We all have several personas, whether we think about it or not. At times we bring different ones to work, and leave others behind.
My theory is that I have at least six different personas which I will explain later. Of these six I believe that there are four of them that I can bring to a work environment with me. When I say I can, I believe we choose which version of us we bring to work, or sometimes we bring the one we think we need to in order to ‘survive’ or ‘get by’.
This theory started with a session I did with my career coach about 18 months ago, and has been floating in my head since. It was the result of an exercise that we did while trying to work out my motivators, and where I would like my career to take me.
So at this point I wish to reiterate that this is my theory based on my thoughts and observations. It is nothing I have read or researched on line or in publications. I didn’t discuss it in depth with my coach, I just touched on it as part of the exercise.
For me personally I believe that I operate mainly in the six personas outlined in the diagram below. Mainly I work in one or two of them, but I have the ability to bring any of them.
Below I have fleshed out a little more what these different types mean to me. Some of them are definitely rooted in the here and now, and some are aspirational. But this doesn’t mean I don’t use these. Sometimes the aspirational ones are the ones that I use often, in meetings for example, or when I am pushing people for innovation and unconstrained thinking.
Who do we bring?
We have the capacity to be any of our personas. For me which one we bring is determined by different things. In my working life they are linked directly to many things, chiefly my motivation, self worth, how bad my Imposter Syndrome is and how valued I am feeling.
Most of the time, when I am working on mundane tasks, the ones that have to be done, but don’t bring a lot of joy or reward, I am somewhere in Do-er or Achiever. During a new project kick off or helping colleagues Go Getter or Superstar.
When I get to do something creative, push for innovation, really get a group of people fired up and raring to deliver then I am in between Superstar and Dreamworld. This is a really good space for me and I can deliver some great results from this space.
The one I rarely bring to work is No Limits Guarantees. I mean there is the obvious reason that I will fail.However it is also the one that is less allowed. Work is a controlled space, we can push our boundaries within limits, but we have responsibilities and outcomes that have to be delivered. This confines our ability to be in the space of just do it and risk taking.
Who would we be with no external factors?
This is an interesting question, and one I have been asking myself. A lot.
I guess, as with most interesting questions, it is hard to answer.
This has been playing on my mind for weeks now, and I think I will come back to it in a wider context in a future post.
How do we use this to our advantage?
Knowing and understanding our personas and which ones we get the best results from in certain circumstances, also knowing which ones help maintain control in trying and stressful situations, can be hugely beneficial.
Choosing which state to maintain, what our colleagues and managers see and remember in our behaviour and how we help in situations raise our profile. When we are assigned to projects with our peers, or applying for different roles people will remember.
The 80:20 rule is a good one here. Aim to spend 80% of your time in good personas and the other 20% either in the higher performing or disruptive states.
A note of caution, too much time in a bad or disruptive persona will also be remembered.
Now over to you
As a take away why not try and define your personas?
You don’t have to do 6 aim for 2 or 3 to start then build on them.
Once you have done this then monitor how much time you spend in each, try and maintain the ones that you want to be, manage the time you spend in the other.
See if it has an effect on how you behave and which version of you it is that you take to work?