless of your strength interpersonally or intrapersonally, it’s important to take time to sort through your thoughts, feelings, motivations, intentions, and goals, whether you are in a leadership position or not.